When sharing the notion of full accountability with my clients, I expect some pushback from managers and executives around taking on this position. I hear things like, “C’mon Keith, 100%. Don’t managers get a little bit of a break here? How can we be fully accountable when I’m already stretched thin and still expected to achieve higher sales goals with fewer resources. Doesn’t the salesperson have some role and responsibility in this? After all it’s their career and it’s what they were hired to do. I mean, what if…”
No, I didn’t cut this person off. I actually heard them through completely. That’s why we’re going to list all of the ‘what if’s’ (a.k.a excuses) that I’ve heard managers react with when I challenged them with adopting this principle. Here are all the reasons I’ve heard as to why managers feel they should not be fully responsible for their salespeople.
1. I just got promoted and inherited my sales team. I didn’t hire these people.
2. We don’t do background checks. Sometimes, you just don’t have all the information to make the best hiring decision.
3. Some of these veteran salespeople have been here forever. You can’t change them, they’re too set in their ways.
4. We don’t have time for a sales training and coaching program. We need people producing and out in the field.
5. It was HR’s fault. Our/my sales training is great.
6. That’s normal in my industry. Turnover is just something we just have to deal with. We just accept it as part of our hiring practices.
7. That responsibility was not part of my job description.
8. I don’t have the authority to make hiring and firing decisions.
9. We can’t offer competitive packages like other companies can. It’s straight commission. No salary or benefits. So, as you can imagine, we attract only a certain type of person and not always the high end salesperson. We do our best to play the hand we’re dealt.
10. We don’t have an evaluation process.
11. There’s just this one person who no matter how hard I try I just can’t get along with. They probably shouldn’t be here anyway. They just make my job tougher.
12. Actually, I agree with you, Keith. But here’s the thing. The problem is really this; it’s my boss. He’s the real bottleneck to making any positive changes.
13. The salespeople are really independent contractors. So if they need help, they should get help on their own. Besides, they should be able to manage themselves.
14. They fail, then they really weren’t cut out for this position.
15. We’ve given them training. Two weeks of training which covers all of our product line. Soft skill development? No.
16. Needed help? Then they should have come to us. We would have helped them. That’s their responsibility. How can I read their mind if they’re having a problem.
17. My sales team is awesome. It’s the other divisions we have to interact and work closely with that are bringing our numbers down.
18. I need quick studies. If they don’t pick it up fast, then chances are this position isn’t for them. I don’t have time to baby sit them. That’s our qualification process; the strong survive.
19. I worked with that guy for three weeks of solid, on the job training. And still nothing.
20. You can’t make any headway in this company. They’re opposed to doing that sort of thing.
21. The President and her board already feel that things are going well and this is not a priority. So why change? And if that’s how they feel, what can I do?
22. I told them to call the other salespeople for help.
23. It’s hard to find good sales talent out there now. Our market is super competitive and this is what I have to work with.