Why are your great salespeople leaving you?
Why are your great salespeople leaving you?
There is a saying “when there is good management, bad people leave. When there is bad management, then good people leave.”
There may be an element of truth in that. However when it comes to sales people the reasons they leave can be far more complex. The turnover in sales staff can be a massive cost to a business that is often overlooked. The cost of recruitment, training and ramp up target periods can be an immense cost to the budget but also to revenue and targets for the sales months, quarters and years.
Salespeople by the very nature of their job and personality are more comfortable with seeking out new opportunities and are comfortable, and can handle themselves professionally in an interview situation. They are generally not fearful of change so are often the most likely to leave out of your entire workforce.
So here is a list of the top 10 reasons why your most valuable asset is simply walking out the door.
1: Lack of the right tools to get the job done
Salespeople feel undervalued when the tools they have to work with are of poor quality or simply not up to the job. I’m talking about internal systems and customer facing material. Poor and underinvested in CRM systems, office infrastructure and phone systems although they work, provide sales people with a cumbersome additional workload as their administrative process is not streamlined can be very demoralising.
Another concern is the lack of administrative support. This can lead to salespeople working extra hours to process admin.
Poor demonstration materials also hinder sales and become frustrating. Recently I worked with a sales company where they were demonstrating software that the demo set up would invariably crash in the middle of a demo, obviously reducing potential sales.
2: Lack of promotion opportunities and not enough recognition
Salespeople care about recognition more that any other employee in the firm, and its not just in commission and salary. They want to be appreciated and recognised by their peers, managers and the leaders within the company. Surveys have shown that salespeople are leaving when they don’t get recognition from their managers where 11% more likely to stay if they do. Great salespeople want more than just a high paid job, they want a rewarding career that allows them to have larger accounts, take over larger territories and the opportunity to become a manager. This also ties in with the lack of a structured training program and a clear development path will make them uncertain about heir future.
3: Dysfunctional company culture
According to a recent survey, 75% of people who resigned from a sales position did so because of a poor culture or in more cases poor management. A dysfunctional culture is one where there is constant change, and no clear direction or vision for the business, or if there is a vision it is not shared with sales people. Keeping sales people in the dark will ultimately lead to a negative atmosphere in the sales office. This will lead to people seeking opportunities elsewhere. If there is uncertainty within a company, it is invariably the high achieving more mobile sales people who will leave first.
4: Lack of Independence and autonomy
Sales people by nature are lone workers. They like to have their independents. When sales managers and directors are driven to hit targets this can manifest itself as micro management. This is defined as ‘a high degree of control with constant attention to small and insignificant detail’.
Freedom to make decision is important in the development process. It has been found that employees whose hands were tied were 28% more likely to seek opportunities and think about leaving their current employer.
5: Lack of confidence in offering
Confidence in what they sell is a big concern to sales people. One other huge element is development of the product or service. It must be soul destroying to watch a once leading edge product that you were passionate about become an ‘also ran’ due to lack of critical thinking and investment in development by your employer. This will lead you salespeople into the open arms of your more cutting edge competitors.
6: Changing the compensation plan
Commission and compensation plans vary from company to company however you can rest assured that sales people know the plan back to front and will be all over any changes or amendments with calculators in hand assessing the financial impact.
Failing to involve the affected salespeople and communicate why the changes are happening sends a confusing message to the sales team and can undermine the trust built between sales people and management. Sudden changes in a comp plan are a big red flag to sales people that senior leaders do not appreciate their contribution to the business. Often this can trigger a small exodus of top sales people.
7: Reducing the commission when sales people hit or exceed target.
Sales people should be rewarded for making big sales. If a commission plan allows sales people to earn large amounts of money for exceeding a sales quota, even if it is with one deal then the commission payments should stand.
I have seen cases where a large deal has been landed and senior management feel that the sales people involved haven’t ‘worked hard enough’ for the sale. This is only going generate an immense amount of distrust and erode any loyalty the sales people had for the managers and directors.
8: Better opportunities elsewhere
One of the tasks of a modern HR department is to ensure salaries are benchmarked against competitors. This inevitably drives salaries down, and sales people start thinking about leaving. Sales Directors should be fighting for higher salaries, high commission packages and attracting and keeping the top people in your industry.
9: Lack of confidence in Leadership
Sales people naturally like to work for an inspirational and driven leader. However they are critical of leaders who do not fill this brief. Having a clear goal and communicating it so the sales team work, as one unified department is a hard task, when there are a group of individuals all-trying to be top performance.
Sales people will always struggle to follow a leader who demands results verbally but whose actions do not carry the same message.
10 Hiring and promoting the wrong people and keeping poor performers
Salespeople are happy when friends and colleagues get promoted, but not when it’s unclear why. When a top salesperson sees a peer that hasn’t had superior sales results get promoted, they’re going to question why and lose respect for their managers and organisation as a whole. If there is clear favouritism or a bias towards sales people who ‘get on’ better with senior management that can have a very demotivating effect on the other members of the team
Poor performers who consistently miss their sales targets, aren’t interested in improving their selling abilities, and rely on excuses to mask their underperformance will always have a negative impact on a sales floor. When sales managers avoid dealing with, or firing, poor performing sales reps, sales culture suffers and the morale of the sales force is eroded. Top sales talent is interested in being part of a sales team that is committed to achieving their sales goals – not one where they are burdened with trying to compensate for their underperforming team members, this can cause salespeople to consider leaving.
These are just some of the reasons sales people leave. There are many, many more. However these are the top ten that can be acted on immediately.
If you have an attrition rate that is causing you concern and we would be happy to chat to see if DoRemarkable could assist in reducing it before it becomes a very expensive way of life in your business. Putting an end to your very expensive monthly ‘at risk’ meetings please email or call.