I am surprised how often I get a question about accountability. The feeling that you are “babysitting” and not wanting to ‘micro-manage’ your salespeople is bogus!
Holding your people accountable for results creates urgency, focus, and positive pressure to perform. Human nature shows us that having a clear picture or vision gives us a more positive result with something to shoot for. When everyone knows your expectations, it gives a direction to follow and makes measuring progress easier.
The ability to achieve is a direct result of knowing what achievement is. Typically, we are hesitant to hold others accountable when we know deep down that we really never laid out what success is and the steps to get there. The result? Keeping an employee too long because there is no real clear-cut reason to let them go. It’s hard to tell them they aren’t “cutting it” if you never defined what “cutting it” is.
Football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “It’s hard to be aggressive when you’re confused.”
When you create a vague performance standard like, “we expect to you to work your hardest,” you guarantee cloudy and convenient interpretations. With clear expectations should come clear consequences. Some feel that by having such stringent standards for accountability, you are actually declaring a benchmark for performance under which you are unwilling to compromise. However, that’s not the case.
In business, we need to deal with what is controllable. We take the necessary steps we need to take to be successful, etc. In sales, it’s the same. Because some people believe that sales is “a personality business,” they don’t look at what is controllable.
It is imperative that management understands what each salesperson is doing every day, every week, every month. This is something that needs to be set early on to create accountability and have a means of tracking success and failures. Success can be tracked by understanding what is working and what isn’t. This is the basic and most important reason for accountability.
There are three key components to holding others accountable you must
put in place to keep your people focused on results.
- Provide the Tools. It’s important to provide the necessary tools to allow your salespeople to reach their goals. These tools include one-on-one coaching, training, and constructive
- Analyze their Performance. Give your salespeople clear expectations with standards that have obvious Make sure to apply penalties when your sales team doesn’t hit the mark. If you have good people, they will work hard to make the mark, as long as they know what it is.
- Let them work! After you make it clear to your salespeople the goals that they should reach for, don’t sit there and look over their shoulder while they’re working. Let them set their own goals, then meet with them regularly to review.
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