The end of the calendar year and the end of the corporate fiscal year are dicey times for b-to-b sales rep retention. While high-performing reps are busy closing deals, reaching for commission accelerators or laying the foundation for next year’s success, others will go home during the holidays and think about how much money they made (or didn’t make), how much they’re going to make in the next year, and whether it’s time to make a move. If they think a change can benefit them, December is when they’re mostly likely to start seriously looking.
Benchmark data by SiriusDecisions indicates that the top reasons high-performing sales reps leave are insufficient compensation (89 percent of reps), incompetency or lack of connection with leadership (60 to 80 percent), and concerns about the company’s ability to meet market needs (73 to 78 percent). Let’s take a look at what sales managers and their enablement sidekicks can do to help combat the retention issue.
Regarding compensation, sales reps look at a plan’s compensation structure and they assess if their quota and territory assignments are fair and within the company’s ability to consistently deliver. These are absolutely critical elements to retaining reps. If they are in place and a rep isn’t performing or making his or her number, then turnover is not a bad thing – and perhaps you even want to nudge out these reps proactively. In this case, sales enablement should be working with sales leadership and HR to initiate a continuous recruiting process.
As for the reps you want to keep – these represent your top performers, along with any moderate performers with high potential. You want to ensure they feel confident in their ability to make money, that they are valued by sales leadership and that the company has plans to meet the needs of the market in the coming year. Here are some proven ideas to support this effort:
High-performing reps are the fuel of any sales engine. SiriusDecisions’ research indicates that 45 percent of b-to-b sales organizations report annual rep turnover rates higher than 30 percent, which can seriously hurt productivity. Sales enablement can take a leading role in operationalizing rep retention efforts to reduce this impact.
For more on this topic and related content, Join us at the 2017 SiriusDecisions Summit. I’ll be presenting on “Sales Enablement Functional Design: One Size Never Fits All.” Learn more about the event here.
Nancy Maluso is a Research Director of Sales Enablement Strategies at SiriusDecisions. Nancy is a seasoned practitioner with more than 20 years of experience in sales leadership, sales enablement and product management, along with marketing roles at organizations of all sizes. Follow Nancy on Twitter @nmaluso1.