All sales leaders want to build a powerful sales organization that generates new business and builds customer loyalty, however, they are often stalled by constant churn. While some companies can dedicate all of their energy to selling, others spend too much time on the “hire and replace” treadmill. Too much churn is similar to entering a competitive golf tournament without a putter! You can play, but you're not going to win.
The costs are extraordinary:
• More than $1 million per replaced sales professional. When you look at the difference in contribution between a good producer and a poor hire, you can often see a staggering number.
• Frustrated customers are placed at risk. A weak contributor or an unfilled position leaves your customer disadvantaged and creates an opening for your competitors.
• Productivity is reduced. Your management team is counting on you to produce. The churn slows you down and causes you to struggle in fulfilling those commitments.
• The team gets stressed. When you have too many vacant positions, you know what happens: you reallocate quotas and coverage in midyear. That frustrates everyone.
Although some sales leaders fall into the trap of assuming that high turnover is just part of the game, others know how to take charge and reduce it. This frees up significant resources that can be reapplied to the development of new business, customer retention, and the execution of sales plans.
Case in point: Reducing turnover led to millions in saved costs at one Canadian company.
A Canadian company had a sales organization with almost 200 people. Their compensation, collateral support, and customer retention rates were all quite good. Yet, they were still facing extraordinary turnover rates. Management was aware these high turnover rates were keeping their organization inwardly focused, causing significant missed opportunities and risking customer retention. They set out to understand and fix the root issues that were causing the significant financial waste. In a nutshell, after identifying and addressing the issues, their actions resulted in a 33% decrease in turnover and millions of dollars in contributions.
What can you do to reduce unwanted turnover?
1) Don’t draw high volumes of the wrong candidates. If you're not pulling in the best applicants, it's hard to reduce hiring mistakes. Understand that sales hiring methods have changed dramatically in the last decade. Good people want to work for good companies, and to attract them you need a ‘pull’ marketing strategy.
2) Don’t become a victim. Applicants are far more interview-savvy. Many have used interview coaches and/or memorized answers to some of the most challenging sales interview questions. Test this yourself. Google the expression ‘sell me this pen’. This once challenging interview question now yields millions of links that provide answers and video responses.
3) Achievement can be predicted, “however”! A star performer from one company can fail in yours because high performance is not easily transferred. Success depends on the star’s inner makeup, plus your strategy and management style.
4) Know who not to hire. To hire great people and reduce the mistakes, develop the common flags and indicators needed to identify weaknesses that could show up downstream. For example, a lack of: integrity, responsibility, commitments, energy, curiosity, maze brightness, etc.
5) Enhance sales assessments. Pair your interview screens with a good sales assessment tool and powerful validation practices.
The good news is you can implement these changes quickly and begin to see the results within weeks.
About the authors:
Kristina Vohma and Tom Armour are the founders of High Return Selection™ and the developers of Guided Instinct Interviewing™ for Sales.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any companies, products or services mentioned within this article.
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Learn more about psychometric assessments and how they can help reduce turnover.
View more sales articles from CPSA’s Knowledge Centre.