Editor’s Note: Guest post by Jon Birdsong, CEO of Rivalry.
Unquestionably, the toughest job in frontline sales management is holding your team accountable. Holding every individual sales rep can be taxing. Doing it day in and day out is what gives us gray hairs, missed little league baseball games, and pure anxiety.
How many times a week do you ask your reps: “Where are we?” How’s your call number? What’s entered the pipe? Are you on track to hit your quota? All of these questions are attempts to seek the right information around the health of the revenue engine we all call sales so we can report to our boss or board how we’re doing it.
We get it and feel the pain.
The next 4 hacks will leave you and your team proven steps to create a consistent flow of accountability so your team can march more efficiently.
1. Identify the 5-7 key metrics that drive your sales reps daily behavior.
The key word here is behavior. Many sales managers immediately default to sales metrics highlighting results. Examples include: pipeline, revenue, or even ops created. These are all great outcomes.
Pro hack: Put yourself in the sales reps shoes when evaluating each metric and ask yourself: “How do I do that?”
How do I generate revenue? Create opportunities.
How do I generate opportunities? Schedule meetings.
How do I schedule meetings? Find the right people. Send the right message via phone, email, social.
This exercise focuses the manager on what they can manage. Basketball coaches can’t manage the number of points scored. Similar to how a baseball coach can’t manage how many runs are earned. However if the proverbial blocking and tackling are done to the best of the reps’ ability, and they’ve left everything on the field (in the office), that’s all any coach or manager can ask for.
Here’s what we use at Rivalry:
We use a picklist dropdown in SFDC:
Our blocking and tackling metrics include:
- Demos Scheduled
- Discovery Calls
- Discovery Calls Scheduled
2. Make Your Key Metrics Crystal Clearer
We’re living in a generation where every kid got a scoop of ice cream after the t-ball game. Fostering a culture of transparency is important to manage by metrics.
Three data points must be made crystal clear to a team of 5 more:
How many behaviors have they done?
How many behaviors have they done in relation to the expected goal?
How many behaviors have they done in relation to their peers?
Organizations put in numerous mechanisms to create transparency.
- Live leader boards
- Daily emails showcasing where each rep stands
- Daily standup where everyone announces their number to the team
- Basic dashboards in the CRM
Map your method of creating transparency to the characteristics of your sales team. A team of remote workers won’t look at or use a leader board. However, daily emails to everyone’s inbox at 6:00 p.m. works well.
Pro hack: If the reps are not comped on the metrics or it’s extremely difficult to enter the information into the CRM, creating a culture of transparency and accountability will be very tough. Make the metrics extremely simple to enter in the CRM and comp accordingly.
Great example of how this looks in email form:
3. Create a Rhythm For Qualitative Feedback
Everything we’ve shared so far is all about data. Data is great and many sales managers are becoming “number worshipers,” however data can only tell us so much. In sales, it answers The What.
What’s in your pipeline?
What leads have you prospected?
What calls have you made?
What demos have you done?
All of this should be in your CRM.
Yet the data does not provide The Why? or The How?
Why are you prioritizing these deals?
Why are you prospecting these leads?
Why are you following up with these prospects?
Why are you crushing quota or struggling?
How can we create better results?
How can we generate stronger leads?
How can we have better conversations?
How can we close more deals?
How can we crush quota?
This is information you can only get by facilitating conversations with the sales reps.
Ways to do this include:
- Holding weekly 1-on-1’s (most popular)
- Sending out weekly emails for each rep and have them answer your questions.
- Create Google forms where each rep must answer questions by you
- Use sales coaching software or team accountability software
- The water cooler
4. Follow-Up Like a Boss
Regardless of how you facilitate conversations with your sales reps around qualitative feedback, most meetings will have a set of takeaways and deliverables. This is the most forgotten part of accountability: the follow up.
How many times have you entered a 1-on-1 and not remembered one thing from the week or month before?
It happens all the time. There are 2 hacks you can do to make sure you never miss a follow up.
- Automate it in email. With your sales development software, schedule an email for the sales rep reminding them of the agreed upon deliverable immediately after the 1-on-1.
- Schedule follow up reminders on your calendar. Some managers will schedule time on their calendar to follow up with sales reps throughout the middle of the week. Get into a weekly scheduled rhythm of follow up and you’ll be in the top percentile of sales managers.
Holding your sales team accountable is extremely difficult and filled with loads of anxiety and sometimes awkward conversations. Putting in these proper mechanisms will make sure every sales rep is executing the right behaviors and keep them (and you) proactive on areas of opportunity to exceed plan and performance.