Sales Performance Management Best Practices Blog

The Great Resignation & What Sales Leadership Can Do About It

Posted by Jerry Hegarty on Thu, Nov 4, 2021 @ 16:11 PM

Buckets of ink has been spilled recently regarding the “Great Resignation” and its impact on the US economy. While it’s an interesting outcome of the recent pandemic, do we know yet what is really happening in sales? The data cited below clearly tells us what’s happening in the broader workforce and there are trends that bare watching and some proactive tips that may help nip any issues in the bud. 

For starters, what does recent data tell us the current situation?High Sales Attrition - The Top 3 Reasons Sales Reps Leave - LSA Global

How costly could this be for Sales?

An often-cited survey by DePaul University published in 2016 on Sales Effectiveness that pegs the cost of replacing a sales rep from a productive territory at $115K. This cost includes the following breakdown, some obvious implications but others a bit more subtle.

  • Training costs ~ $36K (time taken to set the candidate through the complete onboarding process including training costs & time to ramp to productivity.
  • Acquisition Costs ~ $29K (this includes recruiter fees, advertisements and the time investment made by sales leadership in the interview process itself).
  • Productivity Costs ~ $50K (productivity hit your company takes each time a territory turns over abruptly. Think in terms of late stage deals in the pipeline that suffer disruption, customer relationships that need get reset back to stage one, time where the territory is being underserved and opportunities lie dormant, or worse, pass to competitors).
    • Average onboarding time to 100% quota attainment is 9-12 months

Add to this some context related to historic sales turnover:

  • Sales turnover in the US averages between 26-35% ! (This can vary depending on industry with high tech B-to-B industries being on the higher end of the range).
  • Best in Class companies typically are below 20% in sales turnover.
  • 15% natural turnover is thought to be ‘healthy turnover’.

Takeaway: When it comes to the cost of abnormally high sales turnover: Be afraid, be very afraid

Recent survey data is unsettling; there is a growing gulf between those on the front line and management.

A Bloomberg headline from Q2 reads “Bosses Are Clueless That Workers Are Miserable and Looking to Leave”

  • Quoted in the article is a Microsoft survey of 30,000 people across 31 countries found that 54% of workers say they are overworked, and 39% say they are exhausted. Further; 41% say they are considering leaving their jobs and may quit this year.
  • Their bosses, meanwhile, seem not to be sharing in their struggles, as a majority of managers and company leaders surveyed reported that they were thriving at work.

For sales departments which have undergone tremendous change the last 18 involving a shift to a sale3s model which involves a more remote sales approach and less time with and in front of prospects, there’s reason for concern.

What can we do? Be aware of the situation, currents may be changing even if you don’t perceive them yet. Here are three tips to consider

  • Stay connected with your revenue producers by investing more time communicating with your team; attention, empathy and recognition goes a long way to neutralizing the anxiety of productive people considering a change. One extra call a day stacks up over the course of a quarter.
  • If you have plans which pay on an annual, semi-annual or even a quarterly basis; consider running mid quarter Spiffs as a means of increasing engagement.
  • Increasing payout frequency is a third idea which costs little (esp with an SPM solution that supports this shift) but builds positive momentum within your team.

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Topics: SPIFF, Sales Performance Reporting, Sales Performance Metrics & KPI's