Sales

What does selling better mean to sales team retention rates?

Sue Barrett /

What do you make of this statistic?

The average tenure of a sales representative across Europe and USA is currently 15 months.

Ouch!

There are other stats that also show the average sales staff turnover can be anything around 25-50% per annum, or more in some cases. Some call centres experience turnover rates of over 70% per annum.

These statistics are alarming because the costs associated with poor engagement and high staff turnover are monumental and can manifest in many ways, including decline in sales, poor customer service, loss of reputation leading to more loss of customers and employees, and impaired recruitment. If they’re not addressed, organisations can find themselves in a death spiral. And in today’s hyper-connected world this can happen at lightning speed in any organisation.

These stats should serve as a wake-up call for all organisations and leaders around the world.

The brutal facts are that it’s time to stop this patchy, inconsistent approach to leading and managing sales teams.

Instead, it’s time:

  • To create and implement a better approach to leading and managing sales teams;
  • To acknowledge that it takes time and consistent effort to have highly functioning sales teams; and
  • To work towards a long term plan of effective strategic execution, while implementing 90-day tactical plans that allow for focused adjustment along the way  

The good news is there is a reasonable alternative.

Implementing a selling better operating system

Smart chief executives and sales leaders understand that leading and managing a sales team and its operation is about managing a complex variable system, which requires constant attention and considered action. We know that sales teams and operations do not follow a predictable straight line.

Throwing our salespeople in the deep end and expecting them to sell better with no clear strategy; no value proposition or articulated sales process; limited training; no ongoing support; no leadership; no coaching; or a ‘customer phobic’ value chain, is madness. These are some of the reasons why sales teams experience such high turnover.

This is why we encourage companies to take a systems thinking approach to selling better. We’ve been studying, researching, codifying, modelling, promoting and educating people on a better, ethical, human-centred approach to selling since 1995 and implementing a systems approach to selling better has many benefits, including creating high performing sales teams who want to stay and sell better.

Here are some of the results from a medical supplies team that developed and implemented a selling better culture:

The business radically improved its sales results, returning profitable sales since then and established deeper business partnerships with a vast array of clients. Managers were trained and evolved to become very competent, effective and respected coaches and leaders and they lead the way. Sales staff turnover was reduced from 30-40% to less than 5%.

So how did this business achieve these great results and changes in their team and culture?

How did they improve their sales team retention rates and dramatically improve sales?

They implemented a selling better operating system that created a selling better culture of great sales and service performance.

Selling better is about creating a selling better operating system that works in a co-ordinated manner within your business goals and systems across four core pillars: sales strategy, sales process, sales people and selling better culture

Creating a selling better culture delivers more and better sustainable sales results. A selling better culture creates focused sales strategies that are delivered in a prepared purposeful sales and customer centric environments. These environments have visible, tangible sales frameworks and meaningful training and coaching that give sales and customer service teams orientation and direction. Teams with clear focus and purpose are more engaged and create more satisfied customers.

By re-educating your business about the central importance of selling and delivering a consistently excellent customer experience (CX) you begin to endorse selling as a team sport where selling and serving customers becomes everybody’s business. And, in turn, you reduce or eliminate issues like high sales team turnover and then win on so many more levels.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

NOW READ: Where are all the high performance sales coaches?

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Sue Barrett

Sue is a selling better strategist and advisor, sales philosopher and speaker, sales trainer and coach, writer and activist. Sue is chief executive of forward thinking sales advisory Barrett and online sales education and resource platform www.salesessentials.com. Barrett develops sales strategies, standards and education that help people and businesses sell better.

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