This post gives you some factors that may predict the loss of reps.  Included is a tool that helps pinpoint your root cause of turnover.

By now you know some of the sales people that won’t be with you next year. But, which of your A-Players are planning to leave after they get their bonus? This post gives you some factors that may predict the loss of reps. Included is a tool that helps pinpoint your root cause of turnover.


$25 Million a year!

Is this a problem to resolve? Think about boosting your company’s bottom line by $10M a year. Here’s a sales rep turnover tool to calculate the impact for your company:

See this aid for determining your mishire cost.


So, what’s the problem?


According to Gallup research, the top five predictors of turnover (in general) are:


  1. The immediate manager
  2. Poor fit to the job
  3. Coworkers not committed to quality
  4. Pay and benefits
  5. Connection to the organization or to senior management


These also relate to Sales Rep turnover. Below, I describe three areas commonly causing high turnover.


Poor Hiring

Sales success is 50% talent and 50% performance conditions. Hiring someone with the wrong talent will quickly remove 50% of the equation. Poor hiring could be caused by a bad process or a bad profile (or both). If this cause is suspected, it is often resolved by outsourcing recruiting. That may not be the best option. Dig into these questions to be sure:


Process issues:


  • Do recruiter incentives include speed to fill or low vacancy metrics?
  • Do you have a commitment to respond to all candidates within a certain time period?
  • Are more than three people required to screen candidates?
  • Does your hiring process include job try outs or probationary periods?


Profile issues:


  • Does the profile for this Rep position include expected accountabilities AND required competencies?
  • Has the profile been reviewed by Sales personnel (both Rep and Management) before use?
  • Does the profile specifically weed out unqualified candidates?
  • Is the profile attractive to ‘A’ player reps?


Poor Onboarding

When a candidate is hired, they need to be onboarded to full productivity. The usual goal is to get a Sales Rep to full productivity with a trial by fire approach. This will not develop employee loyalty. Instead, the new hire may be thinking this new company is not as good as they thought. A solid onboarding program can be used during hiring as a way to attract great talent. However, these promises can backfire if the first couple months do not live up to those promises. The onboarding program can be a primary cause of rep turnover.


  • Are candidates made aware of an onboarding program during the recruiting phase?
  • Is Rep ramp time to productivity more than 6 months?
  • Do new hires have a structured schedule for their first 3 months of employment?
  • Are Sales Managers held accountable for the use of the onboarding program?


Insufficient Marketing-Provided Leads

Sales Reps depend on a continual flow of quality leads to work as opportunities. They find leads themselves through prospecting. The Marketing department is also supposed to provide leads. Unfortunately, many marketing organizations confuse demand generation with providing leads. They lack a lead nurturing program. The leads they do provide are not quality. Over time, Sales Reps ignore leads from Marketing because quantity and quality is low.  Sales Reps leave when no support for leads comes from Marketing. This is usually coupled with increased quotas year after year. Some questions to determine if this is a root cause:


  • Do the Sales Reps complain of too much time spent prospecting for leads?
  • Does Marketing have a defined Lead Management process including lead nurturing?
  • Is Marketing goaled on delivering leads to Sales?
  • Is the Sales Opportunity close rate very low (less than 20%)?


Call to Action

Click here for a tool that lists 10 potential root causes of high Sales Rep turnover. In reality, it is usually a combination of causes that contribute.  But, you need to start somewhere. Get the tool and start looking for the symptoms by asking the questions. Find the cause that is the most likely and start resolving that one first. Then work on the other causes in priority order – the tool helps prioritize them. And then imagine the kudos being thrown your way for saving millions of dollars!


Sales Revenue Growth