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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

4 Reasons Accountability Is Missing in a Sales Team


Every relationship has ups and downs, and that includes relationships between coworkers.

The members of your sales team might be going through problems at home that can cause problems at work.

There might be conflicts with other members of the sales team.

When problems exist in other areas of life, it can affect the accountability of the whole sales team or individual team members. Either way, it's possible to remedy the situation and make accountability a priority for your team.

New call-to-action1. Low Team Morale

If your team lacks motivation and a positive outlook, you can help them get back on track.

Be quick to tell each one of them and the whole team how much you appreciate their hard work. They want to know that you see them working towards a goal, even if it's hard to get there sometimes. In fact, morale-boosting is even more critical in tough times. Help the team by celebrating the small wins along the journey. 

Celebrate their efforts with a free lunch once in a while or offer bonuses for putting in extra hours or taking an extra call or two. Team morale will be higher when they know you see them, even when results are not always perfect. Accountability is easier to come by for the sales team members when the sales manager is on their side. 

As a leader, you need to be visibly accountable to your team. When results falter or miss the mark, take ownership and let them know you're not just the leader but an equal member of the team. 

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2. Little to No Communication Between Team Members and Sales Manager

Get your team talking. Communication can make or break a team. Remember, information is NOT communication. In order for true communication to occur, the people involved need to cooperate and understand each other. 

Accountability will fall through the cracks if your employees are passing the blame on to each other and do not feel that they need to be part of fixing the problem. Schedule regular meetings to discuss what is working and what isn't. These meetings shouldn't be gripe sessions, but a safe and open space to improve and grow the team overall. It's essential that you have created and are promoting an environment of psychological safety that enables the communication between the team and manager. 

Make sure that everyone knows what their jobs entail and who they can go to if they have a question. Employees who have responsibilities for which they are qualified and that they want to have are more apt to achieve high standards when it comes to accountability.

Nothing enables a "pass the buck" environment more than ambiguous roles.

3. Subpar Mentoring

Management needs to be the first to take responsibility when there is a problem with the accountability of a sales team.

Just as parents are human and do make mistakes, supervisors and others in leadership roles need to own the fact that mistakes can happen on their watch. Being honest about situations, even embarrassing or truly damning circumstances, needs to be admitted to and handled truthfully.

Successful mentoring for your sales team puts you in the position of guiding your team to the best of your ability. Showing them that accountability is not only the preferred way to do things, but it is also the only way that you will allow your team to operate. Take ownership and set the example. 

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4. Poor Documentation

Train your sales team to document every phone call, every conversation, and every move they make. Keep a record of all emails and texts with customers in case there is ever a time when one person remembers a situation differently than another.

If your company has a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, be sure it's compulsory. Set the example by being a practitioner of documentation and driving conversations around activity into the record. 

Appointment times, quotes given for orders, and estimated dates of delivery are all things that need to be documented and made available to everyone involved for the sake of accountability. To drive accountability, we need transparency among the team to keep information and processes flowing smoothly. 

Members of your sales team are more likely to be accountable when they know their words and actions can be backed up in writing. And team members will know where to find the information they may need to complete their own work and projects. 

If you're looking for better ways to hold your people accountable, start by getting clear on the most important leading indicators and the most essential performance measures to track. Don't let these be a stale spreadsheet! Be sure to discuss these measures in your Individual Focus Meetings (IFM) to stress their importance and keep them top of mind. 

For some tips on the options to choose from, download our Sales Performance Dashboard.

sales performance dashboard download

Topics: sales performance