Training and Retention
Mary F. Chapman
University of Maryland University College
I work in the new homebuilding industry - an industry that has a fair bit of turnover amongst its’ sales teams. While sales representatives typically remain in home sales for their professional careers, they often switch between builders, and even out of the industry to general brokerage at some point in their career. As a 10+ year seasoned sales representative, I have seen far too many quality representatives leave my company to start over with another builder, or other industries altogether. It truly is a shame, as many of these representatives would have generated an ...view middle of the document...
This can be problematic though, as a company could realistically have either more sales professionals than it needs, and incur costs associated with futile personnel, or it may have too few employees and risk having sales shops that are unoccupied, thus not generating any sales nor profit for the company. (Darmon, 2015)
Because some turnover occurs unexpectedly, a sales manager typically does not have sufficient time and resources readily available to recruit, select, hire, and then train this new employee so that they may take over the role of the exiting personnel. This situation happens often with my employer. Communities are left vacant, without a new home sales representative there to greet and engage the customer, to assist with the sale. Occasionally sales professionals in other communities are tasked with taking over an existing, vacant community, by selling off-site from their own community. When that occurs it has proven completely ineffective. As a means to combat this dilemma, some sales managers overstaff their team, to ensure they have a trained professional ready to take over for anyone that resigns unexpectedly. This strategy can also be very costly in the long run, and financing idle sales professional’s salaries is not a long-term solution either.
Ultimately, management should be able to control some of the overall costs of turnover, by developing appropriate recruiting and training policies. It should be assumed that turnover will exist, but the role of middle management should be to apply the most effective policies that in turn minimize the unfavorable effects of turnover on selling costs.
I once read that “salespeople don't quit companies…they leave managers” (Boe, 2010). Certainly sufficient sales skills are required to be an effective sales professional, but that alone will not dictate if someone has the potential to then be a good manager. In the fight to overcome high turnover costs, companies need to first focus their energies on securing appropriate management to fill those roles, offering them continued development opportunities to grow professionally.
As an effective leader and manager, you expect and plan for turnover, but first you must build and nurture relationships amongst your team. My manager treats me as her equal, and respects my opinions and suggestions. She leads by example, provides praise when due, and maintains an open line of communication. Her team has a much lower rate of attrition, compared to the other sales manager in our region. In addition to fostering interpersonal relationship amongst the team, managers must place appropriate emphasis on recruiting the right kind of sales professionals by advertising accurate job descriptions and scopes of work, providing appropriate training and developmental opportunities, engaging sales professionals with their team, and helping to encourage social interaction and comradery. (Boe, 2010)
It has been found that there is no substitute for an...