It's one thing to have good intentions. It's an entirely other thing to make sure that those intentions are being executed. And when it comes to leadership, sales coaching, and staff training, that difference is crucial. So how can you make sure that you're following through, and holding both yourself and your staff accountable in your actions? It comes down to a few different practices.
Don't: let tasks go unassigned
One major issue that organisations face in all industries, is when to-do's fall through the cracks because it's never been specified who will be responsible for them. In sales organisations, everyone's roles and duties should be explicit and precise. There should be no room for confusion over who does what, especially in team projects.
There's another reason for this: in high-touch sales processes, it may be more than one of your associates who speak to a prospect, or you maybe even have a direct line of communication or hierarchy for which the "ball" gets passed. If there is an unsuccessful conversion, you may need to evaluate where the broken link was, and this becomes impossible to do if you aren't keeping track of who does what in the sales process. Without assignments, too often you'll end up missing opportunities to close deals.
Don't: let staff point fingers (and don't do it yourself)
When problems arise or things go wrong, it tends to be human nature to pin the blame on someone else. But in a strong, successful sales organisation, both you and your staff must take responsibility for your own actions - especially when mistakes are made and things go wrong.
Finger-pointing leads to unhealthy competition, resentment, and hurt feelings, which are all the ingredients of a poorly functioning sales team. You should lead by example and show that while your intentions may have been in the right place, the execution was not up to your own standards and you are using a failure as a learning experience. Showing your staff you can handle being held accountable will make them more likely to take ownership of their own mistakes and weaknesses, and be in a better position to work on improving them for the future.
Do: follow up on performance and coaching
Sales coaching can be one of the most successful methods for improving your staff's abilities in sales, but there is no point to coaching if there is no follow-up. Make sure you are checking in on your employees and their self-evaluations to see if the coaching is working or not.
Here is where there is a big difference between intention and execution: when you coach your staff, the intention is to help them and to improve the overall sales performance. If you aren't following through and following up, it shows that the result and outcome of the coaching is maybe not all that important. You want your staff to take coaching, and their performance, seriously. So meet with them, talk to them about their performance, and see how to continually make improvements together.
Do: practice what you preach
It was mentioned before but it bears repeating: lead by example and practice what you preach. If you are coaching your staff through an issue, but you yourself aren't working on your own feedback and accountability, it can be very difficult for your team to take you seriously.
Show your team that you're also willing to do what it takes to make sure you all succeed. Have your own self-evaluations, do coaching with other leaders or managers even from other parts of your organisation. When you show your team that you can fulfill the messages they are supposed to be buying into, then you'll be that much more in sync together, reaching towards a common goal.
Need help in holding your staff members accountable? Use our checklist for employee self-evaluation to ensure you're doing it the right way.