Five Ways to Get Ready for Year End Sales Turnover

The end of the year is looming. While you’re busy making strategic plans, setting revenue targets, and carefully carving out territory changes for 2016, some of your key salespeople are getting ready to leave. It’s simply inescapable. Healthy turnover is ideally concentrated towards sales reps that’re underperforming. But unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

What can you do now to prepare for turnover surprises? If you’re caught off guard, you may have large revenue gaps at the beginning of the year. Now’s the time to take inventory, set new goals, and plan for unexpected turnover.

5 Foolproof Ways to Avoid the Sting of Resignations

1.   Make things easier for yourself by remembering the bright side.

The impact of turnover costs are felt immediately. Customers suffer and team morale dips. Not to mention the time and money you’ll need to invest in landing replacement candidates. It’s no secret turnover is pricey.

Yet turnover has an upside. It brings new ideas and ways of looking at problems. It brings opportunities to make structural changes and improve top line growth. This is more likely to happen if you’re able to replace reps who leave with more productive hires.  

If you decide to see turnover through a positive lens, you’ll be more likely to face the challenges of recruiting replacements with the necessary optimism and vigor paramount to attracting strong new recruits.

2.   Mentally prepare for a few surprises from your best people.

Sometimes you’ll be caught off guard when one of your reps leaves. This is never more true than when it’s one of your top reps. When your top person puts in their notice it stings. You’re surprised, shocked, and sometimes unable to believe they’re really leaving. But don’t be caught off guard. Even if you’re losing a top person the change is for the better.

Attrition can be a good way to make room for other people to step-up to the plate and shine. It can also be temporarily devastating, but at the end of the day, everyone is replaceable. After all, that’s the whole premise of scalability. Recognize the company is better off and so is the former employee when one of the parties is less than thrilled about being there.

Do you really want to keep reps who aren’t sold on being part of your team? If they’ve gone through the laborious process of interviewing, accepting a new job, and resigning, it’s time for them to leave.

3.  Get your team’s records in order.

Visibility into the sales funnel is essential and documentation is critical when attrition takes place. Rewarding and incentivizing sales professionals to review, revise, and update the CRM system can save you an enormous amount of time long-term.  Almost every sales team has a few members who struggle to follow CRM best practices.

See what you can do to help them collect and input information into the system by year’s end. This might include putting together an administrative team to help sales reps gather, input, and update key prospect, customer and sales data.  The last thing you want to do when someone resigns is to reach out to them at their new employer requesting information. Get it in the system now.

4.  Preemptively pick a strategy for dealing with resignations and commit to it.

Know how you’re going to react to any and all resignations in advance.  This will help you control your reaction. When a top employee submits their notice, it’s natural to feel frustrated, disappointed, and unsettled. Make a commitment in advance to listen, empathize, and put their needs before your own. Solicit feedback on how you can improve and leave the door open for future contact. 

Becoming visibly angry, acting hurt, or pulling out your best guilt-trip script isn’t a winning strategy. If you resort to convincing them to stay you’ll buy a little time to find their replacement. But they’ll be gone within 8 months.

Concentrate on planning an appropriate farewell and do what you can to keep communication open. Sometimes the best employees are those who come back for round two after departing your organization for several years. Focus on keeping that possibility alive.

5.  Give some thought to your employee referral program.

Almost every company will raise their hand when asked if they have a referral program. What they don’t have though is someone committed to promoting and selling it. Every referral program needs to be backed up with systems, processes, and a dedicated person to promote and evangelize it.

The best employees come from referrals because there is an implied level of trust. And once referral sources understand the types of people you’re looking for, the referral quality will rise.

Is someone promoting your referral program? Are they coming up with ways to engage employees and motivate them to send referrals? Do you recognize and reward referrers?

Back to Basics: Get Prepared in Advance

Year end is a busy time. The last thing sales managers wants to think about is top salespeople leaving. No matter how hard you work to improve retention eventually the inevitable will happen.

Preparing in advance and selecting strategies to combat surprise resignations, will help you get ready when the time comes.

If you want to start developing a relationship with a recruiter before you need one, feel free to schedule a call with me now.  I can be reached at 510.227.6677x 110 or sonja@optimalss.com.

 

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