Personal Accountability in Sales Management Training

For over 200 years the US Constitution has served as the system of fundamental laws and principles of our society. This amazing document has served as the cornerstone of our democracy. A reflection of our Founding Fathers’ core values, the Constitution has kept our society on track since 1787, and has certainly contributed significantly to the growth and success of the United States.

What is the Constitution of your sales team?

Have you, as yet, identified and communicated your cornerstone? If I was to ask five of your salespeople to describe to me what is expected of them in areas other than sales results would I receive five different answers?

The Production Equation: B+A=R.

Behavior plus activities equals sales results. Or, another way of saying this is that every successful sale is the outcome of a series of behaviors (how something is done) as well as activities (how many times a behavior is performed).

Unfortunately, many of us sales managers try to manage results. We wait until a rep has a bad month before we decide to get involved in “coaching” them. So then, when a rep produces a bad month, we rush over and smother them in coaching trying and get their production back up quickly. Sales managers who try to manage results are like a driver of an automobile who only looks in the rear view mirror… chances are they will be surprised when they collide with something that is unexpected. Looking only in the rear view mirror is not an effective way to drive a car, but it happens to be the way that many sales managers drive their sales teams.

Sales results can’t be managed, but behaviors and activities can.

To be the best sales manager you must get in front of the result, get the best sales management training possible, and put in writing your expectations of the behaviors and activities that contribute to sales results.

Think of this issue – a team without well-communicated performance standards – from your salesperson’s perspective. As a salesperson, you have a clear understanding of the sales quota results expected of you, but you’re unsure exactly how to produce those results. So you do what you think you should. You “make it up on the fly.” Then, because nobody tells you you’re doing it wrong you assume it is acceptable behavior. So you keep doing it, and form bad habits. It’s an unproductive cycle.

How to Draft your Sales Team’s Constitution

Think of your top salesperson… what specific behaviors does he/she do that contributes to sales success? For example, “makes at least five new business prospecting calls every day.” Then, what attitudinal qualities does he/she have which contributes to success? For example, “attempts to solve problems before seeking help.”

Make a list of behaviors and activities that describe your top salesperson, and then share this list with everyone on your sales team. Have each of your salespeople assess themselves on a quarterly basis against these behaviors and activities: Meets, Exceeds, Needs Improvement. Then, sit down one-on-one with each salesperson, discuss his/her self assessment, and put a plan in place to improve those.

Four Components of a Sales Constitution are as follows:

  • Written
  • Well communicated
  • Understood by everybody
  • Equally applied
Kevin Davis

Kevin F. Davis is the author of The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness”, which was named the 2018 Axiom Business Book Award Winner, Silver Medal. Kevin is also the author of Slow Down, Sell Faster!”.