How to Successfully Avoid Losing Your Best Sales Team Members

BY Kathy Crosett
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The struggle to retain talent is real. The great resignation era may be over, but your competitors are looking to poach top talent. While you may believe your reps are loyal, the truth is that they’ll take an offer from another business for a shockingly small bump in pay. There are other reasons your best sales team members will leave you. Read on to learn how you can retain them.

Avoid Losing Your Best Sales Team Members

Before you develop strategies to retain your best sales team members, you should understand what’s bothering them. Gartner research points to “drag” as an issue. With sellers facing longer sales cycles and fewer meaningful manager responses to their problems, reps are not fully engaged and experience drag. Simply put, they are not bringing their best selves to work. Gartner analysts report, “Reducing seller drag from medium to low levels provides a 20% increase in average quota attainment and an even more drastic 72% reduction in likelihood of active job seeking.”

Part of “drag” is that your reps may not feel motivated. If one of your less experienced reps can never seem to close a deal and hears the same general answer from you – such as “try harder,” they’re not going to feel particularly supported. With “vague, unactionable manager feedback” likely to drive disengagement, you can improve your interactions with sales reps by communicating with them in ways that make a difference. To understand what those methods are for each rep, you should refer to the results of psychometric assessments they’ve taken. Many organizations use these assessments as a hiring tool, but they can also be used to develop and retain your employees.

As the sales process continues to be digitized, some of your reps who crave human interaction may begin to withdraw. They’ll tire of the constant phone calls and emails. Be sure you are watching for this issue and engage these reps in face-​to-​face conversations on a regular basis.

Improve Your Sales Team Structure

Your reps may also struggle to feel they belong in your organization because of your sales team structure. This situation can drive high performers to look for other jobs. One key sales team structural problem is overworked sales managers.

No matter how good your managers are, they are only human. They can only interact meaningfully with a certain number of reps. Colleen Francis suggests that eight to 10 reps on an outside team is a good number for a single manager to track. For inside teams, a manager may be able to handle up to 14 reps. If you assign too many reps to your managers, they won’t have enough time to address everyone’s questions. Reps don’t want to feel like they are taking a back seat to everyone else in the department. If they can’t get their manager’s attention, it won’t take long for them to become discouraged.

Active Sales Team Management During Transformations

If you decide to undertake a sales transformation, you’ll want to avoid losing your best sales team members. Understanding each person’s role in the sales force is critical, says Joseph Dimisa. Before announcing any changes, map out who will be selling new products that are driving the need for the transformation. Give sales team members clear directions about what they’ll be expected to do during the transition and after.

Other transformations may change how sellers are compensated. While not all sellers are primarily motivated by money, they will care about changes that impact their bottom line. These team members have financial commitments to meet, whether it’s a mortgage or rent. And some sales reps are paying child care fees or college tuition. Take the time to outline exactly what reps will earn as base pay and what they could earn in variable pay.

Defining Your Value Proposition

In sales organizations, you train your reps to outline the value proposition in the presentations to prospects. Because your reps understand this philosophy, remind them regularly of what your organization offers, whether it’s a flexible work schedule or skill development to bring them to the next level in their careers. Keep in mind that 42% of reps will change jobs for an 11% increase in pay. Give them a good reason to stay with your organization.

The struggle to retain talent is real. The great resignation era may be over, but your competitors are looking to poach top talent. While you may believe your reps are loyal, the truth is that they’ll take an offer from another business for a shockingly small bump in pay. 

Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.


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