Who is Responsible for Hitting Sales Targets – The Manager or The Sales Team?

When sales targets aren’t being hit, who do you think should take responsibility for the lack of business?

Is it the fault of the sales team or the people who manage them?

And when you think about the phrase “The Buck Stops Here”, whereabouts on the scale, would you place yourself between these two camps;

Would you be the manager who accepts the blame for everything? Take it on the chin, go down with the ship, offer to fall on your sword? – or

Are you the manager who sits around the boardroom table with your fellow hierarchy, all shaking your heads, dismayed at how the sales team just don’t get it?

Discussing how you did everything you possibly could for them – but the team just weren’t up to the job?

I explained in an earlier article the four pieces of the sales management jigsaw that come together to create what I like to call the FAME Effect;

  • Focus
  • Accountability
  • Motivation
  • Education

And it’s the second one – ACCOUNTABILITY – that makes us ask – WHO – as in “Whose job is it?”

Yes, of course the sales teams are responsible for hitting their own targets, for slowly bringing their individual slices of achievement back to the company table, one by one, until you’ve put together a perfect and complete Success Pie.

But they’re only ever responsible for their own slice – the sales manager will always be the one responsible for the whole thing.

That may seem obvious so far – but let’s change the scenario for a minute;

What if you managed a team who peeled potatoes?

Let’s say that your target is to have 500 crates of potatoes peeled every day – and you manage a team of people who peel them for you.

What would happen, if one day, the company decided to get rid of the people and replaced them with potato peeling machines – what would your job be then?

Answer – exactly the same, it wouldn’t have changed – your job, would still be to ensure that 500 crates of potatoes were peeled – because that’s what you manage.

Same thing applies with a sales team.

As a sales manager it is not your job to hit the sales target – it’s your job to ensure the target gets hit!

Subtle difference in words – massive difference in results.

So, if it’s ACCOUNTABILITY that makes us ask – WHO – as in “Whose job is it?” – then my definition of Accountability (as far as FAME Sales Management goes) is this;

As the Manager you are responsible for;

  • The way that you’re perceived – internally and externally.
  • Making sure your team understand exactly what it is the business needs them to achieve.
  • Helping them to achieve it (that doesn’t mean doing it for them).
  • Explaining to the team, in no uncertain terms, that this small part of international industry now falls under their watch.
  • Hiring the good ones, guiding back those who have lost their way, nurturing and developing those with promise and of course, advising a few that it would be best for all concerned if they furthered their careers elsewhere.
  • Keeping your part of the business in business
  • Taking complete control of, and understanding, where this road will eventually take you.
  • Understanding the 3 types of sales people and recognising who’s who on your team.

While every member of your Team is responsible for;

  • Making your job as easy as possible
  • Turning up every day with the right attitude
  • Achieving their goals and targets
  • The perception of you, your team and the company they work for externally
  • The perception of you and your entire team internally
  • Asking for help when they need it
  • Keeping their part of the business “in business”


As a sales manager it is not your job to hit the sales target – it’s your job to ensure the target gets hit!

Subtle difference in words – massive difference in results.


Interested in finding out more?


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Our Sales Management Open Workshops show you how to piece together the four main elements of successfully managing a team – Focus; Accountability; Motivation; Education – and show you how to get the best out of everyone involved.

At the end of this workshop delegates will be able to:

  • Work out how to focus on the real tasks that need to be achieved – and find a way to ensure every member of their team is doing that too.
  • Create a culture where every member of the team understands that they are accountable and responsible for their own success – and recognise exactly what that makes them accountable for.
  • Genuinely motivate people to over deliver -and even more importantly – learn how to make sure you don’t demotivate them.
  • Coach the entire team to greater things – learn how to give them a net of their own rather than continuously feeding them individual fish.
  • Feel competent and confident enough to conduct staff discipline in a professional (and legal) manner.


(click on preferred city name for full details)