Accountability - 2nd of the Sales Management Functions

Posted by Dave Kurlan 

This is the 2nd in the series of the Top Sales Management Functions.

#2 - ACCOUNTABILITY

In its simplest form, sales accountability consists of the following:

  • Holding salespeople accountable to something measurable - metrics - on a daily basis
  • Being more demanding - being firmer and tougher
  • Eliminating Excuse Making - people take responsibility for their results
  • No more under achieving - everyone achieves and over achieves or else...

Here's a video of me discussing Excuse Making...

Accountability is an ongoing function and takes place on the following time line:

 

  • in a daily huddle
  • no more than 5-10 minutes
  • with your entire team (in person or by teleconference)
  • using the power of peer pressure
  • everyone reports on the metrics on which they are being held accountable (it isn't necessary for everyone to be reporting on the same metrics)

One of my clients took a position as Worldwide VP of Sales at a very large, well known company.  He quickly learned that there hadn't been any accountability there for years.  Taking a page out of my accountability book, he quickly set clear expectations and communicated them daily.  He let everyone know what would be required in the way of performance, activity and reporting.  Then he gave everyone a deadline to comply.  The company's top salesperson, the one who had the biggest year over year sales, did not comply.  He was given several extensions and each time he failed to comply.  He was given a final warning with termination as the consequence.  Again he did not comply.  He was promptly terminated.

News of the unexpected action made its way around the sales force in record time.  The following weak, those who were already in compliance provided even more data in their reports.  Those who were complying but only minimally, were early and detailed, and the data indicated that everyone had performed more effectively than ever before.

For those of you who are afraid to hold their salespeople accountable, let this lesson prove that the worst that can happen is already happening.  In response to the likely, "What if it backfires?" question, how can it backfire any worse than most of your sales force making excuses and underperforming.  

"What if those underachievers leave?"  Lucky for you.  You won't have to terminate them.  That's the wrong question to ask, anyhow.  

You should be asking, "What if it works?  What if I can really do this?  How much better will things get and how quickly will we get there?"

Sales Force Accountability.  If you can do it in a huge company, think how much more effectively you can do it in a small or medium size company.

 If you are going to focus on just one of the 10 Sales Management Functions and hope to realize an improvement in sales, Accountability is the single function that will help you accomplish it. Learn more here.