All of us as sales managers expect our team members to receive feedback and act on it. We’re giving feedback every time we coach a rep, an essential practice if we want our salespeople to continue developing.

What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, right? Meaning every once in a while, it’s good for sales managers to get feedback, not just give it, so we too can continue learning and improving.

Make it simple and easy

The more elaborate and formal the approach to getting feedback, the less likely it is to get used. Keep it easy and simple.

I adapted my own approach to sales management feedback from Samuel Culbert’s book Get Rid of the Performance Review. I want managers to ask three questions of each sales rep, perhaps at the end of each quarterly or semi-annual review:

1) What am I offering you that is helpful?

2) What am I doing to hinder your effectiveness?

3) What am I not offering that would help increase your productivity (and why would that help you)?

Benefits to you and your team

By asking these three questions of your reps, you are, most importantly, going to gain insights on how to get better as a sales manager. You are also:

1) Serving as a role model, showing that receiving feedback is a normal part of professional development

2) Demonstrating that as a manager you accept responsibility for your own contributions to team performance, good and bad

What better lessons to send to your team?

Hearing the truth of how your team feels might not be easy, but it will always be beneficial. You can work to become a more effective sales manager. Plus, your team will be more motivated to apply your feedback if you are open to theirs.


Kevin F. Davis shares practical solutions to the most challenging issues that frontline sales managers struggle with every day. Kevin blogs on methods for everything from leading, coaching, and managing priorities, to hiring, forecasting, and driving rep accountability. Kevin is the president of TopLine Leadership, Inc., and the author of the new book, “The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness.”Find his blogs and articles at TopLineLeadership.com/blog and kevinfdavis.com/blog