If you want drive personal accountability / ownership down through your #sales org to the frontline—here’s a brilliant insight I wanted to share from a recent conversation I had with my friend, world-class sales leader, and CRO at Nutanix, Chris Kaddaras. . .
Chris shared with me how early in his sales leadership journey when he was a second line manager running a team of 150 reps—the business wasn’t growing fast enough. He dove into the data and thought he found the answer: not enough activity.
We need more sales calls, more demos, more proposals, more POCs… MORE MORE MORE!
He started measuring every last detail for every rep, every single day and took a very top-down approach, but quickly noticed a problem: it wasn’t working:
◆ Performance wasn’t improving / more reps started missing their #s
◆ The environment was deteriorating / he started losing sr. reps
◆ Reps we’re buying in, they weren’t personally accountable
Until one day he had a breakthrough: Maybe the problem isn’t my people—maybe the problem is my approach.
Instead of being a micromanager, what if I changed my approach and become more of a “coach”?
Instead of top-down, what I try bottom’s up?
Instead of giving all the answers, what if I start asking more questions?
Instead of trying to push it onto them, what if start trying to pull it out of them?
Instead of trying to force compliance, what if I strive to get their commitment?
Chris realized that by him mandating what they needed to do and how they needed to do it—reps weren’t taking personal accountability.
They didn’t own it because it wasn’t THEIR plan; it was HIS plan.
As Chris told me, “It’s got to come from their head. If it comes from their head and it’s their idea, their plan—then I can shift accountability and ownership to them. If it’s their idea and they own it, they’ll put pressure on themselves. People thrive in this type of environment and you can drive much better output.”
Spoken like a true “coach.”
Instead of giving your team a plan with the answers all spelled out, give them a framework which gives them guidance on areas they should be thinking about—but let them fill in the whitespace and come up with their own plan. Your job is to coach them through the process.
Ex: Here are the core areas you should be thinking about. Now you come up with your plan on how you’re going to run your business, we’ll review it, and I’ll coach you through the process.
Whether it’s part of your QBRs or Weekly (1:1) Coaching Conversations, this new “coach approach” provides a number of benefits:
◆ Pushes accountability / ownership onto ICs and gets them to own it
◆ Creates a collaborative environment where everyone is on ONE team
◆ Allows you to assess your team’s level of competency and how they’re thinking about the business
◆ Provides fertile ground for new/innovative ideas to flourish which can then be shared as best practices