The “war for talent” dominated headlines and SBI client conversations across 2021, with attrition rates ranging from 25-60%, and leadership teams scrambling to both backfill open roles and future-hire sufficient headcount to achieve growth goals.
And it’s no wonder. Brand new SBI research – to be published early next month – shows that virtually all sellers are considering – or at least thinking about – new opportunities. Satisfied sellers; high performers; satisfied, high performers – the data below shows that everyone’s “shopping,” calling into question the accuracy of typical churn prediction tools like employee engagement surveys.
Percent of surveyed B2B sales reps
n=250 B2B sales reps
Identifying Attrition Risk
To help companies navigate the “Great Resignation,” we surveyed more than 250 sales reps from across B2B organizations, analyzing the impact of a number of variables on sellers’ intent to stay with their current organization, including aspects of sales and company culture, compensation, quota & territory, sales support, career progression, and more.
Our interviews - which spanned executive recruiters, CEOs, CROs, and private equity firms - suggested that companies need to be ready to pay a significant premium for talent. However, the data showed that while compensation has a huge impact on whether or not someone accepts an offer to come work at your organization, comp and comp plans didn’t even appear in the top five when it comes to predictors of whether a seller is pursuing new opportunities.
Below we’ve summarized the factors that did impact a seller’s intent to stay. To get a more accurate read of whether your sellers might be pursuing new opportunities, consider monitoring the following:
- Do your sellers see compelling future roles into which they can advance? There are two angles to this question. First, do sellers believe they can continue to grow and advance with your organization; second, do opportunities truly exist, and how effectively does your management team create and promote them?
- How do sellers perceive their ‘patch’? The data showed that sellers’ belief that they have sufficient pipeline to hit their number is a huge predictor of their intent to stay with the organization. Beyond understanding perception, how much pipeline does marketing contribute? How confident are sellers in BDR / SDR / LDR support? Do your sellers feel well-supported in their efforts to hit their number?
- Is there an open-door policy that encourages sellers to communicate and share feedback with the executive team? Trust in the executive team was a significant predictor of both intent to stay and overall job satisfaction. Do your executives - across functions - recognize seller performance? How frequently do they ask sellers for input on the product or recent customer conversations?
- How do sellers rate their professional development opportunities? Does your team invest in professional development for different levels and tenures, or are opportunities limited to new hires? Investment in an individual’s long-term growth can not only impact his/her intent to stay, but their productivity and overall performance. Our recent study on commercial leaders’ top bets for 2022 showed that high-growth companies over-invest in sales enablement when compared to their low/mid-growth peers, showing commitment to building talent within - and also growing it in the short term.
By closely monitoring these four areas, your team will gain a more accurate read into your overall attrition risk - as well as a picture of the top areas that need improvement within your employee value proposition. Across the first few months of 2022, we will share much more on this important topic. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more, or receiving a tailored deep dive into your own selling environment, please let us know here.