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- SVP Sales - Software Publishing Corporation
- Director - IBM Channel Operations
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Sales Management - Improving Managers and Teams
- Sales force attrition is 25 percent annually.
Companies are turning over a quarter of their team each year, according to the annual survey by CSO Insights. When good salespeople leave, they often take clients with them, morale suffers and sales managers must turn their attention to recruiting instead of selling.
Then, onboarding requires training and ramp time of six months or more. All this results in lost revenue, missed opportunities and an estimated cost of $500,000 to $1 million per salesperson lost.
- Twenty-seven percent of salespeople fail to produce enough to cover their costs of employment.
Instead of stepping up to the challenge of behavioral change, managers continue to push low performers to the side, focusing only on top performers instead of the entire team. The 27 percent that are not producing enough to pay the costs of their employment roughly matches the attrition rate of 25 percent.
But half of the attrition represents high performers – the ones you want to keep – who leave voluntarily for new or better opportunities. This means sales managers are not getting rid of the other non-performers, nor are they turning them into contributors.
- The average tenure of a sales VP is 19 months.
Sales VPs are getting it from both sides. They may have been promoted from the ranks but not provided the training they need to become effective managers; they may be candidates for behavioral change themselves. VPs inherit teams that need to produce better results and bosses that are depending on them.
They feel immediate pressure to make judgments based on numbers rather than on performance, continuing a command-and-control model rather than changing organizational behavior. The pressure-cooker environment leads to frequent turnover, and as a result, there are always searches going on for sales leaders. Companies spend more recruiting dollars for sales VPs than any other position.
- "Solution selling" has reached the end of its usefulness.
Today, customers complete nearly 60 percent of a typical purchasing decision – researching solutions, ranking options, setting requirements, benchmarking pricing, and so on – before they have a conversation with a supplier. In this world, the celebrated “solution sales rep” can be more of an annoyance than an asset.
- Making a sale is more complex than ever.
Markets are more fragmented than ever and there are more competitive products to sell against, especially in technology. Rather than selling a large system, like an accounting system, against two or three competitors, sales teams are selling applications and services that didn't exist the year before and may not be included in the current budgeting cycle of the target companies.
Potential buyers debate whether new applications are "nice-to-have" or "must have," while also considering technology obsolescence. The field of competitors may be global, and buyers have become smarter about playing competitors against each other. Taken together, all these trends make sales cycles much longer and unpredictable. Add to this an overlay of social media marketing and selling, which is still new territory for companies and their sales team.