In recent months I have been observing a quite disturbing trend – a lack of accountability. There are so many reports on the new generation coming into the workplace, the famous Millennials, not being as accountable as other generations, but I deal mostly with Gen X and Baby Boomers and, truthfully, there is really no difference when it comes to being accountable.
So, how can Sales Managers and top Sales Executives contribute to their sales teams being accountable and successful in their organizations?
Sales is a process, especially when it comes to consultative selling and the process only works when you don’t skip steps. Staying in touch with prospects, following up in a timely and mindful manner and following a customer-centric sales process is something that sales managers need to instill in their sales people so they can succeed to their fullest abilities.
But what if the sales managers themselves don’t stick to their process?
What if they don’t stay on track to move things along?
What can they do to hold their teams accountable for moving sales forward?
Lead by Example
It’s hard to expect accountability from your people if you don’t lead by example.
In my work with many companies trying to establish sales processes and programs, I encounter sales managers who don’t stick to their own time-lines far too often.
In our first meeting they usually have a clear picture as to when they want to implement training, who they want to enroll and what the desired outcomes should be, and why they have chosen this approach to support company objectives and goals.
We also ask them to have their team complete our online, proprietary Skills & Knowledge Assessment so everyone will know their current skill level and where their learning gaps are.
Stick to Your Timeline
What sometimes occurs then is a delay in the implementing of that time-line. Not a problem, as long as the reason makes sense for the company, such as restructuring of the team, new team members coming on board, etc.
It seems to be a trend, and when a pattern begins to take shape, I start paying attention.
So, in my mind, the question arises: How can sales managers expect their team to be accountable and productive, if they don’t stick to their own time-line? It’s almost like a parent expecting a child to be courteous while never being polite when interacting with people in front of their children!
My European background always kicks in when people make promises they then don’t keep. I just simply don’t understand it.
A huge part of my success in sales and business is due to the fact that I always show up on-time, always follow up on what was agreed upon and always follow through on my promises.
And, there is no difference whether I’m dealing with a prospect, a client or a vendor. That’s what accountability looks like – being good for your word.
On a personal note, just pushing the envelope a bit here, in my subjective and slightly biased view, I’ve experienced that it’s usually women who keep their promises.
So, whatever happened to the phrase: “I’m a man of my word”?
Create Stellar Performers
So in closing, Sales Managers – if you want to build a trustworthy, successful team you need to lead by example and stick to the promises you’ve made, otherwise it will be hard to expect stellar performance from your team.