How to create accountability with sales-based employees?

It’s not enough to have a sales team full of great salespeople. You also need sales accountability. This is a huge part of an effective sales team, but it’s often overlooked. So what exactly is sales accountability and how can you implement it in your team? 

What Exactly is Sales Accountability?

Sales accountability is both a “how” and “what”. It is how you managers work with sales teams to stay on the same page and align goals and expectations. It is also the sense of ownership that the sales reps carry that allows them to solve problems and take initiative.  

8 Steps to Creating Sales Accountability

1. Define Accountability

Accountability in this sense is not about holding people responsible when something goes wrong. It’s also about being recognized for success. In some organizations, this can also be known as “sales ownership”. Either way, creating, teaching, and encouraging a new level of accountability amongst your sales team can encourage your team to perform at a high level with integrity and focus. 

Whether you use the word “accountability” or “ownership” you need to clearly define what that means. Does that mean sales reps are responsible for reaching certain sales numbers, or that they’re responsible for problem-solving independently? Defining these areas will help your sales team understand their expectations for them. 

2. Set Clear and Transparent Goals

Transparency drives accountability. Making sales goals that are clear and transparent allows new reps to understand exactly what they are being measured against. With clear goals, everyone should be aware of the role they have and the work they are expected to complete. Make sure your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based) and shared with everyone. 

For new reps, perhaps their goals may be specific training certifications or skills they need to master. Every person should know what their goal is and how it contributes to the bigger picture. 

3. Try different motivational tactics

Motivating your team helps them feel connected, boosts morale, and plays an important role in accountability. Some sales reps crave guidance and fear independence. There are nearly limitless motivational tactics, the trick is to find what works well for your team. Consider creating a team member of the month tradition, awards for achieving goals, hosting social events, celebrating wins, or using a tool like Gamifier to make achieving goals feel like winning the whole game. 

4. Monitor Progress

Another part of maintaining accountability is monitoring progress, as this encourages sales reps to reflect on their performance and outcomes. You can monitor progress by identifying sales success metrics, such as website conversion rate or new leads generated. Compare your sales team’s outcomes to the performance metrics to gauge their performance and determine areas of improvement.

5. Promote Autonomy

Enable your people to take ownership and promote problem-solving rather than undercutting their abilities. This means offering them freedom and control over how they work. Don’t hover over them daily. Allow them to develop their own processes, and work style and take ownership of their work and their outcomes. Instead of feeding them a script or set of instructions, have discussions about difficult calls and help your sales reps to come to the answers themselves and internalize the lessons they need to learn. 

6. Give regular feedback

Feedback is essential to helping your team to stay focused and maintain a high performance. This doesn’t have to be a formal process, casual conversations with kind and constructive feedback can be just as effective as complete periodic performance reviews. 

7. Provide data

Providing your team members with relevant data they can use to establish baseline performance and support their progress. This may include demo-to-customer conversion rates, how many sales they’ve made over time, or other metrics that indicate their performance. This shows them where they can improve, and also shows that you are keeping track of this data as well. 

8. Lead by Example

It’s also important for leaders to hold themselves accountable. Be upfront about your expectations for yourself, and give your team the ability to hold yourself accountable. This means taking responsibility for mistakes and learning lessons from them. It also means meeting the same standards that you set for your team members.

Tips for Remote Working Teams

While many of these tactics can be used for remote teams, this presents an additional challenge. Keeping tabs on teams from afar can feel like you’re wearing blinders. When you’re not sharing a sales floor, here are a few tips to stay connected and accountable: 

  • Shorten your lens. If you had daily goals before, check in at 8 am and 5 pm to see what got done. If you had weekly goals, check in two or three times throughout the week. Shortening your lens allows you to stay on track. 
  • Set up more structure. Working independently and remotely can be a great tool, but sometimes this also means a lack of connection and alignment. Set up lunch meetings, peer coaching, or re-structure the traditional 1:1s to make sure you’re staying connected to your team. 
  • Use the Best Tech. Zoom and Slack are old news. Sale coaching software can help you automate certain processes, stay accountable, create measurable data, and create more visibility.