Bad hires and high turnover can cost a company up to three times a salesperson's total compensation, so eliminating the guesswork is critical. There are several reasons why good salespeople quit. Most are preventable. These are my "Top 5" reasons why good salespeople go elsewhere.
1. Lack of corporate compatibility and fit
Most sales managers can do a better job selecting, hiring and training salespeople. Too much emphasis is placed on the technical aspects of the job and not the "soft people skills" Aligning culture, compatibility and mission is critical in battling turnover or what I call "retentionship." You might consider bench-marking top salespeople and using personality assessments to measure "soft skills."
2. Lack of appreciation by management
It's ironic that although most salespeople have strong egos, they like to frequently hear that they are appreciated by their sales manager and the company. Salespeople don't quit their companies, they generally quit their boss!
3. Lack of support from inside staff
Rules, red tape and rigid structure between customer service, credit and shipping can be a catalyst for driving away good salespeople, even though the company preaches teamwork and cooperation. Customer satisfaction and "getting the job done" is today's mantra. Obviously, there must be real synergy and communication between the inside and outside departments.
4. Advancement and personal growth opportunities
Salespeople are interested in training, development and career advancement. Helping salespeople "sharpen the saw" in this competitive market by providing frequent training opportunities is a real differentiator. Capable salespeople recognize that if they do a good job and learn their craft, advancement opportunities will follow.
You may be surprised to see that I've ranked "show me the money" last. Don't get me wrong, money has to be in the ballpark of what someone can get elsewhere, but it's rarely the compelling reason why a salesperson changes jobs. If the four previous values are out of balance, you'll hear salespeople say, "You can't pay me enough to stay at XYZ company."
Daniel Abramson, president of Staffdynamics (www.staffdynamics.biz), has focused on workplace performance issues for more than 25 years by helping companies fuse talent, strategy and execution. He can be reached at 631-862-5622 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.