5 months ago
March 6, 2024

Why Do Your Top Salespeople Quit? Money + 3 Other Common Reasons

Salespeople quit. Just like any other position in other industries, people will leave their jobs. While it’s not ideal for sales managers to see their best people exit the organization,…

Rhys Metler

Salespeople quit. Just like any other position in other industries, people will leave their jobs. While it’s not ideal for sales managers to see their best people exit the organization, it happens. It’s something you’ll need to manage to keep your sales team strong and productive. 

As a lifelong salesperson and a 20 year Sales Recruiter, I’ve learned there are many reasons why salespeople choose to quit their jobs. Some have to do with them and others with the organization. But, most often, people quit because of something their employer is not doing. While our sales recruiters could list off a long list of reasons top sales talent quits, we’ve narrowed it down to the 4 most common reasons. We discuss them below:

1. Money (Compensation and Benefits)

Everything thing in life is a sale and everything you want is a commission

We all know that money was going to be on the list. Hustling for the commission is what drives great salespeople and, for some sales reps, money is the biggest reason they quit. Everyone wants to be paid well and we all want a good benefits package. 

According to the Sales Happiness Index, “43% of salespeople who want to leave their current job cited a lack of benefits and 31% cited a lack of bonuses. Additionally, 6 in 10 salespeople would be motivated to leave their company for better benefits, while 51% would be motivated to leave for higher pay.”

They add, “Salespeople who feel under-compensated know full well that they’re in demand, and many aren’t willing to wait around for things to change.”

It’s not just about the base salary either. Reps are either not making enough or they feel they are limited by commission structures, incentives or quotas. 

  • Compensation: Sales professionals expect to be paid fair market value for their services. If you don’t pay well, they will go somewhere else that does. 
  • Commission structure: Commission structures and percentages need to be in alignment with what is offered by other organizations. They also need to be fair to the reps. For example, offering lower commission rates on bigger deals. 
  • Quota/incentives: Companies that make quotas and incentives difficult to achieve will lose reps. All reps are attracted to higher potential compensation, but when it’s almost impossible to achieve, they’ll leave. 31% of sales professionals said that a lack of bonuses contributed to their choice to quit. 
  • Benefits: Lack of benefits is another top reason sales reps want to leave that is tied to overall compensation. According to the Sales Happyness Index, 43% of sales professionals said that lack of sufficient benefits was a top factor in deciding to leave. 

2. A Lack of Appreciation

People want to be recognized for their efforts and they will quit if they feel underappreciated. According to a recent report, 79% of people will quit their jobs because they feel they are not appreciated by leadership. This is a significant number. 

Sales is a tough job. Reps have to deal with a lot of pushback and objections from customers. They have to put in a of effort to hit their sales targets each quarter. When sales managers fail to recognize this, it can be demoralizing. When people feel underappreciated, they will disengage, their performance can suffer, and they will go to work somewhere else where they will be recognized. 

3. The Job Wasn’t What They Thought – Too Much Non-Sales Activity

Salespeople like to do what they do best – sell. When they start a job, it’s important to be clear with your sales team about what their role entails. Too often, companies offer vague explanations of job duties, only for salespeople to find out they spend less time selling than they anticipated. 

Studies show they spend less than one-third of their time on sales. They spend 65% on other non-money-making duties. This can include things like meetings, CRM data entry, reporting, and other administrative tasks. If you are a sales organization that has your top sales talent spending most of their time on non-sales activities, you’ll risk losing them. Salespeople want to focus on selling. 

4. The Sales Manager

Salespeople don’t quit jobs or companies, they quit because of their sales manager or boss. This is true of sales professionals from all levels of experience, even top performers. They commonly quit because there is a disconnect with their sales manager. This can be for many reasons:

  • Management style: How a sales manager runs the team matters. If you are too hands-off, people can feel unsupported. Reps can also be turned off if you are too aggressive. How you treat your reps will factor into their decision to stay or leave. It’s important to find the right balance. 
  • Micromanagement: Reps don’t like to be micromanaged. They don’t want their boss to always be checking in on them when it’s unnecessary. Give reps the autonomy they need to do their job. 
  • Sales strategy and processes: Reps may leave because they don’t agree with the sales strategy or have issues with the sales process. 
  • Client assignments: Reps may be unhappy with their client assignments. They may be unhappy with the decision-making process or feel the sales manager is playing favourites. 
  • Personality: Sometimes it just comes down to a personality clash. Some reps may not get along with managers because they are too different. 

What Are Some Other Reasons Why Salespeople Quit Their Jobs?

There are many reasons why a salesperson could choose to quit. As a sales manager, some of these you have control over, and others you do not. Here are some additional reasons you could see salespeople walk out the door:

  • Lack of challenge
  • Other companies offer better opportunities
  • The sales process is too complex
  • The company culture
  • Organizational instability
  • Poor coaching and mentorship
  • Lack of clearly defined roles
  • Minimal career development and growth opportunities
  • Lack of necessary tools, resources or technology to do their job. 

A Final Word On Why Salespeople Quit

Salespeople will quit. Nobody stays forever. But there is a big difference between losing a rep here and there and having difficulty keeping top talent in-house. If you have issues retaining your top talent, it could be a result of one of the top four reasons salespeople quit. Give careful consideration to these factors to identify ways for you to improve your retention rates. 

Want to improve your ability to recruit & retain top salespeople? Check out these popular blog posts from our veteran sales recruiters:

6 Tips for Managing a Remote Sales Team

4 Ways Sales Managers Can Coach Salespeople Into Sales Champions

6 Ways To Spot Red Flags In Sales Candidates

5 Sales Workforce Trends You Can Expect to See in 2024

What Sales Jobs Will Be Most in Demand in 2024?


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.