Creating a Sales Culture of Accountability
When your sales team is accountable, they work harder for themselves and your organization.
Sales team members are more motivated and productive if they're accountable for their actions. Effective salespeople need to be accountable to themselves, your organization, and the rest of the sales team. To build accountability in sales, you don't have to micromanage. In fact, that can actually hurt your efforts to build accountability.
But where do you start? First, you need to display accountability in your own actions. Remember, organizational culture starts at the top. Then, you need to build your sales team around the principle of accountability. Use these tips to shift your focus toward accountability.
1. Start from the beginning.
You don't have to train salespeople to be accountable if you prioritize this trait during the recruitment process. Highlight accountability in your job descriptions. Look for candidates with a demonstrated history of reliance.
During the sales interview, ask questions to help you learn about prospects' attitudes toward accountability. For example, ask them to describe a time they made a work commitment and followed it through to completion.
Or, have them tell you about their preferred management styles. Listen to their answers and pick the people who seem the most self-motivated. That can be a key component of accountability.
If you're interviewing someone with limited sales experience, ask for personal stories that highlight accountability. For example, you can ask them how they maintain personal accountability with their budget, personal goals for growth, or relationships.
2. Set clear goals.
To ensure everyone is on the same page, set clear goals for your sales team. When employees know what you expect, they can work hard to hit those targets. Otherwise, they may end up just being accountable to their own goals or expectations, which could differ drastically from yours.
3. Challenge, but be realistic.
When setting goals, make them challenging, but still be realistic. If your goals are too easy, salespeople may lose interest. High-quality salespeople are often competitive by nature; they rise to a challenge.
However, you need to ensure that your goals aren't overwhelming. If they are unattainable, your sales team won't become accountable. If they know they can't hit a target, they’re unlikely to try. Overly aggressive goals can hurt your sales team's efforts.
4. Don't micromanage.
Accountability in sales has to come from within. You want a sales team that works hard to meet goals, but also has an intrinsic desire to succeed. Micromanagement does not facilitate this process. When people are subject to micromanagement, they look over their shoulders. They act to avoid punishment. They focus on what the manager wants, and they often lose themselves in the process.
Accountability isn't about what management wants; it's about the employee's behavior. Accountable employees work hard because it makes them feel accomplished. At the same time, they know they're contributing to the company. They don't work hard just to please management.
5. Reward high achievers.
Salespeople want (and deserve) to be rewarded for hard work. Rewards will make your team feel appreciated, but they can also play a crucial role in building motivation and accountability. If someone knows they can earn a reward for hitting a goal, they become more accountable in working toward it.
6. Address flaws and failures.
Everyone, even top salespeople, makes mistakes and has room for improvement. To help your team grow, address their flaws and failures.
They need to be just as accountable for their failures as they are for their successes. They need to be vulnerable enough to admit when they made mistakes, and then, they need to use their mistakes to improve their processes moving forward.
7. Create a team culture.
Accountability in sales means team accountability. If you're accountable, you work hard for team success. Salespeople often work against each other to be the top seller with the highest commission.
This is okay. In fact, competitiveness can encourage salespeople to work harder. But you can’t pit salespeople against each other. To make this possible, set team or company-wide objectives that complement individual goals.
Allow your sales team to compete with each other on some level, but find other ways for them to collaborate with each other. Create mentorships between strong performers and laggards. Encourage team members to work together and complement each other's strengths and weaknesses.
The success of your business hinges on the performance of your sales team. If they don't feel accountable, they will lack self-motivation and won't work as hard for your company. To be successful, encourage and cultivate accountability in sales.
Build accountability with MetaGrowth
We can help you optimize the potential of your salespeople and turn them into an industrious, self-directed accountable team. At MetaGrowth, we bring years of sales and coaching experience to the table, and we leverage our experience to create winning sales teams for our clients.
Evolve beyond having your founder handling sales, and don't short-change your company's potential by not investing in your sales team. Instead, if you're ready to flourish, MetaGrowth can help. To learn more, contact us today to discuss how our services can improve your sales team.