Friday, July 20, 2012

How to Stop Your Best Sales Reps from Jumping Ship

"A" list sales reps will give plenty of notice before they jump ship and go with another modular home factory.  The problem is that the Sales Manager simply is not listening.

Things tend to build slowly and then happen all at once.  Sales reps by their nature are always looking to have someone buy something from them.  If the wrong things are happening at work, they will begin looking for someone else to buy their sales skills.  The 80/20 rule is still relevant in new home sales at the factory.  20% of your sales reps account for 80% of your business.  

Here are some pitfalls and suggestions about why top sales rep jump ship.

Quota Increase.  Increasing your "A" reps' quota by more than the rest of the sales staff just because they "will find a way to do it" is one reason they will begin looking elsewhere.  Increasing or decreasing a rep's sales territory without proper due diligence is one of the best ways to have them begin the "looking" process.

Prevention: Instead of just telling your reps what their new quotas are, delay it long enough to meet with your staff both individually and as a whole to review the overall business available and where it will be coming from.  Adjusting quotas will begin to evolve naturally as the discussion gets deeper into it.

Compensation Plans.  Failing to "overpay" your top performers can lead to them pressing their noses to the glass looking for a better view.  Most companies thwart their efforts by restricting the top reps' pay to compensate for the keeping under-performing reps.

Prevention:  The Sales Manager needs to develop a true sales attitude within the sales force.  Top sales reps should be earning 3-5 times the variable pay of the bottom performers.

Failure to Develop.  Most Sales Managers were sales reps before they moved up the food chain.  Unless you are working with your reps in the area of sales training, marketing and neglecting to appreciate their efforts, they will begin looking for the next great factory or builder ot work for.

Prevention:  What would happen if your "A" reps all walk into your office this morning and resign?  What would you do and what would you say to try to keep them?  Now go and do both...ASAP!  You will never hear an "A" sales rep say "I left my last company because my boss appreciated and developed me too much."

Lead Generating.  Asking your sales reps to generate their own leads is the equivalent of using using dial-up Internet and a pager vs. a Smart Phone.

Prevention:  Invest in Lead Development Reps.  This is of significant importance, especially if your sales reps are charged with growing market share within their existing builder base.  The ability to grow a builder base without support of a marketing effort is virtually impossible.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been a avid reader for a couple of years and this article guarantees that I will keep reading.
I left my old company for two of these reasons. I was held at the same pay and commission as all the other reps even though the sales manager said I accounted for 70% of all sales.
I was told that I had to bring in 5 new builders each quarter along with a order. Prospecting is a time consuming process that robs you from working with your current builders.
I said goodbye as soon as I found another factory. Will this one be any better? I sure hope so.