HR is busy filling open Sales Rep positions. HR should be able to tell if there is turnover trouble coming. But it may not be time to identify and solve the turnover problem yet.  This post helps HR and Sales decide if it’s time to fix the underlying cause.  Get the Turnover Trouble Tool for help with the 13 leading indicators to watch. Three of the thirteen indicators are discussed in this post.

 

HR can help sales avoid turnover issues by watching these indicators

 

All is well

Hanna is good. She is the HR business partner to sales. She does great work in recruiting and hiring of Sales Reps.  She even ensures Sales Managers are getting the new hires onboarded effectively.  The problem is – she’s very busy. It’s been a steady stream of candidates she’s had to deal with. Any virtual benches that the Sales Managers had have long ago been used up. She is experiencing 2 of the leading indicators of a turnover problem. Even though she’s sensing a problem, Sales seems to be content with the situation.

 

3 Leading Indicators of Turnover Trouble

There are some important indicators to watch for. They can tip you off to a coming problem before it gets too bad. The HR partner to sales will probably need help getting indicator data. Most of this will come from Sales Operations. However, HR will have some of the data, too.   

 

1. Increasing number of vacant Sales Rep positions

This one is obvious. More vacancies equals higher turnover. This means some territories are not producing to expected or potential revenues.  This indicator is easily determined since it is normally measured in HR. You want to look for an increase of vacancies over the past year. This isn’t a ‘turnover’ issue if the vacancies are for promotions (good for you!)

 

2. Decrease in or absence of virtual bench quantity and quality

If you use the virtual bench concept, check to see how they are doing.  If shrinking, it may be that candidates on that bench have now been hired. Or, Sales Managers are too busy onboarding new hires to build the bench. This may not be an easily measured indicator. You may have to ask Sales Ops or the Sales Managers for data. Checking quality of the bench almost certainly happens through discussions with sales. If the virtual bench quality has gotten worse, the reputation may be out – a reputation that your company’s sales organization is dying.

 

3. Increase in Sales rep LinkedIn activity not related to prospects or customers

Do you see many reps ‘preparing’ their profiles to be more marketable? It could mean they are on the way out. Look for profile updates and network connections that are not customer or prospect oriented. Connections to competitors may be an easy giveaway.  To check these activities you’ll need to have access to Rep LinkedIn profiles. You do already have your Sales Reps in your network, correct?

 

Paying attention to these indicators can help HR be the hero to sales.  Recruiting and hiring will become more effective as well – HR knows of an impending problem and can react accordingly.

 

There are ten more indicators to watch for in the Turnover Trouble Tool including:

 

  • CRM logging activities
  • Sales Rep vacations
  • Sales Rep performance
  • New Sales roles

 

What to Do Next – 3 Steps

 

1. Check if you’re seeing the leading indicators of turnover.  I’ve explained three of them. The Turnover Trouble Tool contains these 3 and 10 more.  Download the tool to know all indicators.

 

2. Decide if you have to solve this now.  Normally, impending turnover problems should be solved quickly. However, there are some reasons why you might “live with it”:

 

  • Revenue objectives are being met easily
  • Sales cost is not growing
  • Deal quality is acceptable (margins are good)
  • Your products or offerings monopolize the market
  • Sales reps are commission only
  • You have pure commodity products/offerings that sell themselves (consider inside sales!)

 

3. Start the process to identify the root cause(s) of turnover.  See this post for help and another tool.

 

Once you work through these steps, you’re ready to fix the root cause. That can be a tricky initiative. If not done right, you can cause problems in other areas. It’s better to contact us for guidance at that point.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Loftness

Helps sales and marketing leaders make the number through implementation and change management of proven and emerging effectiveness practices.
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Steve leverages his Six Sigma Black Belt and change management expertise to help clients with innovative yet pragmatic solutions. His experience with clients in multiple industries gives him the ability to ensure that any solution designed will actually get adopted.

 

Prior to joining SBI, Steve was a partner at TDG and Sundoya, where he developed business and implemented improvements within engagements. He is also part of the international consulting community having lived and worked in Spain and Russia. And yes, he speaks both languages.

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