No matter the size of the media company, one universal truth of sales failure is lack of formal accountability within the sales team.
When I mention the word you can see managers get red and salespeople get fire in their eyes. But why? When did accountability become such a bad word? I believe it is because we wait until there is a problem to put accountability metrics in place.
As a part of my ad sales training process I teach that accountability can be very comforting to salespeople if it is put in place from day one. Knowing what someone expects of you is a critical part of your ability to exceed their desires.
Instead, most managers give salespeople the benefit of the doubt or they give a sales person “enough rope to hang themselves”. This is very common. It is much easier upfront to be someone’s pal than their boss, so from day one accountability is out the window. Or, the only accountability metric is a number-based sales goal.
The long-term success of a sales team lies in their execution of a finely tuned sales process where accountability is a part of the total sales system.
Here are 10 fundamental accountability essentials to put into place in your sales process and organisation.
- Identify and preach the three parts of the sales process; prospecting, in-progress selling and retention. Each part is unique and has unique accountability metrics within.
- Create a process for each part of the sales process. Explain to the team that adherence is not optional. You are putting these systems in place to identify repeatable patterns of success to help all on the team. Perhaps you have no idea what needs to be in your ad sales process?
- Create a time in each sales meeting for sharing success stories. Use these success stories to create a winning process. Tune, refine and get it perfect.
- Create a consistent training program to foster understanding and growth within your process. You may even consider a small bit of training during each sales meeting.
- Look at each number-based sales goal in detail and identify if the salesperson has the skill to reach that goal. If not, look at your process and see where the rep is off and create an action plan for success.
- Use your CRM tool to track success and failure. Using s CRM is not an option. Not happy with your CRM? Every CRM has issues. So, switch or fall in love with the CRM you have. What if your reps refuse to use the CRM? Create an incentive for the rep with the best notes. Or, if needed, dock their commission for lack of adherence to the process. Not using the CRM is unacceptable. Period. If you can not track activity, you can not manage activity.
- Set expectations for performance and base them on your sales process. Revisit these expectations on a weekly basis with team huddles and individual coaching sessions.
- Don’t lurk or stalk your sales team. Instead, create a pattern of positive engagement. Let them know you will be monitoring their success and failures. Salespeople always perform better when structure is present. You must be consistent to make accountability work in your process.
- Start right away. If your team is struggling, get busy. Preach adherence to the process from the first day a salesperson is hired. What about your other reps? What if they are resistant? Remember, making a sales number goal is just one factor of success. Your team can make a financial goal and still be miserable. Or, those around the office, beyond the sales team can be miserable. Do not allow someone to say, “I’m making goal, why do I need to participate in a new process?”. The answer is simple, process drives success at all levels. An improved process reduces stress and improves the work environment for all involved. Also, one single salesperson does not make a team.
- Salespeople will always be more passionate about this idea if they are involved in the project from day one. In other words, don’t surprise them with this new system toward success.
Accountability is key to the sales process. Without a process you have very little to hold someone accountable for.