Every salesperson tends to lack one skill or the other. One may be great at negotiating, while the other is great at upselling. 

In simple terms, no two sales reps are the same. Skill gaps are inevitable but not impossible to close.  

As key decision-makers, you must ensure your average or below-average sales reps are encouraged and offered the right tools to improve their performance.

In this blog, you’ll learn how to bridge the sales performance gap and how to assess sales skills through various methods. 

What does a sales performance gap mean, and why should you fix it?

A sales performance gap is a noticeable gap between high-performing sales reps and low-performing ones and is not exclusive to any business industry or size. 

Here are some reasons why the sooner you discover and start measuring the potential gap, the better it is going to be from a performance perspective:

  • Turning objections into opportunities: Fixing skill and performance gaps can be reflected in their objection handling ways. For example, getting low-performing sales reps up to speed in dealing with price or value objections can affect sales pipeline movements. 

  • Streamlined sales processes: The sooner you identify knowledge or performance inefficiencies, the less effort and resources you will waste.  

  • Prevention of revenue leakage: Discovering performance gaps early on exposes any shortcomings of your current sales strategies. This way, you can ensure you don’t lose any more revenue to under-performing strategies. 


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  • Better customer relations and insights: Mending skill gaps helps your team improve and manage customer relationships as they become more aware of customer insights and behaviors. 

How to effectively assess sales skill gaps within a team?

Since there’s no one way to pinpoint skill gaps, here are 12 best methods to assess potential sales skill gaps within your team:

1. Performance metric analysis 

You may have heard of the statistic that says 20% of your team brings in 80% of sales. Undoubtedly, these are your top-performing, skilled sales reps.

But what’s a better way to differentiate sales rep’s capabilities?

The best and most ideal way to compare performance is by measuring key metrics like conversion rates achieved, average deal size closed, and the sales length cycle


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Next, find your team’s average numbers and compare them against individual performance metrics to see where each sales rep stands. Use this data to set benchmarks for improvement and growth

Optional read: 11 Best Strategies to Improve B2B Sales Performance

2. Sales activity tracking

Are your sales reps spending more time on non-selling activities? Are they unaware of possible technical help to handle these activities? There’s only one way to know: activity tracking

Start monitoring each activity, such as the calls made, emails sent, follow-ups done, meeting schedules, and presentations given. Doing so will give you a better understanding of what each sales rep does with their limited time

Use activity tracking sales software or CRMs to monitor sales activities without actually micromanaging your sales reps. Further, use the software’s insights to coach low-performing reps.

3. Pipeline review meetings 

Conduct weekly or bi-monthly pipeline review meetings with your sales reps to discuss their pending deals and task progress. Regular meetings also give sales reps opportunities to openly discuss their obstacles and get help tackling them. 

Salesforce suggests running individual pipeline review meetings over team-wise meetings to better understand each rep’s strengths and weaknesses, and strategizing and problem-solving skills.

4. Observation and shadowing 

Let your sales rep know you plan to shadow them and why it’s important for their development. Shadow them by listening in on their sales calls, meetings, and presentations. 

Observe their techniques and skills, such as objection handling, product knowledge, closing deals, active listening, and overall communication. Take notes during the call to pinpoint coaching opportunities and provide on-the-spot feedback. 

5. Role-playing exercise

Organize role-playing exercises where sales reps and managers simulate sales scenarios and interactions

Some example exercises are:

  • Role reversal: The sales rep assumes the role of a prospect, and the sales manager displays their closing skills and conversation tricks

  • Objection island: This exercise involves calling out a rep and asking them to handle an objection within a few seconds

  • Elevator pitch: Sales reps are asked to practice their elevator pitches, which can then be delivered on call and evaluated by their leaders


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These exercises help assess sales reps’ abilities to engage prospects, uncover needs, overcome objections, and negotiate effectively.

6. Customer feedback

After every deal closure or touchpoint, ask customers to provide quick feedback on how their interaction with the salesperson went and if they were satisfied with the service via surveys, emails, testimonials, or one-on-one interviews. 

Their responses can be used as constructive feedback to assess your reps’ performance and uncover training opportunities.

7. Skills assessments and tests

Skill and talent assessments provide bias-free, accurate data on sales reps’ current skill levels and guide skill development. Some example tests include product expertise, sales process understanding, and sales techniques. 

Assessment and tests are also perfect for HR managers looking to onboard quality hires and widen their talent pool. 

8. Peer evaluations 

A sales rep’s potential skill gaps may only be evident to their peers. So, it’s best to encourage internal peer evaluations where team members provide feedback on each other’s skills and sales performance.

For example, they can shadow sales calls and review their counterparts’ sales scripts and outreach strategies. 

9. Managerial feedback and coaching 

Feedback and mentorship from crucial decision-makers like sales managers and leaders can motivate the sales team to sharpen their skills. Mentors can also help curate personalized development plans for each sales rep and set realistic goals. 

10. Training and development programs 

Encourage the use of eLearning platforms to support continuous learning. Conduct sales training workshops, seminars, and webinars to improve your team’s sales skills and maintain competency. 

Group your sales reps based on their noticeable gaps and tailor personalized training programs accordingly.

11. Sales contests and incentives 

Engaging in sales contests can combat burnout. And providing incentives keeps your teams motivated and encourages healthy competition.  

For example, you could run simple contests like the “salesperson of the month” and reward the top performers each month by monitoring results and gauging individual performances.

12. Performance reviews and goal setting 

Regular performance reviews let you set the right expectations for each sales rep. Be crystal clear about what you expect them to achieve. 

Use the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goal-setting approach for better clarity. 


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Common sales performance gaps 

Some standard sales performance gaps you must be aware of are:

Pricing discussions during a sales call

Top-performing salespeople typically discuss pricing during the latter part of the call, especially in the initial stages, when they assess prospects’ intentions and learn about their requirements. 

So, your average and below-average-performing salespeople may have a noticeable gap in understanding when to pitch in pricing discussions.

Product knowledge 

Say your company released a new version of the product or service. The sales reps who understood the product/service earlier now find it challenging to learn the new technicalities of the offering. This is a clear performance gap that sales leaders must recognize and close through coaching and training. 

Call preparation 

Most sales reps are known to jump between discovery calls unprepared. Since no two customers or prospects are alike, a lack of preparation can impact communication and trust —indicating an evident customer knowledge gap and slower pipeline movements. 

How do we close the sales performance gap?

Here are 4 sure-shot methods to close most sales performance gaps:

1. Implement a high-performing sales strategy 

Sales performance management via a high-performing sales strategy is quintessential to closing persistent gaps in your sales team. 

To implement and commit to a high-performing sales strategy, you must:

  • Identify performance gaps and their causes, such as lack of business knowledge, lack of coaching, or not understanding the processes

  • Create new business goals for reps with reasonable quotas

  • A/B test strategies before committing to them

  • Use CRMs to connect disparate data and use their insights for better decision-making

  • Support efficient planning and analytics  

Committing and activating high-performing sales strategies requires thoughtful research, planning, and execution. So, ensure you add the best tools and technologies to your workflows. For example, AI tools like Docket for data-driven insights to curate tailored coaching plans. 

2. Deepen product knowledge 

Understanding the product inside and out gives your sales teams the much-needed confidence to tackle customer concerns, objections, or product-related queries that come their way.

Apart from noticing the sales rep’s confidence in selling, the prospects or customers will also love speaking directly to a product expert.

The best ways to improve the product knowledge gap and shrink the gap are:

  • Getting your sales reps and customer-facing teams hands-on with the product

  • Running training and knowledge transfer sessions as and when you release new product upgrades

  • Use sales enablement and sales assistant tools like Docket to help your sales reps get instant responses to product-related queries


Docket integrates with collaboration tools like Slack to answer complex questions in under 10 seconds, so your salespeople don’t have to keep prospects waiting.

And the best part? Docket’s solutions shrink eminent knowledge and performance gaps by integrating them into sales training to provide data-driven insights and continuous on-the-go knowledge to salespeople.

3. Identify the root cause of performance gaps

Every sales performance gap must be identified differently. The best way to do this is by recording sales activities. 

If you’re already using a conversation intelligence platform or recorded sales calls, allot some time to listen in on them to identify gaps.

For example, you may notice a sales rep who struggles to explain product features confidently or someone who struggles with closing deals. Once you identify the common gaps, the best action you can take is to coach or retrain your reps. 

4. Focus on proper coaching and training 

Sales leaders and managers must spend enough time educating sales reps on sales processes and technologies, and there are no two ways about it. A lack of foresight in training and coaching fails to provide sales reps with a proper roadmap, leading to a loss of direction. 

So, ensure you never ignore sales training and coaching, as they are the ultimate key to enhancing sales performance. 

Wrapping up

Sales performance gaps are inevitable for every sales team. However, proactively identifying them and working towards closure can give your sales reps an unfair advantage over others. 

Don’t view it as a one-time effort but a continuous development process that strengthens your team’s skills and morale. 

Support your sales and GTM teams with the right tools like Docket for ultimate Q&A assistance while they work at improving their performance. 

Book a demo today!