Sales accountability is considered more as a concept rather than seen as a real determinant of the team performance. Holding sales reps accountable for their unachieved targets is one of the most difficult tasks for sales organizations. Managers in a rush to achieve success, tend to focus more on ‘results’ without communicating reps about their set expectations, leading to poor monitoring and performance management practices.
Sales accountability is the responsibility of the top line management as well as those on the bottom level. It is very much annoying for a manager to take updates on a daily basis, especially when there is a huge communication gap within the organization. As as sales manager you need to see whether your team really understands what you need out of them and how effectively can you achieve it.
To start with sales organizations need to define the roles and responsibilities of each person as per to the hierarchy level and then accordingly align the team goals with the organizational goals.
Let us break through the silos with these 4 strategical steps to devise a sound plan that will not only help you to build an efficient and accountable team but will also allow you to boost the morale of your workforce:
1. Track the behaviour of your Sales rep on a regular basis
Sales managers should understand the real meaning of behaviour here. Rather than focussing on their habits and routines, reps should be tracked on their closure status, meetings scheduled or may be opportunities created. Believe me, this will help you record great results as the sales rep will be on their toes when they will be judged on such parameters. Tracking the closure status will help you understand which rep is leading the race and which rep needs an immediate attention to barrel out his/her obstacles. Check the number of demos/meetings/calls a rep is scheduling in order to scrutinize their ability to connect with prospects or customers. If everything goes as per the steps above, you will be able to see good number of opportunities created by your reps. Thus, managers should demonstrate characteristics of a true coach and monitor their troops at their good as well as bad times.
2. Transparency is the key to achieve Success
If you are a sales manager, then make sure you make a note of this point on every possible sales notebook that speaks about sales accountability.
Here I want to stress on the essence of introducing transparency in your team. The best way is to hold weekly team meetings or calls in case of distant places, where you can reward your team for their amazing work. Do understand the importance of rewarding everyone in your team as it helps your reps to gain motivation when you are showcasing the results in an open environment. Try to maintain live leader boards where your team can sense an urge of competition flowing in the team thus boosting their productivity. The other possible way is to organize standups on a consistent basis where the sales rep discloses their numbers, experiences and challenges that they have encountered while achieving closures. If your team is distributed to various geographies, then certainly you should make a habit of dropping a regular and timely email to all so that the reps understands that their work is being tracked.
3. Maintain the Pipeline accuracy
Sales pipeline is considered as reliable when all the stages of prospects journey are well defined. Managers need to provide effective coaching and training to reps for better forecasts and projections. A pipeline without the right customer information is worthless. All the leads in the pipeline may not convert immediately but with a proper strategy in place, these leads can turn out to be fruitful in the future. Thus, it becomes the responsibility of the sales reps to connect all the missing dots and to create milestones in each stage.
4. Hold On! It’s Feedback Time
Till now, we were just talking with the vision of how sales manager sees his/her troops. But in this point we will discuss more about the perception of sales reps – what they do, how they achieve, why they do certain things in a particular manner etc. Questioning your sales rep is easy but a sales manager should be able to empathize and understand what his/her sales troop feel about a particular situation they face will improve your sales accountability tactics. Sales reps should be given full authority to explain why they are prioritizing certain leads, why are they struggling, how can they overcome their challenges, how can they achieve better conversion rates and many such situations where their feedback is of utmost importance in order to achieve their goals. The feedbacks can be recorded in a one to one meeting or also in a feedback sheet, a team can parallelly update their feedbacks on a software where under a single dashboard sales manager can see the responses.
5. Summarize and Follow up
No matter how many meetings, reviews, feedbacks or calls you must have had with your sales team but it might be worthless if you are not capturing the takeaways from these conversations. When talking about sales accountability, sales manager as well as the sales reps should keep a note of every deliverable discussed during the previous interaction. This will help them to track their progress and also able to judge how far they are from their goals. Sales manager can either automate the process by using a software where an automated email will be sent to the sales rep as per date decided or the same can be scheduled with the help of google calendars where a sales manager can note which rep should deliver what and by when.