The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 8 months ago

Building an Accountable Culture


Becoming elite as a sales organization demands a culture of accountability. A great sales planning process combined with a voracious qualification process builds an ecosystem of accountability across large-scale sales organizations. John Kaplan shares what these companies implement to foster a culture of accountability, detailing key steps for leaders and reps to take.

Here are some additional resources:

- Set A Results-Driven Sales Planning Mindset

- Develop a Sales Franchise Mindset

- How to Improve Qualification in Your Sales Organization 

Check out this and other episodes of The Audible-Ready Podcast at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

When I look and I see common language and an operating around planning and qualification, I know I'm talking to a good company. You're listening to the audible ready podcast, the show that helps you and your team's sell more faster. Will feat your sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create a sales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenue growth, presented by the team at force management, a leader in vtb sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello and welcome to the audible ready sales podcast. I'm Rachel Clap Miller, and today we are talking about accountability. John Kaplan joins me. Hi John, Hey Rachel, I love this topic. It's a great topic today. You know, there's not a successful company on the planet that does not have a culture of accountability. So I'm looking forward to big an inn on this one. Yes, I know it's one of your favorite words, if I do say so myself, John. And when we talk about accountability, and in this...

...context we're talking about being responsible for your own actions as a sales person, as a manager, whatever role you're in, talk a little bit about why this is a concept that you need to have, as it as a contributor to your organization and why it's something you need to foster in your own organizations and on your own teams. Yeah, what I've learned about the concept of accountability is when you don't have accountability, you don't have predictability. You don't have predictability you don't have trust in an organization. When you don't have trust, you morale is low, and when morale is low you've got low performance. And so that's a two way street. So a company's responsibility on accountability, a seller's or a somebody who's being led their responsibility on accountability. And at the end of the day, you have to be able to call your...

...shot and make it as both a seller and as a leader. So it's really really important and powerful things happen when those two worlds come together, the accountability the organization and the accountability of the leader. When those two worlds come together, really really powerful things happen. One, whether you're the individual atributor, read the leader, you just have confidence that you're going to get to the end game that you're trying to drive to. Another concept we have around this concept of accountability is this idea we say a lot the franchise mindset. This is something you need to have. Is a ret yeah, this brings me back, oh gosh, decades, decades, when I was a seller in Detroit, Michigan for Zerox Corporation. I remember being really, really focused on trying to maximize my territory. So I knew that the company had responsibility... give me a territory that would produce, you know, what I called my on target earnings. I wasn't really interested on my on target earnings. I was interested in making putting together a plan that would deliver great outcome for me and my family. And there was a systems analyst and by the way, Rachel, I'm going to use this first time I've ever done it. There's systems analyst by the name of Dan Huffnagel. I've been trying to find Danny for a couple of years now, and so if there's any listeners out there that that no guy named Dan Huffnagel, I think he's in the Tampa area now and I might still be working for Zerox as like in products somewhere, but he was an unbelievable systems alamists. I went to him, and this is pre computers, pres not precomputers, but pre laptops and and I went to him and I said, Hey, buddy, I would like you to help me. I went out and bought a Tandy computer. So, Rachel, this might even be, you know, a way before your time.

Meta. I went out about a Tandy computer and I asked him to write me a program and I wanted to look at that. I wanted to look at a program every day and say, here's what's in my territory, here's what it means to me financially and here's what happens. And it helped me prioritize things. So it helped me prioritize where my biggest opportunities for and I still remember the feeling of coming home at the end of the day and and go and logging into my tandy computer and then knocking off some of these big opportunities and having an automatically calculate my compensation. I know that I was way before my time, but later on I came up with this, this thought process of a franchise plan and a franchise plan is you, as the seller, should know more about your assignment than anybody on the planet. You were given that assignment. You have to trust your company that they have given... an assignment that's going to give you, to give you a certain on target earnings. It's up to you to take that assignment to the next level and I really, really take that very, very seriously. Now, I also knew that I couldn't perform just on my own. I had at Xerox ahead high volume. They were called Hvamese. They were the larger equipment. I needed to really make sure that I collaborated with them. I needed to collaborate with the finance people that help me put the contracts together and help me to gotiate contracts with the German organizations. So it was this whole collaboration of me being the quarterback, me calling my shot and making it, you know, looking at things like address ball, market space, so looking at things like white space, looking at things like, you know, who was doing what when inside my assignment and when I became a leader later on in life, I took this franchise, you know, grant and I put this together... PTC later on and we put we took this franchise level, you know, to the next level where we then created these franchise plans or reps, created these franchise plans and we built it into our management operating rhythm and we basically said, okay, call your shot and you got to call your shot, you got to make it, but we're also going to give you the opportunity to talk to us about whose role, who needs to play what role in that shot. And then we took a look at looking at that every quarter, and so that became kind of the franchise plan, you know, mentality, and now today at you know, at force management, we have many, many of our customers that use this, this concept of a franchise plan going forward and then doing quarterly reviews off of it. It is a fantastic way to build accountability from the bottom to the top and from the top... the bottom. Yeah, it's a great way to execute a cultural accountability what we were talking about at the top of this podcast. And, as you said, if you are a leader right now and you're leading a sales organization, you want to get this mindset embedded to your team. It helps important performance. Also helps your make your job a lot easier. And this, because you know, that whole concept dovetails into the importance of calling the ball. You said it earlier which means you need to qualification process that that works, and a great qualification process also fosters this culture of accountability. Yeah, I mean putting those two together, a franchise plan should clearly call out what is going to happen in the territory and who's doing what when. And the most elite sellers they put together great plans and the best leaders review and support these plans. And so, as a leader, you should be providing... area of opportunity to what I call connect the ecosystem. In the sales world that we're in today, nobody is selling on an island. You know. Most of the things that are being sold today are being sold on consumption models or being sold as a service. So there is beginning engagements with a customer, there are ongoing engagements, there are renewal engagements, and so you have to connect the entire ecosystem and everybody should look at planning and qualification the same way. So there should be common language and an operating rhythm around it, and that's how I know when I look and I see common language and an operating around planning and qualification, I know I'm talking to a good company. Yeah, you know, and I'm sure there's some people listening out there right now who are struggling with their numbers this quarter and they're going Ding, Ding, Ding Ding. That's we're struggling because we don't have a common language. We don't have that operating for them. So the other point John,...

I wanted to bring about bring up is when we talk about this kinds of accountability, there's this underlying game of that that you own it right. There's this ownership if you want to be a great salesperson, a great sales leader, there is an ownership of being the best you can be for your team and for yourself. It's this elite mindset that we so often talk about. Those are the type of people that you want on your team, particularly in a sales organization, those people who are accountable. Yeah, such a great point. I think about a little plaque that I had on my my desk when I was leading the sales organization in Central Europe. It said I am accountable, I am accountable, and I I just knew that if you surround yourself with accountable people, accountable people can't stand mediocre people and Mediocre people typically...

...don't like accountable people. And so when you surround you. You create a culture as a leader around accountability. You just, you just, it just creates its own culture and takes on kind of a life of its own in the results are really amazing. So elite sales people, they're accountable, they're always accountable, committed, deals always closed with elite, accountable salespeople. And I think back on my experience at PTC and PTC one entred and forty three straight quarters. I know you guys have heard this if you listen to this podcast before. You've heard me say this. I'm still at I say it so often because I'm so in awe of it. Yeah, they went forty three straight quarters of never missing their number to Wall Street. That's over ten years. I'm not sure that's ever going to be done again. I hope it's going to be done with some of the companies that we work with that force management, but that means it's an entire culture and it took on a... of its own. It's where I talked about Rachel, where those two kind of the the the organization and the leadership, where they intersect on that thought process of accountability can create unbelievable results and I know that there's there's a lot of people out there listening that want to work for companies that have this manned mentality, especially in the high tech world. It's all it's it's easy to kind of get rose color glasses on the product they're selling or or the new APP, they habit of funding they have. But how do I know if I want to be a great salesperson for one of these companies? How do I know that I'm going to work for an organization that has this culture? I like that a lot. So you hear, you've heard US talk about before, this concept of knowledge, skills and character. And so I look for companies, and you should be looking for companies that really are proud...

...of and can speak to the knowledge that they create and they provide to their organizations and then the skills to position that knowledge. And so when you're talking to companies or you're looking at companies and you can understand the knowledge and the knowledge is basically the four essential questions. What problems do you solve your customers, how specifically do you solve them, how do you solve them differently or better than anybody else? And where have you done it before? So I think that's a big part of accountability. And if you're leading an organization or you are the CEO or board member when organization and you haven't provided that knowledge, you are not accountable to that organization and that's a problem. And now you got to give them the skill set to attach that knowledge to a bigger business issue and help them differentiate the decision criteria to make it more favorable for the customer and more favorable for you as a selling organization. You do those two things and a character, a culture of accountability begins to begins to develop.

And so I like to think also when I talk to and I look at organizations, if they're not predictable, they don't have a culture of accountability. If the companies missing their forecast, they don't have a culture of accountability. We can argue that all we want, but I break it down very simply. Over the last several decades it always comes back to a culture of accountability equals predictability. And also there's got to be consequences, both positively and negatively. So you want to work for a company it's got meritocracy, and I know there's a lot of discussion about that, about equality and a lot of things that people have been talking about over the last several years. I don't disagree with any of it, but there should be positive consequences for being accountable. There should be positive consequences. Conversely, they should be negative consequences of missing your number. I'm not talking about hiring and firing and being rude... people and brutal to people, would have me I'm just talking basic facts, meritocracy and negative consequences for missing your number, positive rewards for making your number. So for me, the bottom line here, Rachel, and I you're probably going to ask me for that, isn't necessarily looking down in my note. That's that you give a bottom line here. So for me, the most elite companies all have a culture of accountability and, like I said earlier, accountability leads to high predictability. High predictability leads to high trust, high trust leads to high morale and high morale leads to high performance. If you don't have any of those highs in there, go back and look at accountability and I bet you there's a link to it. That's awesome. I can tell you're passionate about this concept diary. Very well, I hope those of you listening today. Found this motivating. Get after it today, and...

...thank you for listening to the audible already sales podcast. At force management, we're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the growth strategy at the point of sale. Our strength is our experience. The proof is in our results. Let's get started. Visit US at force MANAGEMENTCOM. You've been listening to the audible ready podcast. To not miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time,.

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