How to Identify Companies With No Sales Accountability

By Jeff Beals

Nobody wants to be micromanaged, but today’s ambitious professionals do crave some level of sales accountability. That’s especially true of sales practitioners, because they know accountability helps them make more money.

While people thrive when working in a culture of healthy accountability, 91% of sales reps nationwide say “lack of accountability” is a major problem in their companies. In fact, 46% of managers worldwide do a poor job of holding their teams accountable, according to a Harvard Business Review study.

What about your company? Do you have a lack of sales accountability in your organizational culture?

It can be difficult to discern whether your company has a sales accountability problem because you’re so close to the situation. When you’re immersed in your work on a daily basis, it’s hard to get an unbiased look at what’s really happening.

That’s why I’m providing you with the following list of factors that indicate your company may lack a sales accountability culture:

  1. Plateaued or declining numbers.
  2. Difficulty retaining top producers.
  3. Difficulty recruiting top producers (Talent attracts talent. Similarly, a lack of talent in an office is patently obvious to highly talented prospective employees).
  4. Sales managers who appear to be more interested in building friendships with team members instead of being bosses.
  5. The sales team lacks clear, quantifiable, unambiguous, and regularly monitored goals both for the team overall and for each individual rep.
  6. Sales managers aren’t having at least monthly one-on-one meetings with each sales rep. If they do have these meetings the sales managers aren’t getting specific information from reps about results and pipeline progress.
  7. Sales managers utter vague, meaningless motivational phrases such as “We are tracking behind this quarter and need to take up our game to the next level” or “Let’s get after it!”
  8. Sales reps do not engage in healthy competition among themselves.
  9. Sales reps talk more about their busy activities (like meetings, emails, and phone calls) than their actual results.
  10. There is confusion and ambiguity about sales procedures, territory divisions, new product launches, etc.
  11. Basic procedures keep getting changed for no apparent reason, which makes reps less confident and motivated.
  12. Social loafing has crept into the sales department. Social loafing is the tendency of individuals to put forth less effort when they are part of a group. Because all members of the group are pooling their efforts to achieve a common goal, each member of the group contributes less than they would if they were individually responsible. This is more likely to happen in departments in which a lot of team-based selling takes place.

Do you see any of these problems in you company? If you have one or two of them, you will want to address them, but your performance is probably fine. If you have several of them, you got some work to do immediately. A strong culture of sales accountability pushes all sales reps forward and maximizes revenue.