Sales has a notoriously high turnover rate. Anyone who has ever worked on a sales floor knows that you meet plenty of people who will move on to another gig, or just leave sales entirely. Of course, turnover rates vary depending on the job and industry. But some companies are able to avoid many of the mistakes that drive salespeople away.
So what are these mistakes that cause salespeople to quit? Here are the eight most common reasons why salespeople quit:
1. Problems with management
They say that people don’t really leave jobs, they leave managers. While not always true, a poor relationship with a manager (or management team) is enough of a reason for people to leave. Everybody wants to be respected and appreciated, and treating people that way should be non-negotiable.
2. Not enough support
While many salespeople value autonomy, a lack of structure and guidance can be just as bad. Support from management is critical, whether it’s actual help through the sales process, or encouragement and training. Employees want their contributions to be valued and to feel like they’re being given the tools they need to become successful. So, if a salesforce is simply expected to show up and pull a rabbit out of a hat without any ongoing support, you’re not likely to keep them showing up for long.
3. Uncompetitive pay structure
Not all comp plans are created equal. And this doesn’t just mean from industry to industry, although that is certainly true. Some companies are simply not offering their salespeople a commission structure that’s competitive enough to get them to stay. If you can make more money for doing the same amount of work, all things being equal, leaving is a no-brainer. Employers need to make sure they’re paying their salespeople fairly or find a way to make up for it elsewhere.
4. Prefer more certainty
Some people decide that sales simply isn’t for them. Whether it’s the stress of the job or the uncertainty that comes with it, there are always those who prefer a non-commission-based salary. In many cases, the people who leave sales to go into a different position will have to take a pay cut. Still, many are fine with that, and have made the decision for themselves.
5. Product or market forces
Turnover can increase when it becomes clear that a product is no longer competitive in the marketplace. If you’re selling typewriters but the personal computer has just gained massive popularity, there’s little you’ll be able to do to break through, no matter how talented you are or how hard you work. Industries change and companies need to adapt to stay competitive. The same is true for salespeople, but that often involves moving on and selling a more relevant or in-demand product (which is exactly why Spiro created the first proactive relationship management platform)
6. No opportunities for career advancement
There are some salespeople who would love nothing more than to sell until they retire. But this isn’t true for everybody. If there aren’t opportunities for salespeople to move up within an organization, they’ll find a place to work where these opportunities do exist. Not only should salespeople have something to strive for when they come to work everyday, they should also be reminded that there’s something better waiting for them if they put in the work.
Salespeople work very hard and deal with a lot of daily stress and pressure. Unless you’re a freak of nature, dealing with this type of pressure constantly will get to you. If you don’t take time to recharge every now and then, you’ll burn out and either start to fail, or quit. Burnout is very real, so make sure that you as an employee are aware of your health and well-being. Similarly, if you’re an employer, understand that you need to provide your salespeople with the opportunity to take time off so that they can come back as healthier and stronger employees.
8. Company culture
This is may be one of the biggest reasons salespeople quit. It is also one of the hardest to fix. The culture a company fosters for its employees, both salespeople and non-salespeople alike, can make the biggest difference when it comes to retention. This is true even when you consider all other factors, including compensation. If people like going to work every single day, then they’re probably not going to quit. A good culture is often employee-centric, and takes every single other factor in this list into account. But it all starts with making an effort to make employees feel valued, heard, and respected. If you can do that, then you won’t have to worry about your salespeople abandoning ship.