Last time I talked about the area of accountability and what causes sales managers to be ineffective in holding salespeople accountable. In case you missed the list of traits that competent sales managers possess I list it here.
- Doesn’t accept mediocrity
- No need for approval from salespeople
- Takes responsibility
- Manages behavior
- Asks questions
- Manages the pipeline
- Personal beliefs support accountability
As I mentioned last time, frequently we see sales managers who have a hard time holding salespeople accountable because they have an oversized need for approval themselves.
While that is a common trait that is lacking and can be time-consuming to improve, we also see a significant number of sales managers who actually have the requisite traits, but unfortunately they just don’t spend enough time holding the salespeople accountable. It isn’t really that difficult frankly, but what we find is that most sales managers set goals or expectations and then assume the salespeople are executing. All it takes is a little bit of time each week to pay attention. It starts with making sure every salesperson is clear on what their revenue or closed business goals are. Then it requires the manager and salesperson to agree on an activity plan which will ensure that the salesperson will produce the goal.
The activity plan to a very specific level is what most sales managers fail to pay attention to. And, when I say activity plan, I mean very specifically what are the specific activities and how much of them is the salesperson going to do consistently? There might be daily activities. There might be weekly or monthly activities, or there might be a certain number of times that an individual is going to do certain activities. Sometimes a sales manager may also need to define what activities the salesperson is going to STOP doing. To give themselves the best chance of success the sales manager needs to help each salesperson create these activity plans and then hold each salesperson accountable every week to the plan. In other words, sales managers need to know what the plan is and then they need to check in weekly to make sure each salesperson is working his or her plan. Oh, yeah, then there need to be consequences to the salesperson if they aren’t working the plan.