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6 Ways to Maintain Sales Continuity with Current Accounts during Periods of High Turnover
There is a large difference between a sales team that behaves like an integrated sales system and just a group of sales people who happen to work for the same company. The former can be easily managed to ensure sales and business continuity, such that disruptions to business operations are avoided, while the latter group of people act in isolation, independent of the current needs of the business. Continuity is especially important in times of high turnover, when a sales person leaving could mean that their long-standing current accounts could be left forgotten and neglected because an effective turnover strategy was not in place.
Every organization experiences times of high turnover, especially within their sales team. Every organization also wants to ensure that such turnover does not translate into lost opportunities, so it’s important to focus on the strategy that will allow for continuity in the way your current accounts are managed whether or not the original sales person is there.
Show your clients that you value their business and can provide them with the professional care they’re looking for, even during turbulent times. Here are some key ways to ensure that your current clients and prospective customers receive ongoing attention without disruption:
1) Standardize sales and contact documentation with a CRM System.
If your organization is leaving sales information to the whims and individual preferences of the salesperson, then it is difficult to have transparency into what is in the sales pipeline, much less to forecast revenue. Choosing a cloud-based CRM system allows for centralized data that can be managed and updated in real-time, in a standardized way by sales team members. This way, even after a salesperson leaves, account data can be easily accessed, interpreted, and assigned.
2) Develop and maintain a tried and tested sales process.
Taking the time to create a framework for the steps in your sales process helps new team members to move quickly into the flow of your system and be able to fill in the gaps created by turnover. Ensure that each step is tracked and measured within your CRM system. Use the addition of new team members as an opportunity to test and refine your sales process documentation and onboarding for times of higher turnover. Ensure the steps are clear and accessible for reference.
3) Emphasize the importance of sales reports.
What gets measured gets done. If your sales team knows that you are monitoring key sales activities, conversion points, and pipeline deals, then the focus will naturally shift for each person to increase those respective metrics. Having periodic review meetings that focus on the metrics and discussing progress will lead to the behaviors and results that reinforce good account management practices. As new team members come in, they will easily be able to use old reports from previous sales people to ensure that the same level of service is provided to the accounts they take on.
4) Build in automatic touch points to enhance client nurturing.
Sales prospects within your pipeline are busy and need follow-up periodically between the stages of your sales process. This can include marketing collateral, technical white papers, newsletters, webinar invitations, and other content pieces which continue to position your offering and develop a strong client relationship. As your sales team makes regular use of the resources that help selling, consider automating the communications with both personalization and predictability. Email templates that are timed to go out to specific leads at specific times based on a determined set of criteria ensure that touch points are maintained with current accounts so they remain engaged even in the absence of the original sales contact.
5) Don’t be pressured into hiring another sales person right away.
If your company does experience high turnover, don’t panic and hire someone that isn’t right for the job, just to fill the gap. It can be costly to make hiring decisions that are less than ideal, causing more turnover later. CPSA’s sales assessments can help you determine which types of people will lead to the most success for your business.
In the interim, consider using temporary hires that can keep key accounts moving along as you take your time to identify the best talent for your team. Consider using a team selling approach by putting the bulk of the account maintenance workload within a more junior queue, including temporary help, and leaving the more advanced parts of the sales process to account managers.
6) Consolidate repetitive account activities.
Many activities within the sales process are repeated for different accounts, and require various levels of effort to be completed. Perhaps a sales presentation requires much more work than simple follow-ups. During high turnover times, consolidating activities to allow for workload balancing amongst the sales team can help keep the sales pipeline flowing more quickly. A key team member could turn individualized presentations into a template or group webinar to serve many people at once. Find ways to provide similar value for time-consuming activities in less time, so that sales people can use that regained time to take on accounts that have lost their main sales contact.
High turnover times can be managed with little stress or impact on your organization with planning, foresight, and effective management. Ultimately, leadership plays a pivotal role in transitioning current accounts during such a vulnerable time both before and during high turnover. Keep the goal of sales continuity in mind as you build and develop your sales processes and sales team, enabling you to have a solid buffer against otherwise disruptive times.
About the Canadian Professional Sales Association
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