According to a 2019 study by Work Institute, replacing an employee's departure can cost up to 33% of their annual salary!
However, the sales profession, as strategic as it may be for the company, is the one where turnover is one of the highest in Europe and in the US.. According to INSEE, the average turnover rate (all sectors of activity combined) is 15%, and it tends to exceed 50% for prospecting jobs.
Salespeople have a reputation for being "mercenaries" in their core business, and for changing companies if they are offered a better salary.
But is this the only reason for their departure? 🤷
There are many reasons for high turnover and many reasons why sales people leave their companies, reasons that are sometimes ignored by companies...
To cope with the situation, Qobra's experts present 5 effective levers to reduce sales force turnover and build loyalty!
1. Training sales managers
A salesperson can be excellent, but that does not make him or her a good manager. However, this is the classic path, a sales person with good results tends to evolve towards a managerial role.
Managerial skills are not only essential for a good commercial performance of the team, but also to ensure that the employees feel good in the company and thus avoid turnover.
Therefore, it is essential to ensure that all managers of sales teams are well trained, not only to endorsing their duties, but also to develop their managerial skills on a regular basis.
According to the recruitment agency Uptoo, a failed recruitment of a salesperson costs between €150,000 and €200,000... In fact, between the loss of business, the cost of a new recruitment and the training time for the new recruit, the bill can quickly climb! Not to mention the hidden costs, such as the drop in motivation of the entire team.
One of the most important tasks of a sales manager is to recruit new employees. And this cannot be improvised!
Indeed, whether it is replacing a former employee or opening a new position, a certain number of skills are needed to be able to recruit. This is why managers need to be familiar with the recruitment process in order to be able to recruit the best sales people.
📌 Example of recruitment training
Uptoo offers a one-month training course to companies (all sectors) to enable them to detect, attract and retain the best sales profiles.
Training on management communication
One of the crucial tasks of a manager is to keep his or her employees motivated, and this requires, above all, good communication within the team. Giving constructive feedback, reframing, managing conflicts, knowing how to translate strategic objectives into concrete actions and communicating them well... These are all topics on which managers must be well armed. Good regular training on these topics is essential to keep teams together and to avoid departures.
📌 Example of training on managerial communication
EFE offer2-day training course to develop effective managerial communication and adopt communication techniques adapted to management.
Training on coaching sales reps
Improving performance, enhancing employee commitment, maintaining motivation and increasing job satisfaction, etc. A good manager is called upon to wear the hat of a coach.
However, this is a difficult skill to master and requires extensive training. While sales managers may have benefited from coaching in their sales role, it takes a new set of knowledge and skills to successfully coach others. Sales managers who acquire coaching skills significantly improve the sales performance of their teams and thus help reduce turnover.
📌 Example of training courses on coaching salespeople
ISM offers2-day training course to learn how to coach your sales team and thus stimulate the performance and motivation of your sales staff.
2. Putting in place the best tools for the sales team
Offering the best tools to your sales staff allows them to gain in productivity and performance, but also provides additional motivation. Indeed, being able to access the right information in a few clicks, not wasting time on time-consuming tasks and focusing on one's core business avoids a good number of frustrations and thus reduces the risk of turnover.
☝️ The essential tools of a sales team include:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to centralise all information on prospects and customers, track activity, manage conversion tunnels and all after-sales services. Among the best tools are Salesforce, HubSpot and Pipedrive.
- Prospecting tools, such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Dropcontact or Lemlist, which save a lot of time in searching for prospects and making automated contacts.
- Tools to facilitate meeting settings, such as Calendly, which help sales reps manage their meetings with their prospects in a fluid manner.
- Conversational intelligence tools, such as Modjo, which make it easy to train new recruits and boost the performance of the entire sales team. Indeed, the tool makes it possible to list the best sales practices in the company or to create a library of the best calls and sales pitches.
3. Set clear and concrete objectives
A good manager knows how to transcribe the company's objectives and translate them into relevant sales objectives. Indeed, sales teams need clear objectives in order to fulfill their mission, to perform, but also to keep them motivated.
Indeed, there is nothing worse for an employee than unclear objectives. This generates a lot of friction with managers, frustrations and misunderstandings which ultimately lead to departures.
To set clear and motivating objectives for your teams, you should use a tried and tested method, the SMART method. In concrete terms, this means setting objectives:
- Simple and specific (S): they must be unambiguous in order to be completed.
- Measurable (M): we improve what we measure. Thus, each objective set must be measurable by a KPI.
- Ambitious (A): the more ambitious the objectives, the more motivating they will be.
- Realistic (R): objectives must be achievable, otherwise they may demotivate employees.
- Temporal (T): each objective should have a specific deadline.
📌 The example at Qobra
To help new recruits visualise the progress of their objectives, it is essential to provide them with access to their performance at any time. This helps them to stay motivated, to better manage themselves, and in particular to act quickly to correct the situation if necessary.
At Qobra, sales reps have access to 6 dashboards (the degree of achievement of their financial objectives (quarterly), new opportunities (monthly), new meetings (weekly), the monetary weight of their pipe (quarterly), the number and financial weight of their current opportunities). Thus, at any time, they can find their performance at individual level, but also at the level of the sales team.
4. Preparing for the arrival of new sales staff
In order to stimulate motivation and support newly recruited sales staff, it is important to give them all the information and tools they need. If new recruits feel welcome from day one, the company will have a much better chance of keeping them there.
☝️ Here are some good integration practices:
- Provide visibility on the onboarding process: detail the steps and their duration.
- List all the meetings that new employees have to run during their induction period (dates, contacts, objectives, etc).
- Detail the tasks to be performed and the objectives to be achieved for each week of the integration.
Secondly, to enable new salespeople to become operational quickly, it is important to prepare onboarding meetings for the product(s) or service(s) they will be selling. Here is an example of how to do this:
- Detail the issues your product or service addresses
- Schedule a demonstration session, i.e. a presentation of how the product(s) or service(s) works?
- Create usage exercises. For example, it is interesting to encourage sales staff to put themselves in the shoes of a customer and use the product(s) or service(s) in order to understand the added value and benefits of the latter.
Secondly, sales people must have access to the best customer calls and meetings, with the entire sales funnel, i.e. :
- Cold calling
- Discovery calls
- The closing meetings
Finally, it is essential to schedule individual exchanges every month between the manager and the salesperson in order to be able to discuss matters. This allows a review of the first few weeks, and thus to identify potential areas for improvement. Indeed, for many salespeople, the first few weeks are stressful and this progress report allows them to know if they are on the right track and if not, to quickly understand why and change things with actionable advice.
Trust is a key element for a sales person and it is important to have processes that allow new employees to perform quickly and therefore to build confidence.
When Simon Laurino (Head of Growth) arrived at Qobra, he took the initiative to give each new sales person access to the CRM on their first day, with a pipe already in place, but also contacts and sequences.
"A Salesman who books his first meetings in his first week gives him incredible motivation and believe me, on Friday evening, when he sees his friends and family, he talks about his new company with a smile and motivation and that is priceless."
Jocelyn Jobert, Sales at Qobra
But how do you put in place a process that allows salespeople to perform from their first days?
☝️ This is the method used by Simon Laurino, Head of Growth at Qobra:
- Prepare 300 accounts for each new salesperson 2 weeks before their arrival.
- Assign them as owners in the CRM
- Choose between 2 and 6 contacts per account depending on the personas
- Check that at least 80% of contacts have valid email addresses and at least 55% have phone numbers.
- Set a target of 45 accounts to be contacted in the first 2 weeks.
- Integrate all account contacts into sequences.
- Each salesperson prepares his or her prospecting on Friday for the following week.
A method that has proved its worth, as the last two sales representatives who arrived at Qobra had the objective of obtaining 15 meetings in 2 weeks, and they obtained 41.
5. Implement an attractive and transparent variable remuneration policy
"Whether you are a CEO or a Sales Director, the sales compensation plan is probably the most powerful tool you have to drive sales strategy."
Mark Roberge (VP Sales - Hubspot).
Sales compensation policy is undoubtedly one of the key elements in retaining the best employees. However, according to a study by Primeum, comment-remunerer.com and MeteoJob, 46% of business leaders and sales managers believe that their compensation package is not likely to retain the best talent.
"There's no mystery about it, a good variable pay plan drastically impacts retention, motivation and performance."
Vladimir Ionesco, Director of Global Sales Performance at Doctolib
This neglect can be fatal when you know that variable pay can become a major source of conflict and tension. Indeed, in many companies, salespeople still do not have visibility over their variable pay plan. They do not know where they stand in real time in the achievement of their objectives nor in the payment of their commissions. This generates friction with managers and HR teams.
Beyond the attractiveness of commissions, their transparency is an important issue for the retention of sales forces. Indeed, many companies are not yet well equipped and still manage the calculation of their commissions with Excel... And this is not without a link to turnover: calculation errors, delays in payment, lack of transparency, etc. And this is not unrelated to turnover: calculation errors, late payments, lack of transparency, etc., all contribute to the demotivation of employees.
"Excel involves: formulas that are sometimes broken, calculations that are sometimes a bit opaque since Sales didn't necessarily understand them and above all, the UX is not as obvious as Qobra."
Clément Bouillaud, Director of Operations at Partoo
Sales people need transparency on something as important as commissions to feel confident and to perform at their best. Through its solution, Qobra enables alignment between the sales, operations, finance and HR teams by allowing :
- Make commission management fluid and transparent
- Give the same level of transparency to salespeople as to managers
- Give sales people visibility into how well they are achieving their goals in real time
- Avoiding calculation errors due to manual input and poor transmission of information
"Qobra really helped to build confidence with the teams because it really saw their results on a daily basis. They had a very clear visibility of the details of the calculations according to the Dashboard, but also where they are for example on their accelerators. And that can push them to motivate themselves, to say OK, if I do one more deal, that's going to potentially unlock the next accelerator for me."
Aude Cadiot, Revenue Operations Lead at Spendesk