I’ve known a lot of sales managers who frown upon “meets expectations” performers. What do you think? Is “meets expectations” good enough?

Doyle Slayton

Sales & Leadership Strategist – SalesBlogcast.com Professional Speaker | Author | Social Media | Web 2.0 | TopLinked.com

It depends on whether or not it’s truly “meets expectations” or if it’s really a point on a curve. A good manager should have set the stretch goals up front and the expectations would be based on that. Therefore, “meets expectations” would be exactly that. You’re a model employee that fully earned your salary and your manager had a good idea of what you were capable of when setting your targets.

However, a lot of organizations use the Jack Welch “forced ranking” mechanisms and label the mid-point of the curve as “Meets expectations”. They also apply it to a microcosm rather than using it to prune the dead limbs out of the company as a whole. It confuses the “rankings relative to peers” with the “ability to meet goals and expectations”. If a sales organization has an exceptional team and the curve is applied to the team, you can have 120% performers suddenly showing up as “did not meet expectations” or just “meets expectations” (the bottom and middle of the curve). Similarily, if everyone was incompetent, you could have people with 50% of target showing up as “far exceeds”.

Along a similar vein, can a sales manager “meet expectations” if they have staff that doesn’t? Isn’t it the expectation that the sales manager corrects performance issues or gets rid of the associate?

It’s important to understand where the “meets expectations” is coming from. Is it “making your numbers” or is it “hitting the median” compared to your peers. Whenever I see these terms, I generally assume them to be BS and dig deeper to find out what the person truly accomplished or failed to accomplish.