For any growing company, the speed at which you hire new sales team members means continuously adjusting your sales training approach to find a balance between group sessions and one-on-one coaching.
You need a sales training process that will equip each salesperson with a certain basic knowledge, and empower them to implement what they’ve learned. One of the ways to ensure that salespeople can retain their knowledge and successfully move on from the training period is by teaching them to take ownership of their processes. This ownership, or sales accountability, is how we can prepare our teams for success by giving them all the information, tools, and training they need to succeed and meet their targets.
This helps individuals take ownership of their job responsibilities and be upfront and forthcoming about their sales performance and any possible shortcomings. Accountability drives success because it ensures that salespeople stay on track, own their progress, and develop their skills. Accountability is designed to produce positive results that inspire and motivate employees to become independent and take control of their sales process.
How to Create and Encourage Sales Accountability.
- Make goals transparent.
Transparency drives accountability. From their first day on the job, sales people need to be informed of exactly what they’ll be responsible for learning during the next few months. We can design training programmes to help new members master your sales process, and giving them a timeline to complete it. By the time they complete the progamme , they should be able to independently execute the sales process from start to finish.
Because new starters understand exactly what they’re being measured against, the responsibility to follow through on training criteria comes naturally. In short, transparency is a key element of sales accountability because if your team don’t know what is expected of them, it can be difficult for them to perform to your expectations.
- Enable salespeople to take ownership.
When managers and leaders simply tell their direct reports what to do instead of enabling them to solve problems, they’re undermining their team’s ability to take ownership of their processes. To encourage you team to take ownership and accountability for their tasks, consider doing role plays or having discussions about difficult sales calls instead of feeding them a script or set of instructions.
Ask them questions and have them ask questions like “What went well?”, “What could have gone better?” or “How do you think you can improve in future conversations?”
- Give your salespeople relevant data.
If you’re coaching a team member on how to convert prospects through product demonstrations, show them how their demo-to-customer conversion rates have changed over time. This helps establish a baseline performance and gives them visibility of how they’re improving over time.
They know what their performance looks like, and they know that future performance should be better or consistently at the same level that it is now.
- Define measures of accountability.
Maybe accountability means you want your team to approach you when they’ve fallen short on a task rather than you coming to them. Or, maybe it means that you want salespeople to develop their own plans for how they’ll approach tasks and troubleshoot on their own before approaching you for assistance. Defining measures of accountability ahead of time can also help address the fears that your team may have of being placed on probation if they aren’t performing as expected.
- Hold yourself accountable.
Just like you want your team to hold themselves accountable, they also want you to hold yourself accountable. That means being upfront with them about expectations and giving them the resources they need to meet your expectations and hold themselves accountable. Most importantly, you need to hold yourself accountable for letting your reps hold themselves accountable, i.e. give them the space they need to take ownership of their processes. If you hover over them daily to make sure that they’re following the plans they laid out, you’re not giving them the opportunity to be independent and in charge of their own success.
- Follow through on the processes you’ve designed.
Let your team know that once formal training is over that you’ll be meeting regularly to check in on progress. In 1-2-1 reviews with your team, look for them to take ownership of their activity. Ask them to explain an improvement in their numbers or a situation where they’ve needed to hold themselves accountable and apply changes to their process.
This will also reinforce to your team that they should be self-aware and intentional in their actions. If you’re upfront about your expectations and give salespeople the means to succeed, you’ll likely find yourself managing a team that hold themselves accountable for helping your business meet their goals and take ownership of their day-to-day processes.
And with all of this in mind, if you don’t have the time or confidence to manage this process yourself, consider working with an experienced sales coach to help transform your team into accountable sales people.
If this is you, then maybe we should talk.
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