The Big Picture:
The average turnover among U.S. salespeople is around 30%, according to LinkedIn, Hubspot, Forbes & Harvard Business Review. I'm confident saying the majority of this turnover is coming from “new hires” within their first 12 months of employment.
We know that turnover is expensive. And disruptive. And time consuming. And negatively impacts your customer’s experience. And negatively impacts your culture. And… And… And…
So how do organizations get this wrong so often?
Let’s start with the job description. In many cases, it’s just a list of job responsibilities and required experience. It’s hard to attract, screen and select the right candidate if you don’t have clarity of “what success looks like” for a salesperson within your unique organization.
Not all sales roles are the same. And clearly not all salespeople are the same. So why do you have such a generic job description?
Next, let’s go to the Performance Goals & Expectations. In most cases, it’s just an outcome goal - like revenue or number of wins. Rarely do we see “inputs” (or how to achieve the desired outcome) included on your job description. In many cases, there is no goal.
Over the last decade, I’ve had an opportunity to partner with leaders & hiring managers and this is what I hear:
What I don’t see is 1st year expectations rooted in historical data. Or a ramp schedule that take onboarding and training & development into consideration. Instead it’s a inflated revenue goal divided by 52 weeks.
Once the salesperson starts, the organization hustles to “get them on the phones” as quickly as possible and the clock starts ticking on getting that first win and dollar of revenue.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Turnover typically happens inside of 12 months for a couple reasons.
Both parties have been negatively affected by unrealistic expectations and by focusing on the wrong things.
Between the Lines:
It is leadership’s responsibility to establish a “Success Profile” for their unique sales role(s) including realistic performance goals & expectations for Year 1 and beyond.
Take onboarding into account. Build in time to shadow, role-play and support calls / meetings, before leading and owning a prospect. Take your historical sales activity and successful conversation ratios into consideration to establish realistic performance goals & expectations in Year 1.
Instead of managing to “outcomes”, it’s critical to establish a thoughtful 52 Week (Year 1) Ramp Schedule focusing on “inputs”, so you can ensure your salesperson is doing the job the right way and hitting their key milestones (outreach attempts, connections, meetings, proposals, etc.).
By observing their “inputs” (sales activity and conversion ratios), you now have visibility into their “bright spots” and “bottlenecks” which allows for better and more meaningful coaching & development.
Not only will you be able to clearly articulate your performance goals & expectations, but you’ll be able to manage to the expectations because they are rooted in historical data. This will help you create and maintain a culture of accountability.
Carver Peterson helps growth-minded leaders and organizations achieve predictable and sustainable revenue growth through a refined strategy, defined process and aligned structure.