Sales and marketing

Stop Making Accountability Mistakes With Your Salespeople

KLA Group CEO Kendra Lee
Author: KLA Group CEO Kendra Lee

When you hire salespeople, you expect they’ll hold themselves accountable. Sales accountability won’t be your job. Yet, nonperformance is the most common complaint about salespeople and a huge source of stress for managers.

As an owner or sales manager, you thought you’d hired a stellar salesperson, but they aren’t delivering results. Filling the position was meant to sustain and grow your business, but that’s just not happening. You are responsible for sales, but you aren’t the one tasked to go out and sell. If your salespeople aren’t going to produce sales, you might as well focus on referrals and existing clients.

How can you change the game plan, get everyone on the same page, and have your salespeople performing at their best?

Reasons Why a Salesperson Fails

Before you sit them on the bench, let’s take a step back and examine WHY your salesperson may be failing.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Any of these could be reasons why your salesperson is failing. All of them begin with expectations and accountability.

Before you can clearly determine the reason for failure, you must first make sure they are being held accountable to the expectations you have set for them. You can’t pinpoint where the real problem lies without first establishing accountability.

Why Salespeople Are Not Held Accountable

There are several reasons why salespeople are not held accountable for their lack of sales results. It’s not for lack of intention on your part. Every business owner and sales manager understands the importance of accountability and oversight. You wouldn’t run your business without closely monitoring your expenses. Likewise, you can’t run a sales team, even a single salesperson, without monitoring their performance.

Sales success requires accountability. But why is it so difficult to establish?

There are 3 primary reasons owners and managers struggle to create accountability:

  1. Fear that the salesperson will leave. It was hard enough hiring to fill your sales position, and you would rather not go through the process again. You’re thinking that avoiding accountability will save you the hassles of having to hire someone new. But if your current salesperson isn’t performing, how is that benefitting your business?
  • You want your salespeople to like you. Everyone would rather be liked than not. You want them to enjoy working for you. If you keep them accountable and challenge them on their performance against the expectations you’ve set, they may not like you. Accountability conversations are hard. You’d prefer to avoid confrontation. Why can’t they just sell without you pushing them?
  • You don’t know how. Sales is not your expertise. You can hold an engineer accountable, but you aren’t sure how – or what – to hold a salesperson accountable for besides closed sales. Or maybe you do know sales, but you’ve never been confident keeping other salespeople accountable.

Each of these reasons is valid and each can be addressed in a way that will strengthen your sales team and improve your business.

Ramifications When Salespeople Are Not Held Accountable

Salespeople need to have accountability. What happens when you let that accountability slip? Poor sales results, no first-time appointments, long sell cycles, lost opportunities, and limited business growth.

Whichever reason is causing you to hesitate, it needs to be addressed. If not, the impact on the health of your business can be significant. Set expectations that sales performance can be measured against. Remember, that which gets measured gets done.

Salespeople Want Accountability

Salespeople appreciate having clear expectations and being held accountable to them – it helps them become more successful. Good salespeople are goal oriented. If you give them metrics they can measure their performance against, they will be motivated to meet (and exceed) their targets. They look for ways to achieve their goals as fast as possible. Likewise, without expectations and accountability, they are left running without direction.

Good salespeople want your guidance. They want praise when they are doing well against their metrics. They want coaching when they are not performing well. When you hold them accountable, they will not only achieve their sales goals, they will also achieve their personal and professional goals.

Accountability is a gift to your salespeople.

Sales Accountability Metrics To Measure

Knowing that your salespeople will perform at their peak when kept accountable is one thing, knowing which metrics to best measure them by is another. There is no shortage of measurements available in sales, but some are more important than others.

Primary Sales Accountability Metrics To Measure

The most important sales metrics are the ones that clearly show how your sales pipeline is – or is not – working. The numbers should reveal a steady flow over time.

These are the 6 primary sales accountability metrics to monitor each week:

  1. Sales activities, including calls, connections, and meetings
  2. First-time appointments set
  3. Marketing qualified leads converted into sales qualified leads
  4. Sales qualified leads converted into sales opportunities
  5. Closed sales
  6. Lost sales

These 6 metrics are the key indicators of whether or not a salesperson will achieve the goals you’ve set for them. By staying on top of these metrics, you’ll be able to better understand your sales team and the growth of your business.

Sales Accountability Metrics To Improve the Sales Process

As you get a handle on your primary sales accountability metrics, you can begin to focus on improving the sales process itself.

These 4 metrics will help you identify where in the sales process you are losing opportunities:

  1. Average sale size
  2. Loss status – such as lost opportunity based on price, no decision, or competitor
  3. Days in the sales process
  4. Days at each stage of the sales process

Once you know where your salespeople are losing sales, you can begin to support them and find ways to ensure they will develop the skills needed to succeed.

For even more metrics, here’s a list of 15 sales metrics to monitor broken down for you.

Steps To Hold Salespeople Accountable

Now that the importance of holding your salespeople accountable is clear, it’s time to take action. Your team will thank you for it.

Here are the 5 steps to implement sales accountability:

  1. Set the metrics you will monitor
  2. Set up regular reporting through your CRM
  3. Monitor the metrics weekly and communicate to the sales team that you are doing so
  4. Conduct a weekly sales meeting and review the metrics as part of it
  5. Coach individual salespeople based on what the metrics are showing

Outsource Those Uncomfortable Conversations

If you are still uncomfortable holding your salespeople accountable, need assistance with how to do so, or simply don’t have the time, we can help. Contact us and we will put accountability metrics in place, coach you on how to hold salespeople accountable, or handle the entire process for you. Not keeping salespeople accountable limits the growth potential of your entire company. You have assembled your sales team, even a team of one. Now make sure they will compete.

This blog contributed by KLA Group and authored by Kendra Lee, CEO of KLA Group. Read more from Kendra Lee here.

Kendra Lee

Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the award winning books “The Sales Magnet” and “Selling Against the Goal”, and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.