Insufficient Accountability | Top Factors That Stop Sales Growth

Updated December 2021

Most sales leaders know all about accountability. They often have large quotas that serve as a constant reminder of their highly transparent success metric. But not many sales leaders know that if they have insufficient accountability, it can hinder sales growth.

Insufficient Accountability

According to 95Percent, “91% of people rank accountability as one of the top development needs they’d like to see at their organization.” That means that not only do you want your salespeople to be more accountable, but that accountability is held in high regard.

In order to hold someone accountable, you need to monitor employee productivity. So just how do you track your salespeople’s productivity? You have quotas, sales leaders, and a compensation plan, right? Yet sometimes you can still have revenues and profits that are lagging.

 Here are some reasons why:

  • Only revenue is being measured and not sales activities.
  • Sales managers only work with salespeople after they miss their quota.

This is called “revenue myopia,” or revenue nearsightedness, where revenue or the results number is the sole focus and the not the team or activities.

When the Focus is Only Numbers

According to a Harvard Business Review study, “46% of managers worldwide are not good at holding their teams accountable.” Either they undervalue the need for accountability in the workplace, or they are too focused on the revenue number.

When you are focused on the number and not on holding your team accountable, you can start to see how priorities shift.

 Here are a few things that can happen with insufficient accountability:

  • Some salespeople make quota by closing one or two big deals.
  • Some salespeople consume more resources than all the other salespeople.
  • Your salespeople reach their quota, while under-delivering on margin.
  • Some territories and quotas are unbalanced.

If You are Not Accountable

Simply put, if you are not accountable, you will not achieve your goals. Insufficient revenue can cause many challenges and struggles.

Insufficient revenue causes the following:

  • Not knowing why a salesperson is underperforming.
  • Not understanding the daily behaviors that lead to outstanding performance.
  • Inaccurate or incomplete forecasts.
  • Insufficient timely performance feedback provided to salespeople.
  • Keeping salespeople that bring in low-margin business because they reach quota.
  • Not understanding what stops salespeople during the sales process.
  • Not tasking sales managers to coach their salespeople.

How to Gain Accountability

Holding salespeople accountable is one of the most important things that a successful leader can do. If insufficient accountability is what’s getting in the way of the results you want, you can reverse it. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen if you are willing to change. There are a few things you can do.

Here are a few actions to consider and implement:

  • Determine which activities to measure and how to measure them.
  • Create appropriate territories, assignments, and quotas.
  • Develop sales scorecards for daily/weekly feedback and coaching.
  • Learn how to use sales scorecards to evaluate and develop salespeople.
  • Design communication and processes to improve forecast accuracy.

There are many more things you can do to increase your accountability, but those are a few that can make a big impact right away.

In the End

Insufficient accountability can hinder sales growth faster than you may think. Being too focused on just the revenue number can distract from spending time with your sales team and holding them accountable.

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