7 years ago
February 21, 2017

Why You’re Having Trouble Retaining Top Sales Talent

Wondering why your top performers are leaving your employ? Here are some of the reasons why you might be having trouble retaining top sales talent.

Rhys Metler

It’s every sales manager’s dream to have a top sales team. But it’s easier said than done. The fact is out of the 22 million sales professionals in North America, a whopping 40% will miss quota and only 10% will provide an ROI. So when you actually find top sales talent in the sea of mediocre performers, you need to do everything you can to retain them.

If you’re having trouble retaining top sales talent, it might be because of one or several of the reasons detailed below.

You Didn’t Hire for Cultural Fit

When a top performer comes into your office for an interview, with all of the right experience, expertise, and skills, you might be over the moon excited and want to hire him right away. His resume proves that he’s got all of the right qualifications to be a stellar sales rep, so you hire him and find out you were right. He’s one of your biggest earners. Unfortunately, all of his experience and selling skills might have blinded you. You might have forgotten to consider cultural fit.

Even if someone is a great sales rep, it doesn’t mean that he’s right for your company. He might be able to sell your products or services, but he might realize that he doesn’t want to. That he’s not passionate about what you sell. That he doesn’t mesh well with your company’s values and beliefs, your selling style, or your existing sales team. No matter how great a candidate is, you have to consider whether or not he’ll fit into your organization before hiring him. If not, you won’t be able to retain him, no matter what you try to say or do.

Your Sales Compensation Plan Sucks

Though sales people now care about more than just money, your sales compensation plan still matters. The type of sales compensation plan you’ve designed might not properly compensate top earners for their hard work. For example, if you have a cap on commission or low commission rate compared to base salary, top earners won’t be getting paid adequately for all of the sales they bring in.

And if you’re just not dishing out enough cash, you certainly can’t expect top sales talent to stick around for long. They know what they’re worth and they expect to be compensated properly for their skills and experience.

Your Management Style Doesn’t Work

Many sales people will quit on you if your leadership style sucks. Sales people want their sales managers to motivate them, encourage them, and value their hard work. They want to be cared for. They want to be rewarded. They do not want to be micromanaged, belittled, yelled at, or put down.

If your top sales talent aren’t happy with your management style, they’ll leave. They’ll go find a new employer who values their hard work, dedication, and track record.

You’re Not Offering Them Opportunities for Growth

Invest in your sales talent if you want to increase retention. Top sales people are motivated, hungry to learn, and determined to succeed, and as such, they always want to be developing their skills. These are some of the characteristics that make them great. They strive to excel. They’re motivated by new challenges and responsibilities. If you’re not offering your top sales talent opportunities for personal development and career growth, you’re going to have trouble retaining them.

Invest in personal development classes, a mentor, a coach, seminars, or conferences for top sales talent. Give them new roles and responsibilities as growth opportunities. If possible, promote these top earners, even if it means losing them as sellers, because otherwise, you’ll lose them altogether.

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.