4 Ways to Build Transparency in a Sales Team
Sales teams fall short of quota more often than you might think, with only 66% of B2B sales teams attaining quota, according to Bridge Group research. There are many potential causes, but lack of transparency is often the culprit.
A lack of transparency can manifest in your sales team in ways like using outdated discovery questions, failure to follow the sales process, and poor sales methodology adoption.
This creates poor results, is demotivating for your salespeople, and is frustrating for sales management.
Sales leaders can solve this by building transparency in their sales team. Transparency means open and honest communication between reps and management that creates a greater level of understanding and visibility.
Sales teams that are more transparent experience greater accountability. They have a better team culture, and healthier rep retention rate, and hit their sales targets more easily.
These outcomes are a result of transparent communication that builds trust across the sales team as well as between sales reps and leadership.
Feedback, guidance, and collaboration replace infighting, confusion, and disappointment to boost team performance.
Building transparency is a process that takes time. Here are four ways you can get started.
1. Start with top-down transparency
Team transparency starts with leadership transparency. Although it may seem daunting, it is essential that senior leaders openly share company goals, objectives, and financial performance with the entire company routinely.
This helps teams and employees align with and understand where the company is going.
Establishing company-wide objectives and key results (OKRs) provides context around the sales team and individual team member’s goals. In fact, 70% of surveyed respondents said that OKRs helped improve better transparency and accountability.
This level of top-down transparency helps employees understand what the company is ultimately striving to achieve and gives each individual rep a greater sense of purpose. This, in turn, creates an environment of teamwork and collaboration.
OKRs allow sales managers to:
- Provide reps with clearer direction, boosting productivity
- Gauge progress and provide support where needed
- Identify skill gaps, facilitating coaching opportunities to improve rep effectiveness
With benefits like this, you’re well on your way to building transparency in your organization and have made it easier for greater transparency in your sales team.
2. Make accurate data accessible to everyone
Everyone on your sales team should have access to accurate CRM data. This not only improves transparency but also helps sales reps close more deals and work more efficiently.
If your CRM data is inaccurate, you’re hindering your sales team by making it difficult to identify and prioritize quality leads and opportunities.
This results in poor decision-making, wasted time, and lost revenue due to incomplete information. Plus, it creates a lack of pipeline visibility, making it more challenging to determine where each lead is in the sales funnel.
Unfortunately, CRM data is notoriously inaccurate and incomplete in most organizations. This is costly since 44% of surveyed respondents estimate their company loses over 10% of annual revenue due to poor quality CRM data. And the same study found that 64% of respondents would consider quitting their jobs if CRM data quality didn’t improve. Therefore, incomplete or inaccurate CRM data can reduce revenue results and reduce sales rep retention.
CRM data quality is especially an issue for companies that use CRM solutions like Salesforce, which makes it more cumbersome for reps to update contact records.
Luckily, solutions like Weflow can automate Salesforce data entry so your pipeline data is always current and accurate. Weflow ensures all important information on contacts and deals end up in your CRM by automatically syncing your sales reps’ activities like emails, phone calls, and meetings to Salesforce.
3. Implement a sales leaderboard
A leaderboard is another way to improve transparency and foster accountability by tracking reps’ performance in a rank-based system. This level of visibility motivates reps to push a little harder since nobody wants to be at the bottom of the rankings.
A sales leaderboard also gives you a way to recognize and celebrate team members’ wins. For the greatest effect, be sure to go beyond only recognizing top performers. This could demotivate the rest of the team.
So, you should also recognize and reward desirable behaviors and activity levels. After all, those are the things that your reps can control and will ultimately lead to greater performance. And making recognition attainable by all helps boost engagement by all team members.
To create an effective sales leaderboard, you need to:
- Make it highly visible and easily accessible. If everyone on the team can’t see the leaderboard, it will be less effective.
- Offer compelling rewards and incentives. Whether you opt for prizes, recognition, or monetary rewards, they need to be appealing to your reps to inspire them to participate fully. These don’t necessarily need to be expensive. Some teams find a trophy with bragging rights enticing enough, whereas others need greater rewards. So, consider your team members’ preferences when selecting incentives.
- Make the rules and rewards easy to understand. If your sales reps find rules and rewards confusing, you’re likely to see lower participation because your team won’t be as motivated to pursue an unclear target.
4. Make compensation plans transparent
Another important area that needs to be transparent is compensation plans. Comp plan transparency is essential on so many levels, but especially in terms of your sales reps understanding how they can earn more commissions.
Ideally, sales compensation plans are designed to drive behaviors that help the company reach its goals. If your reps don’t understand their plan, then they won’t be motivated to take these actions, and you are likely to miss company revenue targets.
Plus, reps who don’t understand their compensation plan are often demotivated and more likely to leave your company.
Another important reason to make compensation plans transparent is to ensure equal pay to employees who share the same job title.
This eliminates the risk of team members finding out another rep makes more than them, developing resentment, and potentially leaving the company.
Transparency around compensation also shows junior sales representatives what’s possible in terms of earnings if they stick with your company and progress through the ranks. This helps improve employee retention even further.
Tools like Forma.ai can help you improve compensation transparency. Forma.ai allows you to design custom comp plans, streamline commission tracking and calculation, and automate payments.
Build sales team transparency to boost performance
Sales teams that miss quotas are likely suffering from a lack of transparency. Building transparency on your sales team creates accountability, team culture, rep retention rate, and team performance.
Creating transparency is a process that takes time, so there’s no time like the present to get started.
Begin with top-down transparency to open up honest communication throughout your organization. Then, make sure that accurate data is accessible to everyone to help sales reps close more deals and increase efficiency.
Leverage a sales leaderboard to boost accountability further by increasing performance visibility. Finally, make your compensation plan completely transparent to inspire reps to push harder to close more deals.