Success equals accountability

it starts with you!

Just had a great pre-SKO meeting with the sales management team from a successful start-up. One of the topics that came up was holding sales reps accountable. Whether you manage SDR teams, Inside Sales Teams, Customer Success, or Field Sales Teams this is one of the most important topics in sales management.

Truthfully, it’s equally important in all aspects of business leadership. And ultimately if you want to be successful at anything in life, in any career, being accountable will be the most determining factor.

So we decided to discuss, “how to make sales reps more accountable”?

For me, as a Gen-Xer, one of the most insightful parts of this conversation was the fact this was a group of highly intelligent men and women millennials. So I was eager to hear their thoughts on the topic.


  1. Reps have a great month, then a down month, then a great month.
  2. They don’t work as hard as I did when I first started. I stayed late until I got my first ______ (appointment, sale, etc.)
  3. How do we make them want to be more accountable?

Solutions Discussed

  1. Define Accountability in your onboarding program. Meaning at the end of onboarding we expect the reps to be accountable for ______ and _____. Then make sure that is covered in onboarding.
  2. Ask the team leads(ers) to meet independent of managers and come up with 3 things they think it means to be accountable as an inside sales rep or sales development rep.
  3. Ask the managers to meet independent of team leads and come up with 3 things they think it means to be accountable as an inside sales rep or sales development rep.
  4. Compare #2 and #3. Somewhere in there will be your definition of accountable.
  5. Fire someone good for cause. Yeah, this is always a bit controversial but nothing lights a fire under someone’s ass like watching someone leave. Now, this should be done in an appropriate manner of course. Here is where it gets very controversial. It cannot just be someone who is at the bottom of the list. In many cases you have to set an example with a veteran. Typically this is a high performer however they are the “lone wolf”. They operate outside the boundaries of the team and others. They think they can come and go as they please, and often do. What you will find is that others will rise to the occasion. The team will be happier and overall performance will increase.

How I define accountability. I cannot remember where I read this, but it has stuck with me ever since. Accountability is defined by making sure everyone knows their own job and that I finish my tasks in such a way that nobody else needs to come after me and clean up my mess. If you can build this into your culture and onboarding, I think it will set the right tone across the board.

So there you have it, a few simple tips to help you better manage accountability on your team. Would love to hear your experiences for building a culture of accountability. #YouControlYou

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