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Sales compensation plans: Are my reps leaving for more money?

COACHING AND DEVELOPMENT

Sales compensation plans: Are my reps leaving for more money?


Sales compensation plans: Are my reps leaving for more money?

Losing top talent hurts. 

You’ve been there—that moment when your best rep, account executive, or SDR quits. She says she’s leaving for an exciting new challenge and getting a 20% increase in pay. Her “whys” seem valid, but you still wonder: how much did the money factor into her decision to leave the job?

According to Melissa Murray Bailey, SVP of Sales at Hootsuite, any time a frontline manager knows the exact offer on the table, he or she said yes to a different conversation long ago. Long before the sales compensation plan was on paper, something caused that person to explore.

“When it comes to sales compensation plans, companies are competitive,” Nadia Rashid, SVP of Sales at Seismic, says. “Money is an excuse. It’s a cop out when you really need to self-reflect. People leave because of a bad leader or a mismatch in work styles.”

Microsoft’s 2021 Work Index states that 41 percent of the workforce will consider a job change this year. If employees aren’t leaving for the money, how can you coach better or create a purpose-driven and people-first culture?

Here’s how:

Talk about growth and build a sales mentorship program

Jennifer Brannigan, CRO at Pendo, says the first thing to integrate into your 1:1 check-ins is frequent conversations about growth potential. Discuss ways your direct report can gain relevant experience and build employee value while in their current role. Then start career pathing them as soon as possible to help them envision their future at your company.

“SDRs are the best talent to grow from within,” Rashid said. “They make amazing SMB and mid-market reps. Create a culture of upleveling through a pen pal or mentorship program with AEs.”

Formalizing a sales mentorship program can be as simple as redesigning the SDR/AE handoff. At Hootsuite, SDRs play an active role in the handoff by attending the meeting, teeing up the conversation with the prospect, and introducing the AE live. This allows for on-the-job training. The SDR sits in on the call and hears how an AE interacts with the prospect as they move down the funnel.

Ask for honest feedback (eNPS)

Revenue organizations are often consumed with customer NPS and forget about eNPS (Employer Net Promoter Score). Measure employee loyalty by asking questions on a 0-10 scale. Examples include, Have you been getting the support you need from the team? Does team culture align with company culture? Would you recommend working here to a friend or family member?

“Client delight? What about employee delight?” Larry Long, Jr., sales-culture expert, says. “Reps are looking to work at a company where they are someone. People need to feel loved and cared for.” 

When org charts get deeper, sharing feedback with the right people becomes increasingly complicated. The first step is welcoming feedback at the highest level. “Executive leaders need to allow for employees to share feedback about second and third-line leaders.” Rashid says. “It’s important to leave that space.” 

When you gather the feedback you need to evolve, dedicate time to look in the mirror. Ask yourself the hard questions that arise from the constructive criticism and come to actionable conclusions you can personally implement to prevent employee churn.

Learn how to effectively motivate people and do more with less

In sales, the toughest part about losing top talent is, the revenue goal doesn’t change because of headcount. “You will be required to do more with less until you have a viable replacement,” Chris O’Connor, Head of Sales Development at Ambition, says. “Ramp times vary based on product or service being sold, but in general, expect three months for a SDR and up to six months for an AE.”

To keep your team engaged, especially in a hybrid world, it’s important to consider tools to help you coach and motivate your team. To build positive accountability and encouragement, a tech stack that includes sales leaderboards, competitions, 1:1 check-ins, and scorecards keep employees connected to the bigger picture.

The reality: over the past 12 months, you’ve likely seen good talent leave. All the buzz about the ‘Turnover Tsunami’ and ‘The Great Resignation’ is real and you’re feeling the effects and paying the price in time spent recruiting, hiring, training, and onboarding. The pandemic truly woke the world and humans are craving meaning, not money. 

Want to hear more about this topic? Tune into our on-demand webinar with the industry experts featured in this article or schedule a demo with Ambition experts.

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Sales Leaders, HR Professionals, and C-Level Executives use Ambition to recognize, motivate, and develop employees into more engaged and productive versions of themselves. Funded by Google, used by the Fortune 500, endorsed by the Harvard Business Review.