Employees come and go, which is a natural flow of things in any organization. The phenomenon of employees leaving a job (voluntarily or because of a layoff) is termed turnover. Poor performers not meeting sales targets usually leave because they find the job cost-ineffective, elderly people retire, and young people move to other cities or return to school.
Sometimes, however, the level of turnover becomes unnatural. There may be too many people leaving, or top performers might start trickling out, thus hindering organizational performance and hurting the firm. How can you predict an employee’s wish to leave and retain him/her in the team? Why do employees generally leave and how can you create an environment conducive to employee retention? These and other issues connected with anticipating, preventing, and managing your sales team’s turnover are discussed in this article.
Why Is Turnover Bad?
The first and most essential reason for combating turnover is the financial loss it causes. Statistics indicate that most US firms spend up to an average of $15 billion on the training of salespeople. With that said, it makes sense that companies are reluctant to let their staff go after they have invested so much money into their training. Nobody wants their money to be spent on gaining revenue to a competitor, right?
Second, not only will the money spent on training go out the window, managers will have to invest more time and money into recruiting a replacement. Hours, days, and even weeks may be lost on placing an advertisement in specialized media, allocating an HR manager to review resumes of applicants and hold job interviews, as well as invest time and money into training of new employees.
Furthermore, high turnover rates in a company usually suggest deeper problems with staff motivation and morale.
Reasons for High Turnover
The best way of dealing with high turnover is to understand its roots. Once the causes are clear, you will be able to develop workable strategies for turnover reduction and retention of key sales team members. Here are some common aspects to consider:
Employee Satisfaction With Immediate Supervisors
Having a good supervisor is very important for any employee. Supervisors should give career advice, create pleasant working conditions, promote and recognize the employee’s performance when necessary. Now imagine a supervisor that does the opposite of any of the things I just listed. It would make work pretty miserable! Thus, having a good or bad supervisor has a serious effect on employees’ satisfaction with the job, their perceived value for the company, and overall working climate.
Employee Contentment With Job Duties
Employees have had enough of dull, repetitive tasks and duties. Everyone needs emotional and intellectual stimulation to stay motivated in the workplace. With that said, it’s the task of an employer to guarantee that stimulation to keep staff morale high. Once people are bored or see no room for personal and professional development, they are likely to consider leaving the company.
As stated above, most people want a wide variety of tasks. Otherwise, they get bored. Your task as an employer is to diversify tasks, to continuously challenge employees, to show them new horizons of professional growth and development. In such a situation, no professional will want to leave for another place. They will appreciate the opportunity at hand.
Appropriate Rewards and Recognition
Everyone likes to see his or her work appreciated. The focus can’t be all on punishment when an employee makes a mistake. There needs to be a balance between rewards and criticism. While punishment and penalties are common in almost all workplaces, rewards are not that frequent. Every employer and manager wants their team to perform well. Just as sales people want to do well! To get your team hitting record numbers, make sure you recognize their hard work with rewards!
Sense of Ownership
Much is said about the leadership style nowadays, and that’s because it truly works! Companies that give employees a word in all meaningful decisions, who listen to employees’ opinions and let them introduce their own ideas and initiatives are much more commercially successful and have lower turnover rates. That’s understandable – if one feels respected and listened to in his/her company, there is no reason for looking for a job elsewhere.
Make sure you’re keeping an eye open for these issues. Being alert will allow early identification of potential problems in your sales team that are hinting towards increased turnover. Understanding what your employees want and need is the clue to keeping your team content with their jobs.
Anticipating Turnover and Retaining Your Sales Team’s Members
Here are some more ways of anticipating turnover and taking early measures to avert this negative workplace trend:
Reviewing Promotion and Pay Histories
Everyone’s pay should correspond with his/her effort and performance. Hence, we recommend reviewing promotions and bonuses regularly. This way, you’re not neglecting successes. In the modern competitive market, having a star salesperson is pretty lucky! You risk losing your “star” if you fail to remunerate him or her accordingly. Therefore, keep track of all employees’ sales. Make sure you adapt their bonuses to performance regularly. This way, everyone on your team knows that their hard work and effort is noticed and appreciated.
Examining Customer Satisfaction and General Feedback
A motivated and goal-oriented team will, in most cases, attain better customer feedback. In addition, better service from sales reps will enhance customer satisfaction rates. Therefore, as a sales team leader, you should examine feedback trends to monitor all team members’ performance. If you see negative feedback and consistent reduction of sales team’s output, then it is a good reason to reconsider remuneration and fees for the sake of motivating salespeople to regain positive customer reviews.
Utilizing a Quantitative Sales Model
Sales is a field requiring every leader to think strategically and be ahead of the competitors. Otherwise, you won't be able to expect paramount success. For your strategy, it is essential to think of sales team members from the perspective of the future. For example, whether every team member has a growth potential and a long-term value for the company. By clarifying this point, you will avoid unnecessary investments in people who are not likely to grow in your team and in those who are at a high risk of leaving your team soon.
Analyzing Both Employer-Employee and Employee-Employee Relations of Your Team
Better relations in any organization result in up to 90% retention rate of salespersons in general. Statistics indicate that turnover predictions based on work relations are more reliable as opposed to other means of determining the same. In an effective sales environment, involved individuals ought to relate to each other not only professionally, but also in an acceptable “friendly” manner. If it seems as though people are being forced to work together, such a work environment is non-conducive to long-term stay of team members.
As you can see, there are numerous ways of preventing and averting turnover. Use any of these methods to maintain your sales team and not suffer losses associated with high turnover rates.
Kara Erhart is a professional team building coach, ethics teacher and content marketer with 5 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter.