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7 measures that sales leaders should take to turn “The Great Resignation” into “The Great Opportunity”

9 minutes read

The health crisis that began in 2020 changed the way people viewed their work, possibly forever. As the employees around the world shifted away from their offices into their homes, they had a collective realization of the benefits that remote work offers. This made them seek,

  • Flexibility in their work
  • Ability to balance work life and personal life
  • Work satisfaction
  • More money etc

And they started leaving jobs and looking for new opportunities which would provide them with these benefits even after the pandemic. This phenomenon (the shift in the work-related priorities of employees around the world) is termed as “the Great Resignation” by Professor Anthony Klotz of Texas A&M University.

This workforce shift is affecting every industry and the sales sector is no exception. We have already discussed the impact of the great resignation on sales in our previous blog. If you haven’t read that yet, click here to read it.

In this blog, we are going to shift our focus to exploring the measures that sales leaders can take to mitigate the impact of the great resignation

Measures to Counter the Great Resignation

1. Analyze data to identify the root causes and then create a retention strategy

In order to counter the problem of great resignation, it’s critical for you to first conduct a detailed analysis of your sales staff’s data in order to determine what’s really causing them to leave. Ask yourself which factors could be driving higher resignation rates?

Explore metrics such as

  • The compensation
  • The time between promotions
  • Size of pay increases
  • Tenure
  • Performance
  • And training opportunities

Make sure that you do this analysis of employees by various categories as well such as

  • Their location
  • Their function
  • And other demographics

This helps you to better understand how work experiences and retention rates differ across distinct employee populations.

This analysis helps you to identify trends and blind spots within your employee retention strategy. You can identify not just the employees who have the highest risk of resigning, but also those employees who can likely be retained with targeted interventions. And then you can create a foolproof plan to retain employees.

2. Reconnect on a personal level

COVID was an incredibly isolating time. The day-to-day contact we once took for granted like

  • The humor on the office elevator
  • The gossip while waiting for morning coffee
  • The spontaneous bull sessions in the hallway

Are now suddenly stripped away and replaced with scheduled times via the blue tint of a computer screen.

A work-life centered on Zoom is especially jarring for extroverted personalities who have gravitated toward sales because of their passion and inclination towards communicating and socializing with people. The new medium of managing people online may be more efficient from an economic and time standpoint, but the person-to-person connection is lost.

The job of a sales leader now is to bring back the human touch through virtual channels. So, you can organize casual meetings at least once every week where your sales team can get together,

* For a casual chat * To play fun games online * Order lunch or dinner and have it together through the virtual channels * Have happy hours * Have a pizza party etc

This brings the team together, helps them to socialize, and reduces the isolating feeling amongst your sales reps

3. Foster teamwork in the remote environment

A lack of connection of your employees with your company may also lead to them leaving their job easily. So, it has become more important than ever before now to create a work environment where people feel connected to

  • Their job
  • Their co-workers,
  • And their boss

But this can be particularly difficult with sales teams. Because salespeople might often be focused on maximizing individual earnings, there is a tendency to adopt a lone-wolf mentality.

To make sure this mentality doesn’t persist and have a subsequent impact on employee engagement, it might be a good idea to give your sales team a project on which they need to collaborate. This can be anything from a major sale in which commission is split between multiple people to a team-wide strategy development sessions.

When you make your teamwork as a team it makes them feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. This way you can infuse a togetherness mentality amongst your reps which will improve

  • Their motivation
  • Their productivity
  • And overall sales numbers

But more importantly, it makes each individual team member feel connected to their job and helps them resist the urge to take their talents elsewhere.

4. Do meaningful one-on-ones

A good relationship between the sales manager and the sales reps is something that can help in retaining employees. One of the most common complaints that sales reps have are that,

  • They often do not get the opportunity to talk to their managers
  • Nobody ever praises them or thanks them for their contributions
  • Nobody ever asks how they are doing
  • Even when their managers approach them, they want updates and information on work or progress reports

This way of dealing leaves the sales reps with a feeling that their managers do not care enough for them. And this can easily lead to them getting disengaged.

In this new era of selling, it’s crucial for you as a sales manager to do meaningful one-on-ones with each of your sales reps at least once a month. In each of these meetings, place more focus and emphasis on the development of your reps and rather than focusing on sales numbers.

The best plan for these one-on-one conversations is to,

  • Focus on each person individually
  • Get to know them as people instead of just as sellers
  • Listen to their ideas
  • Understand their goals
  • Know what is important for them to achieve in their sales job
  • Know what do they expect in return?
  • Ask them how the sales leader and the company can help them meet their goals?
  • Focus on the little things like,
    • Be generous with praise
    • Reward simple advances etc

This personal connection with their managers helps your sales reps to strive forward without losing hope, interest, and motivation in their job.

5. Ratchet down the pressure

Yes, every business eventually must talk numbers. But too often, when sales managers have developmental conversations with their team members, they reach too far. They call for big gains, such as a 20 percent improvement in a short amount of time.

At this point when the markets around the world are going through huge changes, the people are feeling alone and burned out and unsure of their future. So, right now, I think it makes more sense to look harder at smaller goals.

Forget the pressure of the 20 percent improvement. Try focusing on a 1 percent gain. Something achievable and measurable. This doesn’t mean that you say: let’s boost sales by 1 percent a month. It just means, let’s concentrate on contacting one extra sales prospect a week instead of 10 extra prospects.

Little victories pile up and create momentum.

6. Combine work and play

In the wake of the great resignation, the hustle-and-grind mentality that used to pervade the business world is becoming more difficult to maintain. But obviously, you want your reps to keep themselves updated with the latest sales information and hit their sales quotas consistently right?

One of the best ways to motivate your reps to work productively is by gamifying their work and learning activities.For example,

  • You can organize a contest where you reward the rep who first achieves the quarterly sales target
  • You can conduct a quiz contest for your team and reward the rep who scores the highest
  • You can conduct a video coaching contest where you ask your reps to pitch one of your products and reward the one who presents a perfect pitch

This way, you can combine work with games and engage your reps in their activities while they work remotely.

7. Update the way you pay

Most salespeople seek to get their payment quickly right now. A recently released poll of almost 700 sales team members conducted by payroll platform Everee found that,

  • 56% of respondents don’t get their commissions for at least two weeks
  • Four out of 10 get their commission monthly or quarterly

Unsurprisingly, 64% of salespeople said they would prefer to get their commissions within a week. It seems obvious that employees whose pay comes mostly from commissions rather than a regular salary would desire the certainty of faster commission payments. As it is, working on commission can be high risk, because payment is based on factors that are sometimes out of a salesperson’s control. The long time it takes to actually receive earned commissions increases the risk and uncertainty involved in a sales job.

There are platforms out there that make it easy to implement weekly or even daily commission payments for your sales team. It makes complete sense to pay your sales reps the commission that they earn on a daily basis as this would motivate them to put in their best efforts each day and consistently bring home more money. On the other hand, if you pay them on a weekly basis, they might focus their efforts on making a good sales week overall. But they might feel less motivated on some days than others.

Ultimately, paying your reps quickly is one of the best ways to retain your most talented sales reps and attract new hires during an unprecedented labor shortage. The promise of faster payments will improve motivation, leading to increased sales and higher overall effort.

Learn what is great resignation 2021 and why should you care about it as a manager?

What is the Great Resignation 2021? Why should you care about it as a sales manager?

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Published on Sat Jan 8 2022

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