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4 Reasons Your Sales Talent Is Leaving and What You Can Do About It

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Thu Sep 08 2022

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If you aren’t rethinking your sales talent strategy in 2022, you could be putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage. Finding great sales talent in today’s tight labor market can be a time-consuming, expensive venture—to add to the challenge, top talent is constantly being targeted and recruited. In the last two years, more people have changed jobs than at almost any other time in modern history—with the pandemic-driven remote workforce accelerating this trend. Consider these statistics:

  • Forty percent of workers globally say they might leave their jobs in the near future (McKinsey).

  • Turnover rates for sales roles are nearly three times higher than any other line of business (HubSpot).

  • The average cost to replace a single sales rep is 1.5–2-times the rep’s salary, and it takes 6.2 months on average to fill an open sales role, costing organizations hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue potential (Hire Velocity).

The good news is that there are steps you can take to proactively address these challenges. Attract the next rock star seller and retain your most valuable talent by exploring these problems and their solutions:

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Lack of career advancementBetween April 2021 and April 2022, the number 1 reason (41 percent) people quit their jobs was due to a lack of career development and advancement.

How to address it: Discuss career aspirations with your direct reports early and often—for new hires and tenured employees. This is not a one-and-done conversation and should involve both sales leadership and HR. Take the time to understand their career goals, and set up regular one-on-one meetings to discuss their paths and progress towards those goals. It will motivate new hires early on to strive for greater achievement and re-engage your tenured sellers knowing they have an upward trajectory.

CompensationAnother top-rated reason employees stated they quit a job in the last year was due to inadequate compensation. With hundreds of thousands of sales jobs currently unfilled, there is significant competition for top talent. Employers are willing to pay more to attract the right talent.

How to address it: Evaluate and benchmark your compensation structure to ensure you are remaining competitive in attracting new talent—especially if you haven’t done this in the last two years. Consider the level of tenure, expertise, and geography of the seller as these factors will influence the competitiveness of the offer you’re making. If you are unable to increase base pay to compete with other companies, consider other nonfinancial incentives as part of the overall benefits package like flexible hours, tuition reimbursement, or additional PTO.

**Uncaring and uninspiring leaders (workplace culture)**In a recent McKinsey survey, 35 percent of respondents listed uncaring leaders as one of the top reasons they left an organization.

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How to address it: A great corporate culture combined with a competitive compensation strategy is a recipe for any healthy sales organization to thrive. However, one without the other is doomed to fail. Focus on building a culture of trust, accountability, and recognition. When you help sales reps realize their full potential and reward behaviors that drive success, you will make it harder for them to leave.

Make wellness and work-life balance a priority, and don’t shy away from those conversations. Today’s employees want to know their leader cares about them; so instead of focusing only on deal reviews and pipelines during one-on-one meetings, take a few minutes to talk about their well-being and take appropriate actions if burnout or other life challenges are hindering their success.

Absence of meaningful workNearly 70 percent of people say they define their purpose through work with seven out of 10 employees reflecting on their purpose because of the COVID-19 pandemic (McKinsey). As younger generations of talent enter the labor force, doing meaningful work ranks high among their ideals, and if they don’t feel a sense of meaning in the work they’re doing, they won’t stay long.

How to address it: Build a supportive and reliable community within your sales organization that emphasizes meaning and purpose. Focus on your mission, vision, and values, and help connect the dots to your sellers’ definition of purpose and personal career aspirations. Create a culture that fosters diversity in talent, experience, background, and ideas and that engages all levels within the organization. Focus on the business challenges your solutions solve. Document and share how you’ve helped individuals or businesses achieve a specific outcome. If a seller never sees the result of their sales efforts, it’s difficult to see the greater purpose of what they are doing.

Looking for ways to improve sales outcomes?Turn knowledge into action through high-impact sales performance frameworks.

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