7 years ago
February 21, 2017

5 Reasons Why Your Sales Team Turnover is so High

In this article, we’ll discuss five of the top reasons for high sales team turnover, and what you can do to start retaining talent.

Rhys Metler

High turnover in your sales team can be a devastating problem–and it’s far from an uncommon issue. There are a number of factors involved in a sales position that can result in higher turnover than you might see in other roles, and with the importance of networking and relationship building for healthy long-term sales, most teams can ill-afford high turnover rates. Sales team turnover rates are almost always directly tied to management issues, which mean that while the blame may chafe a bit if you’re the one making those mistakes, solutions are also in your hands. In this article, we’ll discuss five of the top reasons for high sales team turnover, and what you can do to start retaining talent.

Lack of Training.

Your team members won’t last long if they’re not thoroughly trained. A Spartan sink-or-swim approach to team education rarely leads to a strong team of talented individuals as you might hope–rather, it results in increased errors, inefficiency, and heightened stress. Whether the failures those factors cause ultimately result in members of your sales team being fired or quitting, the impact to turnover is the same. 

Throughout, personalized training does wonders for any sales team. One-on-one coaching has been shown the improve worker morale and improve sales outcomes–better morale and better outcomes means lower turnover. So educate your team!

Unreasonable Expectations.

Unrealistic quotas and other expectations can drive high turnover. This is extremely common in sales, unfortunately. The goal with any set of quotas should be challenging but not impossible–too often, quotas are set at some impossibly high ideal without any real expectation that the goals will be met. This is demoralizing even if it’s not used to cull less productive team members on a regular basis. There’s a factor of mental exhaustion and ‘who cares’ mentality that damages bottom lines and leads directly to high sales team turnover triggered by impossible quotas. 

The easy solution here lay in intelligently set expectations. By establishing goals that will require hard work but still within reach, you’ll get more from your employees without sacrificing morale. It’s also important that expectations are accurately and clearly explained to your sales team members–opaque expectations can cause more damage than outright impossible quotas. Keep expectations clear and reasonable and your turnover will drop massively.

Hostile Leadership.

The short term gains of hardcase leadership don’t outweigh the downsides. The looming threat of unemployment doesn’t encourage your best talent to stick around. It may encourage your lesser employees, those who can’t easily find work elsewhere, to cling more tenaciously to their positions, but it will lead your best workers to quickly find a more appreciative employer. 

A positive approach works wonders for worker morale, typically results in greater output, and keeps your best talent from looking elsewhere. Recognizing positive achievements and keeping failures private are two ‘musts’ for a comfortable, pleasant work environment. Accentuating the negative will always result in high turnover.


The best talent wants to be challenged–if you’re not keeping things interesting, your high performers will go elsewhere. This goes back to expectations, as setting the bar too low backfires as readily as setting it too high. Encourage innovation from your sales team; cycle them through different duties, anything to stave off boredom. Even when it doesn’t lead to high turnover, a bored team lacks the enthusiasm required for great sales output.

Poor Compensation.

You can’t always pay your sales team more to keep them around, but that’s not an excuse for poor compensation. Studies suggest that cash compensation doesn’t matter quite as much as benefits and frills, psychologically–in our brains, a cash bonus used to buy a new car isn’t directly associated with the extra work that earned it. Access to a company car, or tickets to an event of personal interest, those are things that stick with a person. Solid insurance and retirement programs also help, if you’re not providing them.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.