It happens far too regularly; a seller that you spent months recruiting and ramping up, who has had success at a comparable company, never really makes it. They become frustrated in their daily routine and seek a more comfortable position elsewhere or it could be you. Here are 9 reasons it could be you.
The impact turnover has on quota attainment for a sales manager can be as high as 2X. That is too important of a number to not examine it further. Let’s take a look at three areas that can influence turnover.
Culture Fit: As a sales leader, I define culture fit as someone that I can see working for me and my management style. As an example, if you are a process oriented person then it is good to find alignment in this area. The same can be said for “hands-off” or “hands-on” leadership. It is also important to find the make-up of your team and how this person will impact the group. Do you treat each rep evenly? I don’t and I let my reps know that I feed those who feed me. I start by segmenting out A-players and the developing reps. Is this person’s style a compliment to your A-players or do you see potential conflict. Don’t worry too much about your developing reps because they are not the ones we need to accommodate – they need to acclimate. The new hire needs to be on board with this idea as well. Lastly, what sales tools are given to your sellers and what is expected of their use? Most companies have a CRM but the enforcement of their application varies. If you are a manager that doesn’t require a lot of entry into CRM and your rep believes “if it isn’t in CRM then it didn’t happen” then that could be an area to address.
Sales Fit: Cadence is important – if your team is selling a deal a month and the new guy is used to selling a deal a week then that might be a problem. Does your position call for account management, demand creation, and having the rep perform the demo? If so then you need to make sure your seller has experience in these fields. How defined are the territories? Is commission paid after the sale or when the revenue is collected? It is important that these areas are covered in the interview process. How much team selling is required? If it is substantial then then the “leave me alone and let me sell” types will surely burn out. Finally, I always make it a point to hire people whose career arch fits nicely with my position. Its very tempting to hire an over-qualified candidate but ask yourself why they would take this job in the first place? They most likely are running away from their last position instead of running towards yours.
Industry Fit: Sellers that have sold in your industry come with more credibility right out of the gate. The know the jargon, the buyer’s persona, pains, and competition. However, your company might not be in the position to hire someone with this knowledge or they just might not be a culture or sales fit. To decrease the ramp up time of these sellers and ensure they are productive thereafter – you need to get institutional knowledge in their hands early and often. Who are your customers? Why have they bought from you? Who did your defeat to win their business? What buyers inside of the organization bought from you? Without this constant stream of win data – these sellers that fit your culture and sales style could find the transition just too difficult to navigate.
In conclusion, sellers that have proven success in my industry are ideal as long as this is the right job for them in their career arch and they compliment my management style. Don’t force sales and culture fits on sellers – it will never work. Find people that fit your sales and culture first, then feed them industry and institutional knowledge to ramp them up faster. This could prevent your next seller from walking out the door.