They broke open a new vertical, won massive accounts and were on track to hit 200% of quota. Management was singing your praises and you were already raising next year's targets. Now they’re gone and you’re wondering what happened - and how to keep if from happening again - while they’re working for your biggest competitor.

We know that story well because we’ve been on both sides of it. Whether you've recently lost an A-player, or want to hold on to the ones you already have, we’ve compiled a list of the most common reasons you could lose your best revenue driving employees.


You Changed The Game

Shrinking territories, capping previously uncapped earning potential, changing commission structures or percentages and transferring ownership of deals in process. All of these moves adversely affect your top performers, which isn’t going to be a crowd-pleaser.

You might have valid reasons for the change, you might wonder why a few accounts matter to someone making $200K+. Either way, your best sales talent will likely see these as attempts to reign in their earning potential and start looking for opportunities without those particular roadblocks.

You Didn’t Set Them Up For Success

Time spent doing anything but picking up the phone and connecting with clients is time not spent making money. There’s obviously going to be some prospecting, deal-running and troubleshooting in the day-to-day world of sales, but if you’re putting too many non-sales tasks on a top performer’s plate they’re going to look for an opportunity that offers better support.

Marketing materials, demand generation campaigns, pre-sales personnel, sales engineers; set your top performers up for success by giving them as many support resources as possible. Those resources should pay for themselves by freeing your sales team to focus on what it does best.

Forces Beyond Their Control

There’s nothing more frustrating than losing money due to something someone else did (or didn’t do). Handing off accounts and watching the implementation team drop the ball, fighting with management about deal parameters and compensation or trying to sell a product that isn’t staying competitive. These are fundamental business issues that will impact more than your ability to retain sales talent but the sales team will probably be the first ones to abandon ship.

Turnover is a fact of life, it just hurts more when the person leaving is your biggest revenue driver. There will always be a better offer out there, so don’t make things worse by driving them out the door. Offer strong earning potential, good support and build confidence in your organization. Take it from me, satisfied sales talent doesn’t return recruitment calls.

Need to replace top sales talent? Sick of your company pulling these shenanigans? Get in touch with Martyn Bassett Associates! To get notifications about everything from job postings to new blog entries, follow us on Twitter or connect with us on LinkedIN

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