Why Salespeople Leave

Picture a company-

From the outside looking in, this company seemingly has it all: exceptional culture, brand recognition, and competitive offerings on the market. But their employee retention might as well be a revolving door. They keep losing their top producers, and no one can seem to figure out why.  Identifying, hiring, and keeping the top producers is a high priority item for organizations everywhere, so why do their salespeople continue to quit?

1 – Poor on-boarding

Like with people, companies don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. The on-boarding process reflects heavily on the company culture as a whole by showing new hires just how much the organization is willing to invest in employees' personal growth. Especially for millennials, a generation that craves structured learning, the on-boarding process sets the tone. Without a solid foundation of sales training, product knowledge, or service capabilities, your sales reps will quickly become overwhelmed, jaded, and disconnected from the organization.

2 – Poor leadership

Structure is important, yes, but structure with reason is even more important. Structure with reason means having goals clearly defined, having processes that effectively support those goals, and defining the “why’s” of each goal. Poor leadership takes form in a number of ways aside from the traditional “pain in the neck” manager. Most often, companies learn of tactics that have proven successful for other organizations, and believe that these tactics automatically apply to their own organization. As a result, we find employees complaining about excessive meetings that are not constructive, KPI’s that don’t align with company values and goals, and employees feeling micro-managed by the new rules imposed upon them.

3 – Changing of compensation plan

The compensation plan for a salesperson is sacred. It’s no secret that salespeople are money-motivated, so when companies alter the commission structure unfavorably, they might as well be clipping their own wings. Changing the compensation plan for sales reps can spark feelings of resentment and distrust. The more time the salesperson has to spend working out the intricacies of their compensation structure, the less time they spend on selling. Without a consistent and simple compensation structure, salespeople will become demotivated and restless within their role.

4 – Office politics

The sales profession as a whole can be aggravating, but when office politics becomes a part of the equation, it exacerbates any other issues present. No companies are perfect, but the favoritism of some reps means the alienation of others. And under-appreciated salespeople will leave the moment something better comes along.

Talent retention requires an understanding of those factors which motivate employees. Money, appreciation, and reasonable expectations go a long way in retaining top sales talent. Train them, provide logical processes, reward them, and cut the BS- and the revolving door will be no more.


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Kate Jacoutot

Spire Workforce Solutions, 5575 Peachtree Dunwoody Road Northeast, Building C, Suite 240, Sandy Springs, GA, 30342, United States