Transparency, what is it good for? Business!

One of the biggest news stories of 2013 was undoubtedly the discovery of a large-scale government surveillance operation by the National Security Agency. The controversy around government monitoring the online behavior and telephone records of ordinary citizens was jarring to many people who balked at their freedoms being undermined. Yet, despite the tactless Big Brother-inspired government efforts, their motivations behind doing so contain a valuable sales management lesson:

That transparency is good, and good for business.

The advent and democratization of sales analytics has played a significant role in increasing transparency at more and more companies. Here are five reasons why transparency is ultimately very good for business.

We’re hiding nothing because we have nothing to hide.

- A Transparent Company

Think about the confidence that making that type of statement inspires in employees and customers alike. These types of transparent companies are more than happy to open their books and reveal their sales metrics because they will firmly stand behind the data. Your customers and prospects will be more trusting of you what you’re selling and advocating while your employees will have more faith in which direction the company is heading – especially if the data suggests an upward trend!

Sharpens your employees’ focus

A recent study by Qualtrics suggested many employees struggle with focus, getting off-track on both their day-to-day tasks and big picture items. They attempted to combat this and remove employee anxiety about their own mistakes and the successes of others by revealing all sales performance metrics to all members of the company.

Now, every employee will know – down to all minute details – how they are doing in comparison with their peers. By revealing the key performance indicators and singling them out to reps, the company was sharpening the focus on what each employee needed to do, and how they are doing in that area.

Emphasizes your culture of integrity

Integrity issues are serious problems for companies to deal with. Disingenuous or dishonest employees can be hard to suss out, but they can really poison the well for the rest of the team if they are left free to their own devices. Establishing a culture of total transparency can help stomp out this type of behavior and have a natural policing effect. Employees who might otherwise try to get away with a little bit of dishonesty – lying about work done or stealing company or co-worker property – will be dissuaded from doing so.

Improves relations between senior-level executives and rest of company

There can often be a disconnect between senior level executives – CEOs, VPs, etc – and the rest of the company. This is especially true for sales reps and other entry-level positions, who often feel so removed from executives that they don’t have a relationship at all. Transparency can change all that by evening out the playing field. Now, all levels of employees are held accountable and liable to each other by each other.

Can be a great motivational tool

Finally, the transparency of something like a sales leaderboard can be a tremendous subtle boon in motivation. No sales rep wants to see the fawning over of a star performer, announced at the quarterly sales dinner. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t driven or motivated to become that star performer – there just has to be a better path toward motivating and inspiring them.

The transparency that comes with a sales leaderboard can provide just that needed motivation. With it publicly displayed and regularly updated, all the reps will have a running tally of who is leading the race for most bookings this month. It doesn’t need to be shoved in their face or even referred to regularly; if you have hired the right self-motivated reps, seeing that they are not in pole position – and where they stand in comparison – should be enough inspiration to get them to kick their performances into high gear.

Opening up your company’s books and revealing sales performance metrics should not only be reserved for board meetings or in presenting to shareholders. Transparency should be promoted and emphasized at every level – to managers, to customers and most of all, to all your employees.

Gareth Goh
Gareth Goh
Gareth Goh is the Content Marketing Manager at InsightSquared, where he writes frequently on the blog about Sales and Marketing Management and Analytics. He has a BS in Journalism from Boston University. Follow Gareth on Twitter at @gareth_giggs -
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