Employee turnover is extremely costly for any department – but even more so in sales, where quotas and revenue goals rule, and the cost of replacing an employee are high.
According to expert estimates, replacing a sales rep costs approximately 150-200% of their annual salary – and associated opportunity costs or business lost due to client loyalty can boost that number even higher.
According to a recent Gallup poll, the top five reasons for employee turnover include personality conflicts with a direct supervisor, inadequate pay and/or benefits, a lack of engagement with their assigned role, an overall failure to connect with the company vision, and a lack of commitment to quality amongst team-members.
Sales reps deal with these issues, in addition to the pressures of frequent travel, mandatory quotas, and constant emphasis on performance and bottom line – so it’s no wonder that sales teams are more prone to high turnover rates than other departments.
With a cost so high, how can your business address high turnover before it cripples your sales department? These strategies are designed to improve your sales rep retention, and help you create a strong and engaged team.
- Hire strategically. The most effective way to avoid high turnover rates is to hire the right people from the get-go. Pre-screen your new hires thoroughly, employing the use of situational exams or personality profiles to help you weed through the field of applicants (and find the flowers!). Invite only the most qualified candidates for an interview. It may take longer to fill your openings, but it will save you a ton of time and energy, in the long run.
- Improve your onboarding process. Build a strong foundation for success, by ramping up your sales rep onboarding. Make sure your new hire’s desk and equipment are set up prior to their start date, so they can avoid the new-hire slump, and hit the ground running. Also, get specific about their role and duties, setting reasonable expectations for performance, designed around their individual experience and qualifications. Consider partnering new reps with a mentor, who can help them get up to speed – and offer solid, ongoing sales training for at least the first six months. This will help create a sense of stability, and ensure that your sales reps are familiar with the resources available to them.
- Educate your sales reps. Share data and information regarding previous goals, accomplishments – and even failures. Familiarizing your sales team with past trends, strategies, and approaches will help them gain insight into what works (and what doesn’t) – and save you all time and frustration, in the long run. Informing your team will also help them understand the wider processes and performance of your department – providing them with insight into buyer behavior, organizational goals, and other relevant knowledge.
- Check in with your reps frequently. Want to know if your sales team is a happy one? Ask them! Hold one-on-one time periodically, and check in with staff to see how they feel about their current roles, assignments, and compensation. Acknowledge their hard work and accomplishments, and make sure they know that they are valued, and that their opinions matter. This will help you beat turnover before it rears it’s ugly head.
- Pay attention to compensation and benefits. If you aren’t providing compensation commensurate with performance, take note – your sales reps sure will! It’s important to reward high-performers appropriately, as they make up the bread and butter of your sales. Use performance data to create a scalable compensation program, with smart, measurable sales goals – and reward those who meet them, accordingly.
- Hold an “exit interview”. When a sales rep gives notice, holding an exit interview can help you gain honest insight about the workings of your organization. Ask your departing reps to share their reasons for leaving, as well as any feedback they have regarding issues they’ve experienced, or ways in which you might improve. You might be surprised at the results – but listen carefully, take notes, and act on any pertinent info as quickly as possible. If possible have someone else in your organization conduct an exit interview so you can compare notes. You might find some differences around the reasons.
By adjusting your management strategies, you’ll not only save time and budget, you’ll reduce your exposure to high turnover, and find your sales department staffed by a team of satisfied, engaged, and motivated sales reps.
Commit to these measures, and you’ll find you encourage an environment of longevity, beneficial to everyone in your organization. The positive impact could be incredible – so why wait?
To learn more about how SalesFitRX can help you improve your organizational strategy, increase employee performance through increasing selling time, and set the smart goals which encourage employee commitment – contact me today: Karl.Gustafson@salesfitrx.com | 602-427-2399
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2015 Guide to Sales Optimization: Restoring Sanity to Sales