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“Chose Discomfort Over Resentment”

- Brené Brown

These are awkward times. You and your sales reps are still working from home. You’re being asked to think about equality and how that might change your leadership style. You and your team are under a lot of pressure to hit the revised (or not) revenue targets you’ve been given. AND the end of the quarter is just days away. 

It’s a lot. I get it. But not holding your reps accountable to activity, net new pipeline, pipeline hygiene, and quota isn’t the answer. If you have a Culture of Accountability (and I’m assuming you do) you owe it to yourself, your reps, and your company to continue to lead your team as you did in February. 

So, what’s stopping you from holding your reps accountable? 

Let’s just call out the elephants in the room:

  • You’re afraid of losing your job
  • You’re afraid your reps will lose their job
  • Everyone is under personal and professional stress – you don’t want to pile on
  • You’ve been told to lead with compassion and empathy. So how do you do that and hold people accountable?
  • You have no idea what the next few months will look like 
  • You’ve developed a more personal relationship with your reps over the past few months and now they feel more like friends than employees

Leading from a place of fear, scarcity, and uncertainty is hard. 

Here are some ways to help you hold your reps accountable without losing more sleep.

  • Start by clearly communicating what you and the company expect from the employees - this may change often. That’s ok - keep communicating
  • Tell them what they can expect from you and the company
  • Discuss together how you should handle a situation where either of you feels expectations haven’t been met. You need to do this before something happens
  • You and your company’s executive need to be transparent about the state of the business and decisions they’re making
  • Take action on employees that are chronic accountability dodgers. Nothing is more frustrating for employees when they are walking their talk and someone else isn’t and it isn't addressed by management.
  • Get personal. Get to know your employees and share personal things about yourself. Everyone is struggling with something. Letting an employee know you care about them and not just what they can do for the company

Here’s the first step I want you to take. Today. Take off the rose-colored glasses and clean up the pipeline so that you have a realistic picture of the revenue you can expect over the next 90 days. This will help you figure out how many new deals you need to add to the pipeline to hit the revenue targets. Yes, it will be painful, but you’ll be relieved to know where your team really stands. Here are some guideposts for deciding what to close as lost.

Your reps are looking for leadership right now and that includes being held accountable for their performance. Be authentic. Be brave. Be transparent. You got this!