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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.

Explore the metrics that could be driving these higher resignation rates such as

  • The compensation of your staff
  • The time between their promotions
  • The size of their pay increases
  • Their tenure
  • Their performance
  • And training and learning opportunities that they are getting at your organization

You can also carry out this analysis by segmenting your employees into various categories such as

  • The location of the employees
  • Their function
  • And other demographics

This analysis,

  • Helps you better understand how the employee retention rates differ across distinct employee demographics at your organization.
  • It helps you to identify the common patterns in your employee turnover
  • And it helps you to identify the blind spots within your employee retention strategy

This way, you will be able to identify not just those employees who are at the highest risk of resigning, but also those employees who can likely be retained with targeted interventions.

And once you are done with this analysis, you can then create a foolproof plan to retain your employees.

2. Bring back the personal connection in the virtual work environment

For a lot of us, the pandemic has been extremely isolating. Remember the everyday activities that 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

These little moments of fun and joy have suddenly been taken away from us and they have been replaced with scheduled times via computer screens with our teams.

This kind of work-life that’s purely virtual could be especially difficult for the extroverts in your sales team who got attracted to a sales career only because of their passion and inclination towards communicating and socializing with people.

As a sales leader, you might perceive this virtual work setting to be more efficient from an economical and time standpoint. However, the person-to-person connection is lost in your team and this is not very good for employee retention.

So now, your job as a sales leader is to bring back that human touch through virtual channels.

Wondering how to do that? You can organize casual meetings at least once every week where your sales team can get together,

  • For a casual chat
  • 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. Nurture a “teamwork is dreamwork” attitude in your virtual work environment

A lack of connection amongst themselves and a lack of sense of being a “Team” also causes your employees to leave their jobs 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 their individual earnings. They have 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 session.

When you make your team work as a team, it makes them feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. This infuses a mentality of 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 resist the urge to take their talents elsewhere.

4. Have 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.

So, in today’s virtual selling environment, sales managers must focus on having meaningful one-on-one sessions with each of their sales reps at least once a month. In each of these meetings, place more emphasis on developing your reps and not on increasing sales numbers.

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

  • Focus on each person individually
  • Get to know your sales reps 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. Reduce the pressure

As a sales leader, you might have the urge to discuss sales numbers with your reps. And every business that aims to be successful must talk numbers eventually.

But, often, when sales managers have developmental conversations with their team members, they tend to go too far and set huge targets for their reps such as a 20 percent improvement in a short amount of time.

In these uncertain times, when the markets around the world are changing drastically and quickly, people are already feeling isolated, burned out, and unsure of their future. So, right now, I think it makes more sense to focus on smaller goals.

Don’t pressurize your reps to show a 20 percent improvement. Instead, ask them to focus on a 1 percent gain. This is something that can be achieved and measured easily.

This doesn’t mean that you ask your reps to boost sales by 1 percent a month. It just means that you ask them to concentrate on bringing in one extra sales prospect a week instead of 10 extra prospects.

These little victories that are achieved consistently pile up to create a great momentum.

6. Add gamification to your sales reps’ routine

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. Make sure you pay your reps well at the right time

Most salespeople seek to get their payment quickly right now. The payroll platform Everee recently released a poll of almost 700 sales team members and it revealed that,

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

It also found that 64% of salespeople prefer to get their commissions within a week. This seems quite obvious as a large portion of the front line sales reps’ earning comes from the commissions that they earn rather than a regular salary. And working on commissions is a high risk in itself as earning commission depends on factors that are sometimes out of a salesperson’s control. So, the longer it takes to receive the commission, the greater is the risk and uncertainty in the sales reps’ job. Therefore, for these reasons, sales reps desire the certainty of faster commission payments.

There are plenty of softwares available in the market which allow you to implement weekly or even daily commission payments for your sales team.

Pro Tip: It would be a good idea to pay commissions to your sales reps on a daily basis as this would motivate them to put in their best efforts everyday and consistently bring home more money. On the other hand, if you pay them on a weekly or monthly basis, they might focus on making a good sales week overall, but it might also cause them to feel less motivated on some days than on others.

In conclusion, your promise of faster payments drastically improves your sales reps’ motivation. This eventually leads to improvement in their sales efforts and an increase in the overall sales numbers.

Paying your sales reps quickly helps you to a great extent in retaining your top performers and attracting new hires during an unprecedented labor shortage.

Check out these sales statistics in the below blog which demonstrate that the sales turnover is exploring

15 Statistics that prove that Sales Turnover is Exploding. And Some Useful Tips for you to Reduce this Turnover at your Organization

Learn how to design, implement and gamify a perfect sales incentive plan at your organization

Best Practices to Design your Sales Incentive Plan

Best practices to Implement a Sales Incentive Plan

How Gamification can help to take your Incentive Plan to a whole new level?

Learn why is it necessary to automate your sales incentive compensation

Why is it necessary to automate your sales incentive compensation?

Published on Sat Jan 8 2022

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