Once sales onboarding ends, what happens to your reps? According to The Bridge Group, 9% of sales reps leave in their first year, followed by 58% in years 2-3. And replacing reps can be extremely time consuming and costly; according to the Aberdeen Group, replacing a typical B2B sales rep equates to $29,000 and takes 7.2 months.
So what goes wrong between reps’ second and third years? One explanation is that the initial onboarding wasn’t effective. Another is that reps are not getting the right level of continuous coaching and reinforcement that they need to fully develop and master their skills; training is treated as a “one-time event,” after which reps are too often left to their own devices. Coaching and reinforcement are key areas where sales enablement leaders can step in to improve rep retention and performance.
Have a post-onboarding plan
As a sales enablement leader, it’s your job to create an effective onboarding program for new reps. But can you consider your program to be effective if it ends abruptly after 3 or 6 months, leaving reps to fend for themselves?
According to The Bridge Group, the average salesperson attrition rate is 34% and too much turnover negatively impacts everything from quota attainment to overall revenue. Start reps off right with onboarding that covers all the foundational learning that reps need to get a jump start on selling.
But that’s only half the battle; if reps aren’t supported after onboarding ends, then they won’t feel like they are set up for success. Onboarding should be bolstered by coaching and reinforcement and that should continue throughout their tenure at the company.
Improve retention by coaching to mastery
Effective sales coaching helps ensure that there are no learning gaps and reps can build on what they learned from onboarding without forgetting all the material.
Coaching reps to sales mastery is the critical (and too often overlooked) step in developing reps that are motivated to perform well and stay at your organization. In fact, firms that provide optimal coaching achieve rates of annual revenue growth 16.7% greater than firms that do not provide any coaching, per CSO Insights.
For reps that have completed a significant amount of sales training, there’s a range of formal, informal, individual and team coaching activities that help reinforce the material and lead to sales mastery. That’s the ultimate goal for any sales enablement department; develop reps that can achieve mastery, close deals and stay at the company for a long, successful tenure.