Sales Coaching Blog

Do Sales Managers Own Turnover?

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

June 7, 2013

describe the imageTop three reasons managers believe talent leaves an organization

  1. Opportunity to earn more pay elsewhere
  2. Lack of promotional opportunities
  3. Feelings that pay levels are unfair relative to others outside the organization

 

 

The above comes from a study conducted by World at Work—The Retention of Key Talent and the Role of Rewards  

There are so many things that are bothersome about this research that should be screaming to sales leaders.  I am not questioning the science or validity of the study, for World at Work always produces research completed with high integrity.  What is bothersome are the results.

Why are only managers surveyed? This is like only asking an organization (and not the clients) why their clients leave, or only asking a doctor (and not the patients) why their patients chose a new provider.  They will provide their opinion, but if you truly want to know why anyone leaves, go to the source; and in this case ask the employees, not just managers.  In sales you will not have a complete picture of what drives performance, and resources will be applied inefficiently and/or incorrectly if you only ask managers why team members depart.    

Do managers truly know why those on their teams leave?  Forget the fact it is hard to admit managers are the problem, but more importantly most are simply not aware of their impact on overall team performance—let alone their impact on retention.  Most don’t know (or perhaps just don’t believe) the biggest reason employees depart has to do with the manager’s relationship with those on their team.   

How can managers be accountable if the sales person just wasn’t getting it done?  Because sales managers are accountable for hiring the sales person!  And, if you do not control the talent you receive ask to change the model.  When I think back to those who voluntarily left my teams, most were justified in departing for it just wasn’t going to work.  It wasn’t the fact they had short-comings, for everyone does.  I, in the selection process, did not work hard enough to discover their talents and determine if they would be a good fit.  They didn’t leave our company, they left me.  And, as the research indicates, they certainly left for a better opportunity--only because I didn’t create one in our organization. As you can tell, I take complete ownership for all turn-over on our team.  

Employee turnover is not always bad, and I am not suggesting it should never occur.  We all make mistakes in our hires and the development (or lack thereof) of those on our teams.  We just need to minimize these errors for they are very costly.  

Okay, your turn to vent… 

  • When will organizations learn that most of their development resources are being mis-applied? 
  • When will organizations understand that coaching skills are no longer “soft skills”, but it is those “soft-skills” that are proving to drive peak performance?
  • When will organizations understand the impact the manager has on teams?

Topics: sales coaching, coaching

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