The Secret to Predicting Sales Rep Turnover


A high-performing sales rep quits. A poor performer is let go.


In both cases, you think, “I wish I’d seen it coming.”


If you could predict turnover, you could better incentivize your company’s best salespeople. Or pave the way for new hires and minimize revenue losses. Rather than simply reacting to events, you could help shape them. And, in turn, help strengthen the sales organization.


In this post, we’ll show you how to gauge turnover risk. Then we’ll explain how to effectively address it. Time to take preventive action—or prepare for the inevitable.


Focus on These 3 “Flight Risk” Factors:

In your “flight risk” calculation for each rep, weigh these in combination.


1. Historical Turnover

Look at your sales team turnover rates in previous years.


2. Current Quota Attainment

Stack rank salespeople based on their individual quota attainment. Do this by quarter to date, year to date, and previous year.


  • Those consistently at or above quota are likelier to be picked off by your competitors.
  • Those consistently below 85% risk being fired—or should be fired. If your compensation package is properly designed, these reps aren’t making money anyway. They may walk off the job on their own accord.
  • Your lowest flight risk is the middle group: reps above 85% but below 100%.


3. Tenure

Make note of how long each rep has been with the company.


  • A-Players who’ve been around longer are relatively stable.
  • Newer A-Players are always on the lookout for new money-making opportunities. They’re a much greater flight risk.
  • Long-tenured underperformers point to poor sales management.


It’s tough to nail down all of the risk factors that cause turnover. We created our Turnover Trouble Checklist to help you get ahead of the problem.  We’ve compiled 13 areas you need to review for signs of turnover trouble.  Go ahead and download this time-saving tool here.


Now you know where the greatest risk lies. Time to take preventive action—or prepare for the inevitable.


Bend Over Backwards to Retain A-Players.

Afraid your top performers will seek greener pastures? Give them every reason to stay.


Look at your A-Players’ compensation and benefits.

How does your compensation package compare with the industry benchmark? If your plan isn’t competitive, turnover risk is high.


Create individual development and succession plans.

Look for ways to develop your best reps and improve their performance and prospects.


Offer additional incentives.

These could include SPIFFS, bonuses, and non-cash compensation.


Make sure your top performers are “plugged in.”

They should take part in strategic decision making for the organization. Make it easy for sales leadership to get their opinions. A-Players need to know their voices are being heard.


Plan Wisely to Replace Poor Performers.



Dan Perry

Intensely focused on helping sales and marketing leaders in B2B companies make their numbers at SBI.
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Dan approaches the idea of making your number from a unique perspective. Like many SBI leaders, he has walked a mile in your shoes. He comes from the industry side and has had to make his number to be successful. Perhaps this is why it’s wise to rely on SBI’s evidence-based methodologies. Though SBI is certainly an execution-based firm, Dan only implements strategies and solutions for his clients after they have been verified with before-and-after data. This leads to adoption of sales programs in the field, rather than shelf-ware.

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