Drive Increased Sales Accountability with These 5 Proven Strategies
Sales accountability is defined as:
"the obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.” (businessdictionary.com)
Your success as a manager depends largely on your ability to hold your salespeople accountable. Let’s start by dissecting sales realities by reviewing each salesperson’s focus, activity, pipeline, and results.
As managers, our natural tendency is to focus on results, and if the results aren’t there, we look at activity levels to uncover the issue or gap.
There is so much information we need to look at to see the whole performance picture. Often, we are not looking at what’s going on behind the numbers.
Here we look at some key strategies that will help you increase your team's accountability.
01. Monitor Activity Quantity
Activity quality and quantity are both critically important. Hold your salespeople accountable to their goals by having them report on how many calls are made that day, that week, and the following week to keep this top of mind.
02. Improve Activity Quality
Sales professionals who are performing a large quantity of activities may not have the skills to make their time spent completing activities worthwhile. To combat this challenge, sales managers can focus on engaging in observational coaching.
Make time for coaching in the field to observe, model, and assess your seller's performance. If salespeople aren’t being coached and developed to do their best, the quality won’t be there.
It’s important to establish what quality looks like for your organization. Instilling quality and consistency is possible through ride-along and joining in on client meetings/phone calls.
Since we can’t be everywhere every time, why not record sales meetings with the client’s permission? Or, Skype in when they make calls, and when they hang up, lead a coaching conversation. You’ll be able to provide balanced feedback after the interaction and move the needle on quality. The only way to coach to quality is by seeing or hearing them in action.
03. Review and Manage Pipelines
Pipeline management is another critical component of driving accountability.
Managing to pipeline becomes easy if you have a good CRM system or specialized CRM tools, keep your data updated, and make the data easy to access and analyze. This way sales leaders can view recently added, largest deals, dated entries, and the deals that will close soon.
You can also do this outside of the CRM. One of our retail bank clients holds their sales team accountable to comment on their pipeline daily. Every morning meeting, their salespeople share the delta of the increase or decrease in their pipeline from the previous day. The sales leader knows exactly what is happening, and the pipeline report, which only comes out a week later, confirms the daily results. They are now seeing a significant increase in results because the sales team is thinking about their pipeline every day.
04. Have a Clear Focus
Ensure your salespeople strategically focus on the right accounts to help them avoid investing in quantity and quality of activity with the wrong prospects.
To illustrate, your salesperson can have a high volume of reach-outs, meetings, and proposals. They can also be of high quality, but if the opportunities are $5,000 on average and you need them to be $500,000, your salesperson has the wrong focus. It’s important to know who your target is – who should your salespeople be talking to?
Managing only against results is the same as driving a car by only looking through the rear-view mirror. This is why focus, activity, and pipeline are critical to driving increased sales accountability.
05. Broaden Your Thinking
What factors do you take into account when thinking about individuals on your team and mapping out your sales accountability approach?
We are often asked about managing millennials. We believe it is the wrong question. We should be asking ourselves how to manage different people differently.
We often get too hung up on generations and forget to pay attention to all the other factors such as their culture, age, personality, IQ, gender, experience, and motivation.
Deepen your understanding by looking at their head, heart, hands, and feet. How can you adapt your management approach to the individuals on your team?
Some people crave feedback, others don’t like it at all. What is the optimal frequency in providing them with feedback? What format is best for them: email, phone, or in-person?
The key to increasing sales accountability is to be clear on your sales realities and uncover where you should start. It doesn’t always have to be focused, it could be a pipeline. Try to figure out where you have the most leverage – is it observational coaching, is it consistent use of CRM? Tackling one piece at a time will allow you to make meaningful improvements in driving sales accountability in your organization.
At Richardson, we offer a number of sales manager training modules that can help you improve your management skills in specific areas like increasing salesperson accountability or reviewing pipelines. Click here to download a complimentary brochure that describes each of these modules in greater detail.
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