There are few things more disappointing than your superhero salesperson who closes deal after deal deciding to leave the company. However, your organisation is not alone in this phenomenon of high sales employee turnover.
There are many contributing factors to this high turnover rate, but the onus is on sales leaders to address it by:
- Knowing their employee turnover rate
- Understanding the reasons behind this turnover rate
- Taking proactive steps to lower their turnover rate
There is also a range of tactics that businesses can take to reduce turnover and increase employee retention. Here are our seven steps to increasing salespeople retention:
1. Calculate and monitor employee turnover
The first step towards improving your turnover rate needs to be knowing your turnover rate. Regularly calculating it and clearly documenting its progression will help you assess how it’s changing over time and provide insight into whether employee retention efforts are effective.
Choose a frequency with which you want to assess turnover – be it monthly, quarterly, every six months, or annually – and measure it with via a sales metrics calculator.
2. Carry out employee NPS
Employee net promoter score is a tool to help you ask employees how likely they are to recommend working for your organisation to their friends and peers. The employee survey typically includes a follow-up question asking employees why they provided that response.
This tactic is useful to help you understand what you’re doing well, how happy employees are, and how effective your organisation is at retaining its best salespeople. Analysing the responses will enable you to understand what changes you can make to appease dissatisfied or passive employees.
3. Improve your hiring process
Hiring an employee that’s a poor fit for the job is right up there with the most common reasons for employee turnover. If you hire someone that isn’t the right fit for your sales team or isn’t necessarily qualified for the role, then the likelihood is the relationship won’t be long-lasting.
To improve this, ensure your hiring teams are asking better questions in interviews, then ensure your sales onboarding and training processes are optimised to help people fit into your culture and encourage them to thrive in their role.
4. Provide competitive compensation
This may sound obvious, but providing competitive levels of payment is one of the biggest reasons why salespeople leave businesses and, contrastingly, why they stay with business.
The best compensation model for sales teams will vary from business to business – based on the product and service provided, the age and size of the business, and differentiations between salespeople’s’ performance. However, providing poor sales performance packages can directly be linked back to high turnover, so ensure you have a model in place for your business and your salespeople.
5. Offer attractive advancement opportunities
It’s safe to say that most entry-level salespeople don’t want to be stuck at that level for their entire career. Everyone has ambitions to advance through the company or to one day move outside the sales path.
It’s therefore key to provide clarity and paint a picture of how people can advance through the company – both to inspire them and to offer job satisfaction. Be up-front with your employees about the opportunities that exist beyond their current position, what they need to do to advance, and an expected timeline of how long it may take them to get there if they hit their targets.
6. Implement improvement plans for poor performers
A high turnover rate can often be caused by having to let underperforming salespeople go. Additionally, not providing the correct level of support or training for new salespeople can result in them choosing to leave the company.
To address this, take action to reduce both types of terminations by putting performance improvement plans in place to turn things around. Set a clear path for salespeople that are struggling to meet their quota, which includes training and providing them with the resources they need to improve.
7. Be clear in your sales plan
Building on this, sales leaders being perceived to lack competency or struggling to connect with their employees is a major contributor to sales turnover. The fast-paced nature of the sales game means it’s understandable for the organisation’s sales plan to get lost at times, but it is inexcusable for it to lead to high employee turnover.
One good tactic to address this is to document and share your organisation’s sales plan. Offering this transparency around your sales operation, its process and goals to your salespeople will give them the insight they require to get on board with sales leadership’s short and long-term aspirations. Some level of sales turnover is almost inevitable for most organisations, but there are clear steps that every sales operation can implement to minimise it. It’s key to ensure your salespeople are happy in their roles, track their job satisfaction, and understand how you can change things to keep their morale levels high. Ensure you continue to monitor your sales turnover rate and take action to address any common issues that arise.