You wouldn’t think it, but some of your top sales reps may not be as happy as you think they are. They may be hiding negative feelings of frustration and resentment about the job as they hide behind a mask of a smile. This unhappiness could cause them to leave abruptly.
Today’s salesforce is not as willing to wait around for companies to show that they value their employees. Or for the company to provide opportunities. Instead, sales reps now go out and make their own. As a manager, you never want to see good talent go. Especially talent that is producing higher revenue and making you and your company look good.
So, before you can figure out how to effectively retain your top salespeople you need to know the reasons why they leave.
Source: Sales For Life
They Aren’t Feeling Valued
One of the top reasons sales reps leave is because they aren’t feeling valued in their role. While money is a great motivator (and is the reason many people get into sales) it isn’t the only thing that motivates people. Many studies show that people perform best in an environment where they feel appreciated. This has been found to be especially true for the growing number of millennial sales reps. The millennial generation has been found to put more emphasis on their work lives on feeling like they are a valued part of the big picture of the company. They want to feel like they can truly make a difference within their role. In today’s sales workforce, it can be extremely advantageous to treat your entire team of reps this way.
Think about how you interact with your sales team. Do you focus solely on pointing out areas where your team members need to improve? How do you let them know you appreciate their efforts? How often do you do it? You can continue throwing commission checks at sales reps and it will keep them around for a time, but after a while, if they aren’t feeling valued they will leave. It is important for a company to balance an attractive commission structure with making employees feel valued and a part of the bigger picture. Keep in mind that everyone does make a difference in the trajectory of the company as a whole.
Too Much Non-Sales Activities
Another reason why salespeople leave is that they are having to spend too much time doing non-sales activities or daily administrative tasks. What a sales professional likes to focus on and do best is selling. They want to build relationships and learn what people’s needs are. When they are bogged down with admin tasks it can get very detrimental. They will often get frustrated and even burnout. At its core sales is about going out in the field and connecting with people. When sales reps have to put tons of time into planning their days, activity reporting and manually following up with prospects it can be discouraging. You will also have to start worrying about the accuracy and quality of the tasks as your reps get burned out or start focusing on the tasks less.
Managers must provide reps with the automation tools needed to be as productive as possible. To only have to spend a shorter reasonable amount of time completing daily tasks and more time focusing on what is most important. There are tools like Map My Customers that can help field salespeople spend less time planning and more time selling. One of the first useful tools suggested is finding a good CRM that is mobile-ready. Here is a great resource for finding the right business software.
Source: Life School
By nature, everyone wants to feel motivated at work by at least a little challenge. One of the other reasons a top performing sales rep will leave is because they don’t feel challenged anymore. They’ve reached a plateau in their minds that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. They may find that there is another vertical or company that will offer a more challenging environment.
Humans like to be challenged. We strive for greatness and want to be in an environment that allows us to prove ourselves continually. This will also provide a sense of value based on any positive feedback we receive after meeting our challenges. If sales reps feel like they aren’t learning anything new and are on autopilot, they will become unsatisfied. So, it is important to find new ways to challenge your team members. Have them set goals and encourage them to cultivate new skills. Give them challenging accounts, get them to sell new product lines, and see what they can do in under-performing territories. What is important though is to challenge them and keep challenging them.
Lack Of Growth Opportunities
A logical next step in an employee’s career path when they start to feel like they aren’t being challenged is to look into other opportunities within the company. A new higher level role will always add a spark of motivation to just about anyone in the workforce. But what happens when there’s no upward movement or opportunities available for your top sales reps? As they remain on the same level as the majority of the rest of your salesforce. No one wants to be stuck in a dead end job with nowhere to go but out.
Provide your sales team opportunities to strive for. Not only will this help increase motivation and production, but it will show your employees that you value them and what drives them. Create an environment that fosters growth and upward mobility. Have positions for top sales reps that they can advance to. Don’t limit it to just simply sales reps and sales managers. Offer opportunities for advancement into roles like sales team lead (if you have enough sales reps to split into teams), sales training leaders, sales operational support, sales assistant managers, etc.
Lack Of Confidence In The Company’s Offerings
A lack of confidence in the company’s product offering is another big reason top sales reps will leave. Sales reps of today want to feel that they have a full arsenal of product offerings to pitch that will answer any paint point your target prospects have. It has been proven, in a survey conducted by Anaplan and Sirius Decisions, that there is less chance they will stay with the company long term if they don’t have confidence in what the company has to offer.
Take the time, and make it evident to your employees, to listen to your customers to find out what needs your product may not be meeting. Or any recommended changes you may be getting from customers. Utilize this information to devise roadmaps for new products and offerings. Proactively staying on top of your product feedback, and shaping your company’s offerings around that, will ensure your sales team is confident that they can provide valuable solutions to prospects. They should not have to question how they can make a product fit the needs of an interested customer.
Unrealistic Sales Goals
Not much can kill motivation in sales reps faster than them constantly feeling like they can never meet their goals. This can quickly cause negative feelings of frustration and even resentment. Salespeople are actually more likely to leave because of unrealistic sales goals than their overall earning potential. The minute your sales reps start doubting if they can ever meet the goals, it is likely they’ll start looking elsewhere for opportunities.
Utilize the tools available to you to set sales goals that are a challenge but not impossible. Factor in things like your sales history over the last several months, the sales numbers at this same time the previous year, individual reps or teams sales numbers over the last month, as well as the numbers your top reps are bringing in. Automated sales tools can show you sales data quickly that you can use to create motivating sales goals that your reps are challenged by, but are confident that they can meet.
Wrapping It All Up
As a sales manager, you play a pivotal role in keeping your reps happy and ensuring they stay for years to come. Take the time to find out what factors motivate each person on your team. Try different management styles because one size does NOT fit all. Stay up to date on sales automation tools and your ask peers at other companies what they use. Also, empower each member of your team and make sure they know they are important. Make them feel that they are a valued and vital part of the company because they are! Work with them to find ways to challenge them and give them motivating sales goals. Provide room for growth within the company.
It won’t be the same for every person, so get to know your sales reps and find out what motivates them and what challenges them. By utilizing these methods, you will be on a very good start to retaining the top sales talent in your company.