Sales leaders must take the rap.
We used to hire account based sales reps, indoctrinate them with product knowledge and a smattering of business culture, and give them a few lead generation tools. Then we gave them a phone, a list, and, a desk, and expected them to figure out how to book meetings. They ended up cold calling. Frustrated, many of them left, and we started the process again.
Clients tell me not much has changed, except that companies now give account based sales reps a desk, a computer, and a password. Yes, they still get a phone, which they rarely use, because most prospects and clients are never at their desks and only give their mobile numbers to salespeople they actually want to hear from. So, the default communication for account based sales reps is either social media or cold emails.
Then sales leaders wonder why new salespeople struggle with account based sales development, fail to meet quota, and quit as soon as they can find another job. It’s not really that much of a headscratcher, now is it?
Why 80% of Your New Hires Don’t Last
Research by Xactly Corporation shows that only 20 percent of new sales reps are successful. The majority (71 percent) leave voluntarily, for two main reasons:
- The employer provided inadequate training, coaching, and professional development.
- The salesperson landed a better-paying opportunity.
For more on why salespeople jump ship, check out the infographic from Xactly. It illustrates the serious dilemma sales leaders face and how to make changes that will keep your account based sales team on board.
Message to Managers: Your Account Based Sales Team Needs You
Coaching is a key skill set for sales leaders. Reps need account based sales development training, lead generation tools, and a career path.
The same is true for seasoned sales reps with named accounts. Sales leaders often assume that because their account based sales teams have lots of experience, sophisticated lead generation tools, and a ton of contacts, they don’t need help. Plus, they earn a good income, so they’ll figure it out (whatever “it” is). Problem is, even the most experienced salespeople face challenges in today’s ever-evolving, fast-paced business world.
That takes us back to the 20 percent stat for employee success. And here’s another painful tidbit from Xactly’s research: It costs approximately $115K to replace a salesperson.
Would you be satisfied with 20 percent of anything—planes arriving on time, quota attainment, product defects, new client goals, employee turnover, new-born babies surviving? That’s dismal and totally unacceptable.
One sales leader told me: “I don’t have time to coach, and I don’t have the skills.” Those are the lamest excuses I’ve ever heard. Skills can be built. Time doesn’t magically appear. You must make the time if you want to make a difference. Or you can keep spending your time replacing your sales team. Your choice.
Help your account based sales reps—from the newbies to the seasoned pros—learn to harness the power of referral selling. Invite Joanne to speak at your next sales meeting, conference, or professional development event.