Published on July 10, 2023
Establishing steady, profitable sales growth is the key to building a successful company. One of the skills I bring to my clients is the ability to position their sales organization for scalability by diagnosing root cause problems that impede growth.
Too often, I find missing or incomplete sales infrastructure that translates into problems within a company’s sales strategy, sales processes, people positioning, or systems configuration.
One of the foundational sales infrastructure areas you need to get right is the establishment of key accountabilities for your sales positions.
Continue reading this blog to learn how to define and leverage key sales accountabilities as a means of informing dependent activities such as:
Setting proper expectations during the sales hiring process
Developing the “right sales metrics” and how to utilize them to coach for success
Creating a sales culture that promotes self-directed sales execution and accountability
The Common Position Description Missing Link
We’re all familiar with the typical components found in a position description: position title/summary, duties and responsibilities, required and preferred qualifications, etc.
When it comes to revenue contributing roles, it’s important to take your position description one step further by adding key accountabilities. This puts a spotlight on critical success factors and clear job outcomes that are uniquely “owned” by an individual’s role.
Key accountabilities answer fundamental questions about the position such as:
What is the overall purpose of the role?
What core outcomes are owned by this position?
What does leading indicator success look like?
Why does the company need someone in this role?
How does this role move the organization forward?
If you don’t feel confident you have the right sales department structure in place currently, a previous blog I wrote called, “How Should I Structure My Sales Team to Meet Growth Goals?”, may be helpful to get you started.
Investing time to develop key accountabilities brings clarity and focus to the underlying reasons for the role. In turn, this visibility helps avoid the single biggest reason why people fail –mismatch between the person and the position they were placed into.
Further, clarity empowers management to define the supporting behaviors, motivators, skills, capacities, and cultural rewards that will foster successful achievement of the position’s key accountabilities.
Ignite a High-Performance Sales Culture
I’ve found that discussing the position’s key accountabilities with sales candidates during the interview process expedites productive, transparent communication.
This process empowers the candidate to self-evaluate their fit and desire for the opportunity with a clearer understanding of its objectives. It also gives the hiring manager an immediate view into the candidate’s reaction to being held accountable for their performance.
Did you know that sales task clarity is rated the #1 source of motivation for sellers?
This is great news for sales leaders! It means that when the right amount of time and skill is applied toward pinpointing key areas of focus (accountability) for each unique sales position, the benefits are compounded.
Task clarity empowers salespeople of all skill levels to execute with better focus. Studies have shown that this creates intrinsic motivation that stimulates high levels of productivity and career satisfaction.
After defining key accountabilities for a position, sales leaders need to convert them into sales metrics that both the seller and manager will utilize to monitor and optimize sales performance. I wrote an entire blog on this topic given its depth called, “Improve Your Performance with Predictive Sales Metrics”.
To create a high-performance sales culture, you need to empower your sellers to be self-directed, self-motivated, and accountable for their results.
Armed with predictive metrics data based on “the right” key accountabilities for each sales position, sales leaders can take a targeted approach to support each salesperson based on their unique role.
That may mean a proactive approach to sharpening sales skills, experiential learning through sales modeling in live customer settings, or a number of other sales coaching approaches.
When you create the right environment for your team to self-direct and own the results of their actions, your company starts to see the growth you know you are capable of in your market.
Interdepartmental Lines of Accountability
Before I wrap-up on the topic of sales position key accountabilities, let’s remember that sales cannot be successful in a vacuum, no matter how well-equipped your team is to perform.
Role clarity and accountability need to be a company-wide superpower for a business to realize thriving, lasting sales growth.
Top sales performers want to be part of a company that is committed to role clarity with accountability throughout the organization.
At a high level, this involves getting the right people into the right seats organizationally and building a culture of accountability around that structure.
Clear lines of accountability create a healthy organization. If there is more than one person responsible for a specific function, then, in reality, no one is responsible for it.
Success is fun. Winning is fun. When everyone knows what they need to do and things are working, the momentum feeds on itself. Your sales team will be energized and confident when they see an entire company working towards new revenue and client satisfaction.
As a Fractional VP of Sales, I’m well versed at plugging into environments that have established lines of accountability and others that are just getting started on their journey.
If you’ve been reflecting on missed opportunities and could use help establishing more accountability in your sales department, please feel welcome to leverage me as a resource to get you started.
I also welcome you to click my banner below to determine if your sales department is equipped in a variety of other essential areas that also play a role in driving scalable growth.
We are part of a national group of Senior Sales Leaders who collaborate to share insights like the examples shown in this article. We formed because of our shared passion to help business leaders exponentially grow their revenue.