How to Coach Salespeople on Accountability

Hilmon Sorey

Being accountable is important in sales as it drives salespeople to reach their goals and increases their productivity. Coaching salespeople on accountability can be challenging as it involves finding a balance between holding them responsible for their actions and providing support and direction.

Salespeople who are accountable for their actions are more likely to meet their targets and achieve their goals. They take ownership of their responsibilities, and they are more motivated to succeed.

Accountability helps salespeople understand the consequences of their actions, both positive and negative, and it helps them learn from their mistakes. In this article, I will outline how to coach salespeople on accountability and facilitate their success.

Setting Clear Expectations

The first step in coaching salespeople on accountability is to set clear expectations. It's essential to define what is expected and how their performance will be measured. This can include setting targets, outlining specific metrics, and defining deadlines. When salespeople have a clear understanding of what is expected of them, they are more likely to take ownership of their responsibilities.

Conversely, when managers set abstract or end-result goals, salespeople can feel detached, confused, and unmotivated.

Provide Regular Feedback

The second step in coaching salespeople on accountability is to provide regular feedback. This means setting up weekly check-ins in the form of one-on-one meetings to continually review and recognize progress and address any challenges.

In addition to providing feedback, sales managers should also ask their salespeople for suggestions on how they can improve systems, processes, messaging, and other elements core to their roles. The more these conversations are treated like a bi-directional feedback loop, the more beneficial they become.

Encourage Self-Reflection

Encouraging self-reflection is another effective coaching technique. Sales managers should encourage their team members to reflect on their performance and self-identify areas where they need to improve. We can be our own harshest critic, and we often recognize our own challenges before others do.

Hold Salespeople Accountable

While it's essential to provide support and guidance, it's equally important to hold salespeople accountable for their actions. Sales managers should clearly articulate the consequences for failing to meet targets or not following through on activities. Just ensure that the consequences are appropriate and proportional to the situation. For instance, if salespeople are struggling to close deals, it's best to focus on the process and parts that they can control rather than punish them for the output.

Sales managers should also take into consideration their team members' individual strengths and weaknesses when coaching them on accountability. By taking a personalized approach, salespeople will feel more supported and motivated to reach their goals.

Celebrate Successes

Finally, celebrating successes is an important part of coaching salespeople on accountability. Recognizing when a salesperson has achieved a target or milestone can be a powerful motivator. Sales managers should take the time to acknowledge and celebrate these successes to create a culture that expects and cultivates success.

Hilmon's Coaching Secret

You can only hold salespeople accountable to the activity that they can control.  This means that sales managers have to clearly understand what activity, in what quantity, at what quality has the highest likelihood of driving a specific outcome.  Then you coach accordingly.  Coaching to outcomes is an exercise in futility and will only lead to rep and sales manager frustration.


Coaching salespeople on accountability is a critical task for sales managers. By setting clear expectations, providing regular feedback, encouraging self-reflection, holding salespeople accountable, and celebrating successes, sales managers can help their team members become more accountable and successful. With the right coaching techniques, salespeople can achieve their goals and contribute to the success of the organization.


What are the consequences of not holding salespeople accountable?

The consequences of not holding salespeople accountable can be severe. It can lead to missed targets, decreased productivity, and a lack of motivation. Salespeople may feel that their actions have no consequences, which can lead to a lack of ownership and responsibility for their performance. This can ultimately lead to a negative impact on the bottom line of the organization.

How often should sales managers provide feedback to their team members?

Sales managers should provide feedback regularly to their team members. This can include daily or weekly check-ins, as well as more formal performance reviews. The frequency of feedback may depend on the individual salesperson's needs and the organization's goals.

What are some effective ways to celebrate successes in sales?

There are many effective ways to celebrate successes in sales. This can include acknowledging the achievement in team meetings, sending out an email or newsletter to the entire organization, or even providing incentives such as bonuses or gifts. It's important to recognize and celebrate the achievements of salespeople to maintain their motivation and momentum.

How can sales managers help salespeople become more self-reflective?

Sales managers can encourage self-reflection by providing opportunities for salespeople to analyze their performance and identify areas for improvement. This can include setting aside time for reflection during regular check-ins, providing training on self-reflection techniques, and encouraging open and honest communication between salespeople and their managers.

What role does accountability play in the success of sales teams?

Accountability plays a significant role in the success of sales teams. When salespeople are held accountable for their actions, they are more motivated to achieve their goals, and they become more productive. They take ownership of their responsibilities, and they are more likely to be committed to achieving their targets. Accountability also helps salespeople understand the consequences of their actions, both positive and negative, and it helps them learn from their mistakes.

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What others are saying

Hillmon and Cory did a great job on this one! By writing the book as fiction, instead of your typical sales textbook, the duo has been able to deliver great content in a fun format.Whether you're leading a team, trying to make the jump to manager, or a rep just looking for a new resource, 5 secrets has something for everyone.I would give it a 6/5 - 5/5 for the content and a bonus point for the original format! Keep 'em coming!
Scotty McComas
Absolutely fantastic. There’s plenty of writing about better ways to sell - but great front line management is the single best way to improve sales org results. This book is a fantastic primer on how sales managers can better coach their teams to success.
Peter Kazanjy
This book reminded me of Ken Blanchard's "One Minute Manager" in its use of story to convey powerful concepts... simply. This book is as entertaining as it is relevant and impactful. I've given it to every manager on my team as the framework we use for performance improvement across the sales team. Well done.
Mo Saifullah
This is another great addition to a list of books by Hilmon & Cory. This is a great book for anyone that is a leader and aspiring to become a leader. I recently read this book and I've already applied a lot of the advice to my team. there a alot of great books out on the market about coaching/leadership. I would recommend this book to everyone.
Yanosky Merzius
Most practical book I've ever read on sales coaching. Able to read and implement immediately. Highly recommend it!
Edward S.
So I have admit that I was a bit skeptical about the format being a fiction book for business. I can say after reading, it’s clear why they did it! The framework is presented in an easy way to understand and even easier to apply format. Definitely is a great book for anyone managing salespeople. Highly recommended!

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