8 Sales Leadership Criteria That Will Create Accountability

March 27, 2018
8 Sales Leadership Criteria That Will Create Accountability

Are you looking to foster accountability that leads to more sales, more success, and happier employees? Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, I’ll be sharing 8 leadership criteria to help you do just that!

If you’re a sales leader, check out these 8 steps to develop accountability on your team.

8 Sales Leadership Criteria That Will Create Accountability

1. Focus on setting and achieving goals

The most important leadership criteria to establishing and preserving accountability is to create and review goals. Period! Furthermore, encourage people to make their goals visible to those who agree to hold them accountable.

Goals should be reviewed as often as possible. For example, at the beginning and at the end of each day. I’ll bet if people review their goals at least three times per week, they’ll be three times more likely to accomplish them. Have your team log goals in your Sales PlayBook, and it'll make the process even easier.

2. Set clear expectations

The job description is the first place to set clear expectations.

Here are three examples in an Accountability section of a salesperson’s job description:

  • Achieved revenue goals every month, quarter, and year
  • Upsold new products and services with existing clients
  • Consistently followed the policies outlined in the company Sales PlayBook

Hiring Template: How to Create a Job Description

3. Don’t focus on trying to be popular

Your popularity might be at stake if your hold your team accountable. Maybe people won't like you, argue with you, challenge your authority, gossip behind your back, or even quit.

So rather than focus on being popular, focus on setting good standards for accountability. One key leadership criteria don’t for maintaining accountability is to not set double standards. To this point, don’t give a salesperson a pass for not following the sales process if they made quota. As a result of doing this, others on the team are likely to question the sales leader’s integrity

4. Deal with resistance

Salespeople can resist accountability in several ways.  I often hear “I’m too busy to be accountable,” or “I’ll choose when to be accountable.” Leadership criteria to deal with this consists of training on good time management practices.

For instance, help people develop the habit of time blocking goal-setting and goal reviewing events in their calendar.

In addition, senior leaders should watch out for any of these excuses and therefore develop strategies to deal with them:

  • “I’m too busy.”
  • “I don’t need to be held accountable because I’m producing results.”
  • “It takes too long to write down goals.”
  • “I don’t need to review my performance with anyone other than my boss.”
  • “I don’t get enough support from the rest of the company to help me accomplish my goals.”

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5. Stop the blame game

We’ve all experienced someone throwing another employee under the bus as an excuse for missing a deadline. “I didn’t have enough deals in my pipeline this month because Mary in marketing didn’t give me the leads report. How can I be effective if marketing isn’t pulling their weight?”

Key leadership criteria to deal with this includes restructuring the conversation. “Can we talk about what you can control and what to do when people don’t give you what you expect?”

Make sure everyone in the organization understands their role and responsibilities on the team. In addition, create an escalation process so people can bring breakdowns in communication and execution to senior leadership

6. Create a peer-level coaching process

Invite people to volunteer to coach and be coached by their peers and assign leadership criteria for these roles. It’s also a good idea to give people a guide on what a good coaching conversation should include.

These noteworthy topics might be included in a successful coaching discussion:

  • Review execution of goals and collaborate on developing new goals
  • Commit to specific actions each person will take before the next meeting
  • Identify barriers and challenges and brainstorm potential solutions
  • When discussing an issue, use the following structure:
    • Discuss background on the issue
    • Ask and answer clarifying questions
    • Provide coaching
    • Give feedback to each other and commit to follow-on actions
    • Provide updates after the meeting

Free Resource: The Ultimate Guide to Setting & Achieving Sales Goals

7. Measure accountability

Put structures and systems in place to measure and record the team’s progress and schedule regular check-ins. These can be emails, texts, phone calls, or face to face meetings. Schedule meeting times in advance and on a routine basis.  Finally, include these indicators in key accountability metrics:

8. Help salespeople & their clients be accountable to each other

One of the most important leadership criteria is to help salespeople establish accountability between their clients and themselves. The best relationships between salespeople and their clients exist when both parties consider themselves equals.

Salespeople can work through their client’s challenges and identify small steps to resolve them. Probably the most effective way to help a client who isn’t taking action is to ask for their own suggestions. For example, “how can I best support you to do what’s necessary to accomplish your goal?”

This behavior checklist helps salespeople foster accountability with their clients:

  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
  • Stay engaged
  • Understand the client’s industry in general and learn their business
  • Understand the client’s goals
  • Quantify value
  • Honor your word
  • Get back to your clients on a timely basis
  • Give honest and timely feedback
  • Make promises and deliver on them
  • Make clear requests
  • Minimize sharing casual opinions
  • Don’t gossip about clients

I hope this article helps you build leadership criteria for developing accountability in your sales organization.

I wish you good leadership and good selling out there!

Free eBook: Accountability in Sales - A Guide for CEOs, Sales VPs, & Sales Managers on How to Guide Performance

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