In nearly every discussion I have with senior sales executives, they mention one of their key challenges is onboarding new salespeople and customer success roles. Constantly having to re-hire and re-train teams is not only costly, but it also makes it harder to hit revenue targets and sales productivity goals.
A recent study from CSO Insights, a global research firm, pegs the annual rate of sales team turnover at 20 percent. And while more than two-thirds of sales executives say it takes six months or longer to ramp salespeople at all levels, most organizations don’t have specific plans in place to retain the sales and service talent they have -- or even address the root causes of why people are leaving.
If you drill down into the reasons for turnover when it comes to salespeople, three factors quickly emerge: a lack of modern tools for them to do their jobs effectively, not enough coaching and substandard sales cultures within organizations. Let’s take a closer look at each factor and some solutions that can turn things around -- even in a competitive job market.
1.Modern sales tools.
Despite the growing investment in cloud-based sales tools, it’s still hard for salespeople to do their jobs effectively. More than 60 percent of sales organizations report that lack of proper tools lengthens the sales cycle. Access to the right content and messaging is a particular challenge -- Forrester Research reports that 90 percent of sales organizations deem it difficult to find and use content. And with sales teams becoming increasingly more mobile, CSO Insights reports that 65 percent of salespeople don’t have full access to content from smartphones. Salespeople need more modern, sales-specific tools -- and if they don’t get it at your company, they may start looking for greener pastures with your competitors that provide these solutions. One option is to invest in a Sales Engagement Platform that integrates content, communications, mobile and analytics together -- a platform approach can be cost effective, and also eliminates the need to manage disconnected point solutions.
Managers are busier than ever with larger teams, higher quotas and heavier administrative workloads. The CSO Insights survey revealed that sales leaders only spend 20 percent of their time helping their team close deals -- and salespeople don’t feel that they get enough support and coaching when they need it. Despite the challenges, a sales team that’s engaged can be incredibly productive. The Sales Management Association found that organizations with fully engaged salespeople have 70 percent higher win rates. To address this coaching gap, sales leaders need to invest in new tools that help measure deal-by-deal progress, as well as have access to real-time analytics so they know where to prioritize their time. Another great approach is to build a “perfect pitch library” where recordings of all the best customer and prospect meetings are readily available -- so sales leaders can be prescriptive by sales stage, and newer salespeople are learning from the best pitches versus figuring it out on their own.
It may sound counterintuitive, but for today’s generation of salespeople it’s not all about money -- they want to feel part of something bigger than themselves. They crave a more transparent organization that is upfront about objectives, and clear about learning and career paths. Sales leaders should address this by taking the time to celebrate successes and milestones along the way -- not just when the team hits the quarterly numbers. Break goals down into smaller units and use sales enablement tools to track key metrics including the number of calls made, emails sent and engagement time with customers among others. And recognize employees when they meet or exceed those objectives. That will go a long way toward building a winning culture.
Related: 10 Ways to Build a Winning Culture
Sales turnover remains a persistent problem for many organizations. It’s costly to replace and continually onboard new salespeople -- and it can be demoralizing to those left behind when good people leave the company. But as a sales leader, there are concrete steps you can take to turn it around if your company is experiencing high turnover.
Make sure you and your team have a modern toolkit and a Sales Engagement Platform that lets you access content, communicate efficiently and analyze activities and progress toward goals. Provide your teams with the support and attention they need to perform at peak levels. And give them a sense of purpose and belonging, celebrating successes, and providing career development opportunities. When you address these three factors, you can eliminate some of the primary causes behind staff churn and keep your best people on board.