Contributed by Adam Robinson, the Chief Hireologist at Hireology.
When it comes to work, sales can be tricky— it’s a stressful part of the business equation that can make or break companies. Believe it or not, most companies tend to drive their top-producing salespeople out of the organization and into the welcoming arms of the competition. After all the time and effort they expend to locate, hire and train top producers, why do most of them do things that make their top salespeople quit?
In my years of experience working in sales, this question can be summed up in one statement: Most companies don’t pay attention to the basic drivers/motivators for top producers. As a formerly top-producing software sales executive and now CEO of a firm that recruits top producers for its clients, I can tell you with certainty that, if your company has a hard time holding on to salespeople, it’s probably for one of the following reasons:
- You’ve changed their compensation structure, and not for the better. The number one cause of a disgruntled top producer is negative modifications to their compensation structure. With salespeople, the compensation plan is a sacred covenant— everyone agrees that these are the rules. Top producers inevitably knock the ball out of the park, and management says, “Oh no! These guys are making too much money,” so they change the compensation plan. The usual suspects are caps on commissions, reducing overall commission pay-outs (which kills trust faster than anything) and taking away clients to give to other salespeople. A lot of times this scenario happens because the business owner is undercharging for their product or service and they realize—after the sale—that paying out high sales commissions causes them to lose money.