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Why Sales Operations Should Relish Accountability

To some Sales Operations groups, the notion of signing-up for a sales target is not only terrifying; it also seems a bit foolhardy and somewhat irrational.

In support of their opposition, they’ll exclaim, “But we don’t have much influence over what happens in the field! So how can we be held accountable for something we have so little control over?”

And on its face, that argument is perfectly logical and makes a great deal of sense—you shouldn’t be held accountable for things you have very little input on, or things you have very little influence and control over.

But what if you looked at it from a different perspective? What if you turned it around? What if signing-up for a sales target actually gives you license to influence what’s happening in the field?

You see, accountability and influence will often go hand-in-hand. The fact that you’re on the hook for a sales number gives you permission to question what’s happening in the field, suggest potential improvements, and so on.

When you’re just standing on the sidelines, you can’t expect to have much influence over the action on the playing field. But when you actually have “skin in the game” like all the other players, you have the right to expect a much greater degree of input into, and influence over, how that game is actually being played.

So, the next time you lament what’s happening or not happening in the field…the next time you’re frustrated that others in Sales aren’t listening to your suggestions or taking those suggestion to heart…the next time you shake your head in disgust and wish you were king for just a day…remember this:

Accountability and influence are linked. You shouldn’t be held accountable where you have no influence. But you can’t expect to have influence where you have no accountability.

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