• October 1, 2019
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Nearly a Quarter of Sales Reps Are Looking for New Jobs

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At any given time, nearly a quarter (24 percent) of all inside sales reps are likely to be actively looking for new jobs, according to data from research firm Gartner.

“Leaders responsible for inside sales face a high turnover risk with reps today,” acknowledges Matt Dudek, vice president in Gartner’s sales practice, in a recent report.

The top three reasons for sales reps’ interest in other jobs are dissatisfaction with their compensation packages, manager quality, and the amount of respect they receive from their employers, the research found.

And when they do move on to similar jobs at other organizations, the biggest lures include a 15 increase in compensation, a more comprehensive benefits package, more work-life balance, more engaging work, more development opportunities, a friendlier work environment, and highly skilled managers.

The pay issue certainly is a complex one. While more than 41 percent of inside sales reps were most dissatisfied with compensation at their previous employers, nearly 60 percent did not cite this as a top-five reason for leaving their jobs.

Dudek urges companies to provide pay transparency as a way “to increase employee performance and retention.” This will require sales leaders to assess whether their sales reps understand their pay and the monetary value of their rewards packages, believe in the fairness of pay allocation and decisions, and trust organizational pay practices.

To address the other top issues driving sales rep attrition, Dudek recommends focusing on “practical tactics that improve inside sales managers’ ability to be inclusive.”

“Even if managers know that employees want more respect or a more inclusive environment, they can still unintentionally behave in ways that signal a lack of respect to inside sellers,” he cautions.

Sales organizations, he continues, should work with managers to make “inclusive behaviors feel actionable, not additive to their roles.”

Effective behaviors are specific, simple, and similar to other common and recognizable leadership behaviors, Dudek explains.

“These behaviors can be as straightforward as ‘take the blame and share the credit’ or ‘explore proposed ideas instead of dismissing them.’ Then, in ongoing coaching conversations with inside sales managers, guide them to tailor these behaviors to specific situations to drive their use,” he adds. “Although these may seem like small actions, consistently demonstrated inclusive behavior by managers can drive seller retention, as they know their managers will respect them and their ideas.”

Dudek also urges sales leaders to craft compelling employee value propositions to attract high-quality candidates, but more important, they then need to deliver on those propositions to retain talent in this competitive labor market.

And then they need to focus on interpersonal, non-monetary factors, like a better work-life balance, development opportunities, and a friendlier work environment, all of which can be highlighted in job postings, Dudek suggests.

“While competitive compensation is an obvious lever for attracting and retaining inside sales talent, it is often an expensive and temporary fix that covers more fundamental issues with a role,” he says. “By focusing on the most common reasons that inside sales staff quit beyond compensation, sales leaders can decrease turnover and potentially realize efficiency and effectiveness gains as a result.” 

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