As a sales manager, you start to build a kind of sixth sense for when it’s about to happen: a sales rep requests a meeting alone with you, and all morning leading up to the meeting they have a resigned, almost ashamed look on their face. It is during that meeting that they thank you for all you’ve done, before giving their notice.
Sales rep turnover is part of the business, and it isn’t necessarily all bad – sometimes turnover can be an opportunity for positive change – but it is costly and time-consuming. It is important, therefore, that you have some control over turnover – that you hire for the long-term and remain active in positively changing the sales team. This article will discuss the causes of turnover, as well as how to reduce it and mitigate its effects.
What Causes The Turnover?
The short answer here is: there are a lot of factors. A more in-depth answer might point to a personality clash with the workplace culture, a perceived lack of growth opportunity, below-average performance or a loss of faith in company principles. Another, completely avoidable reason for a sales member leaving is that they were hired to a position for which their experience has little relevance.
Don’t Just Fill A Desk. Hire The “Right Fit”.
It follows, then, that to reduce sales rep turnover, you have to hire not just a great salesperson, but the right salesperson, one who fits in with the workplace culture, is motivated to perform well and whose experience is relevant to the role. Hiring both a great salesperson and a “right fit” is a tough undertaking, but an agency like Sales Talent Agency that uses a comprehensive assessment methodology can get you there.
Foster A Welcoming Workplace Culture
If turnover is an ongoing problem, you as a manager should try to understand your culpability. Is there an issue with the workplace culture that needs fixing? Consider this article from Business 2 Community, which suggests that fixing a broken company culture requires empathy and emotional intelligence on the part of management.
Set Realistic Goals & Offer Constructive Criticism
Isolate a salesperson, or impose on them unrealistic expectations, and they are more likely to flounder. To endear your company to a new hire (or even a seasoned employee) it pays to set realistic goals and offer tips for improvement. Listen to what your reps want from their job, and from their career moving forward, and help that attain that.
Consider Working with a Recruiter
There are many reasons to contact a sales recruiter but first and foremost is the fact they specialize in vetting candidates and fitting them to sales positions where they will actually shine. Most recruiters don’t collect a fee until the new hire has proven themselves, so it’s in the recruiter’s best interest to partner your company with the right candidate.
Appreciation, Recognition, Valuation & Rewards
A final piece of advice to help reduce turnover: use positive reinforcement. When a junior member of the sales team makes a big sale, shout it from the rooftops. When a sales member not only meets but exceeds their quarterly or annual objectives, take notice and reward them. Systems of positive reinforcement like these are a compelling reason for employees to stay where they are.
It is beneficial, on the whole, for companies to actively try and reduce turnover – if just to cut the costs of continual onboarding and recruiting. With the right sales talent recruiter, and a managerial focus on positive workplace culture, constructive criticism and recognition, your sales team can be more like a family. One that works together, grows together and, importantly, stays together.