Sales Performance Management: Great Tips to Stop the Excuse-Making

Sales Performance Management: Great Tips to Stop the Excuse-Making

Accountability has become the buzz-word for “finding someone to blame.” True accountability focuses on fixing the wrong and finding a lasting solution. An excuse-free sales culture is defined as “a set of shared values, goals, and practices that minimizes excuses and maximizes the search for solutions.” When your sales team is not allowed to make excuses, you empower them to tap their talent reserves for creative options on how to handle adversity and conquer obstacles. What do you observe when looking at your sales team?

In the previous post, I shared 10 tips to assist you in building an excuse-free culture in your business.  Here’s 10 more

  1. Stop accepting excuses. Learn to recognize excuses and stop accepting them from anyone, at any time, for any reason, even though they may seem to have some validity.  Focus on the behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes of your salespeople and address the shortcomings. Assist them through coaching, define clear expectations, and then hold them accountable. Simply let your “yes” be “yes”, and your “no” be “no”.
  2. Reply to excuses with an excuse-busting question. “If you couldn’t use that excuse, what could you have done differently to overcome that obstacle?” This empowers salespeople to come up with ways to address issues that plague their performance.
  3. Ask “how” and “what” questions. Be sure to include “might” to foster creativity and action, i.e., “how might you overcome this objection in future?” Actions lead to results. Catch them doing something right; recognition leads to more of the same.
  4. Spread the word. Never forget to have some fun! Build a team competition around a fun event. Include key questions on accountability in all of your communications, from billboards to emails, until it becomes an integral part.
  5. Do the time. Managers should spend 25% of their time holding people accountable by measuring performance and discussing solutions. Manage by walking about, listen to the conversations in the corridors and cafeteria, really talk to the people, and have impromptu coaching sessions should the opportunity arise. Give your people quality time.
  6. Define performance metrics and desired outcomes. Identify key accountabilities for each position. Ask employees what they think those accountabilities are. Is service included as a key accountability? Use clearly defined ranking and rating systems and make the results highly visible.  That which gets measured gets done.
  7. Compare employee evaluations in your appraisal system with your assessment. A mismatch indicates that there is not a clear understanding of what is expected. The individual’s level of desire and commitment as well as his/her knowledge and skills will determine what type of managerial planning and support is needed to ensure consistency of successful activity that yields predictable results.
  8. Conduct regular and consistent performance reviews. Monthly reviews encourage employee growth and communication and confirm accountability. Only giving feedback at formal review sessions is a total no-no. Don’t condone incompetence; there must be clear consequences for non-performance. Know your people well enough to motivate them as individuals. Celebrate success stories.
  9. Create a balanced scorecard. This method of matching, monitoring and measuring sales performance identifies key accountabilities and defines good/better/best performance standards. It is an invaluable communication tool. Use quantitative rather than qualitative measurements as far as possible. Check online for tools to assist you in creating scorecards and performance management documents.
  10. Link Employee Performance to Reward. Whatever your reward system, be it salary, commission, individual and/or team bonuses, it must be clearly linked to actual performance. Reviewing performance-based rewards can have a significant impact during an economic downturn. Depending on the type of business, team rewards can also play an important role.

“Develop an action mindset to be a solutions provider, not just a problem solver.” Millennials Matter, p151

If you’ve missed the first ten tips to build an excuse-free culture in your business, get it here.

Leadership Lesson:  When your sales team doesn’t make excuses, they will tap their talent reserves for creative options on how to handle adversity and conquer obstacles.

Leadership Question: How can you guide your salespeople to embrace an excuse-free culture?

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