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Holding your team accountable


What sales system do your salespeople use? You might wonder why I’m asking a selling question in a blog about management. But humor me for a moment. What system are you using? Unless you are a large organization your answer might well be “I’m not sure of the question”. You probably have some stages you can identify that you go through from initial enquiry all the way through to delivery, but that doesn’t mean you have a system. If you don’t have a clearly defined process that takes your suspect all the way through to delighted customer, then how do you know if your team is doing it right? You probably hired them to do the selling job because they did it OK before somewhere else or they were prepared to throw themselves into selling your products and services. How can you manage them if there is nothing to hold them accountable to? You can discuss individual cases and get frustrated with your team when promised business doesn’t appear or be pleased with them when clients join you, but you can’t hold them to their behavior, because there is nothing set.

Therefore, the first rule of managing salespeople is to have a sales process. When you are choosing a sales process, be careful. There are two basic types; the “what to do” type and then the “how to do it” type. Which would be more useful?

The “What to do” type reminds you and the salesperson that your people need to find the real problem to fix (pain points), what budget the prospective client has to fix those and how the decision will be made as well as coming up with a good-fit solution. The “How to do it” type goes into what techniques your salesperson will use to discover the information they need, to discover the real problem behind the immediately obvious business problem, what the potential client is prepared to invest and all aspects of the decision cycle, before doing a highly tailored proposal. Which type is best for your team? If the former will do, that’s great, but if you want to keep close tabs on what is going on, you might want to consider the latter. You could even use both. One of my clients uses a version of MEDDIC for the “What” and then uses Sandler for the “How”.

This is a very short blog on management. Deliberately. I’d like you to save time reading any more and instead I challenge you to ask your salespeople to write down their sales process. (Writing it means they can’t be vague and wishy-washy.) When you discover they can’t write it down, or don’t agree amongst themselves, or worse, don’t agree with what you think it should be, contact me and we’ll see how we can help you get all your people following a sales process that you are comfortable holding them accountable to.

Paul Glynn

Paul Glynn

Sandler trainer