Sales rep retention remains a top priority for many sales organizations. Considering the sheer amount of resources it takes to onboard new talent, in terms of both cost and time, coupled with lost productivity, it makes perfect sense why. A high turnover can also have a negative impact on team morale and may hurt your chances of attracting top talent in the long run. In short, the need to reduce turnover is a no-brainer.
When you notice an increase in your organization’s turnover rate, you’ll need to identify the primary reasons that are responsible for the departures. It signals a need to critically look at what might be the root cause.
1) An Insufficient Onboarding Process
The first 3-6 months of a new employee are critical. Many organizations provide some training, only to leave them to fend for themselves afterwards. This is no recipe for success. It’s imperative that the onboarding process is well thought through and includes a variety of interventions, check-points and resources. One of the main reasons for sales rep turnover stems from frustration that builds up due to a lack of training as part of a holistic onboarding strategy.
An effective onboarding phase should include a plan that clearly establishes what the expectations are for the new hire. In terms of sequence, the training should begin with operational and technical training then move into skill development once the new-hire has a functional understanding of the job.
2) Insufficient Sales Leadership, Coaching and Professional Development
An effective sales manager will focus on professional development for the sales reps to maximize their performance and revenue. The true success of a sales professional often hinges on the competence, mentoring and coaching abilities of the sales manager.
Top managers are frequently defined by characteristics such as:
- They set clear goals and objectives for their reps
- They help their sales professionals develop the skills they need to succeed
- They coach their employees, learn to understand their key motivators, and help them achieve desired results by implementing ongoing development plans.
But make no mistake: A common cause of sales rep turnover can also be the result of poor leadership from their manager. Once a working relationship is broken, it’ll often lead to an increase in terminations or resignations.
3) Pay, Commission Structure, Benefits, and Recognition
Many sales reps leave their employers because they find that the commission structure is pitted against them, or that it is not well aligned to the job role. An effective compensation structure is clear and will make any sales staff feel like they are sharing in the success of the organization.
But don’t count out a lack of recognition as a reason why some sales reps will feel underappreciated. Salespeople care about being recognized for their achievements -- perhaps more than other departments within an organization -- and it’s not just in the form of monetary compensation.
Recognition and appreciation from peers, superiors, and company leaders can go a long way to acknowledge the time and effort a sales rep has dedicated to the organization.
4) A Lack of Confidence in Leadership and Employer
When the leadership of an organization fails to inspire confidence in the company, its products, and corporate future, it leads to salespeople becoming more receptive to look for work elsewhere. Mismanagement, combined with an uncertain corporate vision and goals can be a toxic combination and lead to rumors and declining team morale.
In order to make changes within your sales organization and curb sales rep turnover, it’s imperative to first understand the root cause. Understand what you can do to combat this trend and help turn the situation around. Though it might seem challenging at first, it’s a move that will yield a great return on investment, both in terms of people and resources.