Building strong, stable and reliable sales teams is critical to sales performance, certainly in the long term. Sales rep turnover affects sales production, team morale, customer loyalty and ultimately, the bottom line, so it is incumbent on executive leadership to reduce or avoid unwanted turnover in the sales force. Here are 5 ways to reduce turnover in your sales department.
1. Hire the Right Reps
Reps who perform well typically won’t want to change jobs for fear of jeopardizing their income, so hiring reps that are uniquely suited to be successful is a critical part of avoiding turnover. This means not only committing to hiring the best reps (see The Traits of Top Sales Performers) versus the best available (see Do you hire the best sales people, or the best sales people available?) but also becoming a magnet for top sales talent (13 Mistakes That Prevent Employers From Attracting Sales Talent), knowing the profile of the rep that will excel in your organization and developing expertise at sales recruiting and hiring. For more on hiring sales people that will be top performers, see more articles on recruiting top sales people.
2. Compensate Well
According to sales people we speak with, one of the biggest factors influencing a sales rep’s decision to leave an employer is the feeling that they should be receiving higher compensation for their work or talents. In many cases a rep receives less than what they are worth because of flaws in the sales compensation plan or execution (see Three Reasons Sales Compensation Plans Fail). To ensure that your sales compensation plan and approach is not triggering unwanted turnover, reps need to feel that they are paid at least fairly, if not more, so it is critical to make sure the comp plans are simple to comprehend and result in at or above market pay for the sales person.
3. Set up to Succeed
While money may be a big factor in career choices of sales people, according to the Sales Benchmark Index (The Truth Behind Why Your Best Sales Reps Leave), “their number one complaint is lack of coaching from their boss. Reps don’t feel they get the care and feeding from their direct supervisor.” Sales reps are not self managing. In order to be successful, they need proper leadership, coaching, support and infrastructure. If a rep feels these things do not exist, and that they are not set up to be successful, they are likely to start looking at other career options.
4. Start Right From the Start
Surprisingly often, a sales rep will join a new employer with the wrong impression about what the role entails or with insufficient support and development to become productive quickly. To avoid losing great reps that are hard to find leading employers have comprehensive and structured on-boarding programs for new sales people to make sure they are successful.
5. Have Fun
Achieving superior sales is not easy. In fact it requires a lot of hard work and as the old saying goes, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” which translates to being boring and then in turned, bored. People who are not enthusiastic about their work are inclined to underperform and will look to make career changes, so it is critical for sales leadership to find ways to bring a fun factor to sales work. To avoid turnover, it can’t be all grind all the time, there must be downtime and outlets for letting off steam. A smiling rep is a rep who sells more. It is also a rep who is less likely to change employers.
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To your success!
Photo Credit: StephenMitchell via Compfight cc
Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.
He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.
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