If you asked your sales reps why they are selling, what would they answer? To fill the venue? Because it’s my job? To make sure the team gets money to pay the players? To cover the expenses? Because you tell them to? All valid reasons, but does this provide the passion and motivation that drives sales teams to success?
Nearly every team I work with asks how to ‘make my sales reps accountable.’ Accountability is a term that Webster tells us means “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility.” Let’s look at the reasons above again, and see if any of those brings that obligation or willingness to accept responsibility. There is no personal obligation attached to any of them.
So how do we build accountability AND help our reps feel a part of the business, all the while building culture? Make them part of the business.
Sports teams will often say, reps are lucky they work here. There’s so many that want to be in sports, they are lucky they are here. That does not build accountability or culture. It builds turnover. People who are accountable feel a personal responsibility to the business.
In order to feel a personal responsibility to the business, we have understand the business, where it was, where it is, and where it is going. Have you shared that with your sales team? Let’s look at these areas:
Where the business was. Have you shared with your team where your organization was up to 10 years ago? When was it last hugely successful? What has led to its success or decline over the past 10 years? What was the team on the field/court’s record? What were the ups and downs of the franchise? What were the key points over the past 10 years that made a difference, be it positive or negative.
Where the business is. This is a look at the current state of affairs. Where is the business currently? In the red? The black? Is ownership investing money to make it successful, but it’s not there yet? Where does our current revenue goal leave us in the overall picture? If the goal is not hit, what does it do to the bottom line?
Where the business is going. This is a look at the next 5 years. What is in the plans? What is the revenue stream expected for growth? Are there additions or renovations hoped for in those plans? What will it take to get there? What is the outlook for each of the next 5 years in revenue, growth and future appearance?
Now let’s look at your sales rep. Viewing where the organization has been, where it is, and where it is going gives them a total look as to the ‘why’ they are doing what they are doing. Yes, they are contributing to players salaries. Yes they are helping to cover expenses. But more importantly, they are contributing to the health of the business and part of the plan for increasing the business and its growth.
Upon giving them the business picture, then focus on the year at hand. What part of the overall 5 year plan is this current year? Why is it an important key to the 5 year plan? What is their role in this plan? Why are they key players? From there, invite them to create the year. How will they achieve the goal for their role? How will they divide the revenue per quarter/month/week/day? How should they celebrate success by month?
In order to build accountability and that ‘personal obligation or willingness to accept responsibility’, the sales reps need to understand the business. They are a key part of our business, so why shouldn’t they understand it? “Because I said so” was a phrase our parents used when they were exhausted explaining things to us, but have we ever even begun to explain to our staff why they are key?
I have found time and again that our sales reps will move mountains for the organization and work hard to hit goals when they realize what their success in reaching goals for the current and the future is. They care. They feel personally responsible for where the organization is going. They monitor each other as well as themselves. They don’t have to be told repeatedly what they need to do…they just go out and do it. They are true team players.
Ask your team today, why do you sell? If they aren’t giving you the passion, the personal responsibility that will make your organization successful, it’s time to help your team understand where you were, where you are, and where you are going as an organization. They are the heart of your business. Your success depends on their committment. Their committment depends on your ability to truly make them part of your business.
Kathy Burrows, Sold Out Seating
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