One of the hot sales topics that have got us talking and thinking of late is the impact and reasons for high seller churn at what we hope is the tail end of the pandemic. Sometimes referred to as employee turnover and most recently, and more dramatically “turnover tsunami”, the reasons for this trend range from career-related epiphanies that have occurred while working at home, to many cases of old-fashioned stress and burnout.
In this blog, we’re turning the spotlight on something more specific; the festering frustration that stems from sales professionals when being served a poor territorial deal and unfair quota allocation. We’ll look at how and why this happens, and provide some solutions to stop unbalanced territory and quota planning (TQP) being the reason for seller churn – including a sound and robust benchmarking app.
When Good Territorial and Quota Tactics Go Bad
The truth is, some territory and quota planning strategies were doomed for failure in the first place. Therefore, there has long been a connection between this issue and seller churn. But in the fast-paced world of sales, there isn’t always the time and headspace for a sales campaign post-mortem. Until now. The strange resetting of swapping the office or field for the home as a workplace has made philosophers of us all, and territory and quota planning methodology is something that has come under the mental microscope.
The key grievances with territorial planning are centered around poorly researched geographical boundaries, over and under-resourcing of an area, paired with unfair quota distribution.
Let’s break that down. You’re drawing up your territories as part of a new product rollout. Without putting in the research to the local market, competitor presence, or wider economic circumstances, there’s a likelihood of designating the wrong amount of salespeople. There may be too many prospects and accounts to reasonably tackle, or conversely, too few. On the back of this comes the soul-destroying sales nightmare of quota inequity. One person is given more accounts than another, someone else cannot handle the workload, and the result is the almost impossible task of hitting commission targets. In no time, motivation levels go over the cliff edge, there is an unhealthy climate of competition, and swathes of talented sales professionals are looking to make a permanent move to another more level and organized company. And that’s how seller churn becomes a real problem resulting from poor territory and quota plans.
But to end here would be completing the story without an adequate ending or answer. When we combine this set of circumstances and dissatisfaction with the current global pressure of COVID-19, we see that an awful lot more people are choosing to make the leap and leave their job. A recent survey from Eagle Hill Consulting found that one in four employees has plans to hand in their resignation once things start to stabilize.
Now, of course, it won’t be one in four that chooses to follow that route just because they are fed up with poorly structured territory and quota planning, but if we’re drilling down to salespeople, this reason will be a big hitter. So how can you manage to avoid the pitfalls of poor territory and quota plans and protect your top talent from walking away?
Reversing the Seller Churn Tide
The first practical step is to plan territories with more thought and research. By harnessing the insight and analytical capabilities of a powerful territory and quota planning solution, such as the one offered by Varicent, you can do better for your sales teams. By undertaking market research, looking beyond simple geography, and using the software to set rules and define hierarchies, you’ll create stronger territories. And by utilizing the quota management software, your teams will be more likely to get the workload they can handle, therefore achieving their targets and earning a decent commission.
But reducing seller churn due to inadequate territory and quota planning is not just about reimagining the strategy–it’s also about getting “under the hood” of the root causes and mentality of those doing the selling. That’s where benchmarking makes a grand and timely entrance. Benchmarking, for the uninitiated, is when you capture data to measure employees against other employees, or your business against other businesses in the same sector or locality. You can set up the required criteria and use the resulting metrics and analytics to determine what’s working, what’s not, and what you can be doing better. For example, benchmarking can be used to determine if everyone in a team is progressing and performing at the same rate, with the set criteria being time in employment, level of coaching, or how many deals they have closed over a period of time, or in a territory. It’s a science and it’s evidential, meaning it carries a lot of weight as a way of carving out change, such as cutting down on seller churn.
Assigning unfavorable territories is only one of many possible factors that can contribute to turnover in your sales force. By leveraging augmented intelligence you can identify patterns that shine a spotlight on various factors that contribute to turnover specifically in your organization. In some instances it may not be something you’re seeking to mitigate by the key is having the data and insights necessary to plan ahead. Symon.AI’s Seller Churn App allows you to do just that without depending on data scientists.
Better Territory and Quota Planning solutions was among the cornerstone topics of the Varicent Spring Summit, held online on May 20, 2021. We’ll be releasing a load more specific information around this in the weeks to come, especially in our website blog section, where some of our internal knowledge specialists will be writing on these subjects and solutions, and much more.