You walk into your office on a Monday morning to see a letter from your top sales-rep sitting on your desk. It’s another two-week notice. Your stomach turns at the thought of losing one of your company’s most valuable assets. Immediately, you begin to think about the lost revenue, the hardships of finding another all-star salesperson, and the damage to your company’s reputation for losing another employee. If these feelings have become commonplace in your business, it might be time to look into what’s really going on. In this article, let’s dive deep into the real reasons that salespeople leave their jobs and talk about ways to keep your MVP’s. 

Poor Management – 

“A Gallup study found that when people leave their companies, 65 percent of them are actually leaving their managers.”

― D. Michael Abrashoff,

    “It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy

Excellent salespeople are sure to run quickly from bad managers, so to keep them from running from you, you must understand both what a bad manager does and what a good manager does.  A bad manager is someone who uses his team to make himself look good. He will criticize and punish his employees when they underperform but will hesitate to give praise and appreciation when it is due. He doesn’t get to know his team on a personal level because he is obsessed with performance and with improving his own image. His employees are just numbers to him, and he is their ruler. It’s obvious that a manager like this pushes salespeople away but a bad manager might not realize he makes these mistakes. Self-reflection is often the first step to becoming a better manager, so ask yourself; Am I making these mistakes? If you’ve realized you share any habits of the bad manager, keep the following traits of a good manager in mind next time you interact with your employees and watch the life return to your business. 

A good manager:

  • Works to make the team look great
  • Shows appreciation often
  • Views himself as part of the team
  • Gives praise in public and criticism in private
  • Gets to know his employees on a personal level

Over-complicated sales structure –

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do”

  • Steve Jobs

A handbook full of rules and word-for-word sales pitches may seem like a valuable resource to provide to your salesforce but in reality, forcing salespeople to sell by the book usually results in an overly complicated sales process that kills creativity and movement. Instead of forcing salespeople to focus on the handbook, good managers will allow their employees to focus on the client. Salespeople are hired to sell so give them a chance to do their job with the freedom to explore the tactics that work best for them. Providing guidelines is fine, but providing freedom keeps your employees happy and lets them thrive.

Dishonesty – 

Perhaps the quickest way to drive a salesperson out the door is through dishonesty. Dishonesty can hide itself by taking one of its many forms, so it is critical that honesty be evaluated in all aspects of the business. For example, a manager may not feel dishonest when asking his employees to sell low quality products and services for more than they’re worth because he isn’t lying to his employees. He is however being dishonest to his customers. This practice can also result in a salesforce that feels guilty and miserable and customers that are angry and dissatisfied. Dishonesty can be tempting when posed with a decision that might raise profits, but in the long run, dishonestly destroys trust and kills businesses.

All too often in the world of sales, dishonesty takes form in the mismanagement of leads and deals. To see how dishonesty hurts businesses, let’s take a look at a report that describes a young sales rep’s encounter with dishonest management. Unfortunately, I have lost the original source of the report, but the story can be summarized as follows. A young sales rep is working hard on a lead and has successfully negotiated a deal to a price that would normally be handled by a more senior rep. After seeing the figures from the deal, the manager transfers the lead to a senior rep out of fear of losing the lead. Despite having control of the situation, the younger sales rep loses thousands of dollars in commission due to a mismanaged lead. He leaves his manager 2 weeks later. Employees who work in an environment where they can’t trust their co-workers will always seek a new one where they can.

Getting Your Salesforce Back in Shape 

Employees leave companies mainly due to poor management, but they can leave for any number of reasons. Issues with employee retention may need a quick fix, a full company rebrand, or anything in between. There is no “one size fits all” solution to employee retention but by reading this article, you have already taken the first steps to building a stronger salesforce. ShapeUp Sales Coaching is here to identify and solve problems in sales, help keep employers and their teams happy, and to create environments where salespeople thrive. When you’re ready to take the next step in shaping up your salesforce, send us a message. Action is key. What are you waiting for?

About the author:

Michael is a sales trainer and coach as well as a public speaker. He works with salespeople of all types to coach them to success. He has personally closed millions of dollars of sales throughout various industries using the exact methods he teaches his clients. Growing up in a military household, he has traveled the world and lived in nearly every region in the United States.  Today he is passionate about spending time with his wife and daughter and enjoying the outdoors anytime possible. Email him with your questions or comments at [email protected]

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