How to Know When Your Sales Reps Will Quit

Mar 20, 2019
3 min read
Replacing a top sales rep can be costly and time-consuming. Learn how you can predict sales rep turnover, take action sooner, and increase rep retention.

They say hindsight is 20/20, so accurately predicting the future should be even more valuable, right? Imagine being able to know when your sales reps will quit—and being able to proactively respond so that you don't lose top talent and potential quota attainment. This past year at Xactly, I learned just how valuable this knowledge could be.

Xactly on Xactly: Drinking Our Own Champagne

As a sales leadership team, there are plenty of questions we ask ourselves to improve sales performance analysis and management, including: Are we setting up our teams for success? Are we creating competitive enough comp plans to attract and retain the right reps? Are we assigning effective territories? Is our pay in line with performance?

Despite the fact that we live and breathe incentive comp, we are not immune to the factors that affect every sales organization. At Xactly, our sales team has grown. We’ve lost some tenured reps, but we’ve also added many new reps to the team. We’ve promoted some of our best performers into management roles to continue motivating and retaining top talent.

We’ve also experienced the pains that accompany growth and have taken stock of all the successes and challenges that face both our company and our sales organization. Looking at our own sales performance data, we asked ourselves the question can we analyze our sales performance and use our data more effectively?

The answer is yes. We decided to “drink our own champagne” and enabled Xactly Insights, our data-driven sales performance application, for our team. Our goal was to give our sales leaders the same in-depth look at Xactly’s sales performance across our sales team and companies in our industry as our customers.

Improving Sales Performance Analysis with Xactly Insights

Xactly Insights is a powerful tool that provides sales leaders with a true understanding of their team’s performance—at the individual rep, team, and industry levels. The solution leverages more than 13 years of anonymized and aggregated pay and performance data to power Xactly Benchmarking (comparison data sales ops and comp admins can reference across company and industry to use for plan design) and Xactly Insights (the application that delivers leading indicators for sales leaders within their organizations).

By enabling Insights for ourselves, we quickly discovered a handful of important trends and leading indicators for rep attrition and how tenure affects performance.

Potential Rep Attrition 

Insights’ Sales Rep Attrition Algorithm is built to help sales leaders identify reps at risk for attrition so they can take corrective action earlier. Within a few days of enabling Insights, the application instantly flagged some of our tops reps and indicated that they were at risk of attrition.

With this leading indicator, our sales leadership team was able to proactively address the situation, ultimately retaining these reps. Having a “heads up” on performance dips and issues helps sales leaders retain top talent and improve their sales planning, whether that means reassessing territories, adjusting training and career development, providing more enablement opportunities, or offering additional incentives.

The Performance “Sweet Spot”

Using Xactly Insights data, we confirmed that tenure plays a major role in how reps perform and how they will continue to add value in an organization over time. High-performing sales reps hit their performance “sweet spot” at three to five years with the company.

This means companies should emphasize cultivating top performers in years one to three. By identifying performance trends, sales leaders can realize a rep’s potential, even if full quota attainment isn’t achieved initially, and ultimately provide the resources needed for reps to grow and stay.

Using Data for Proactive Sales Performance Analysis

In a world so focused on incentive compensation, Xactly Insights gives us a lot to think about. Seeing the impact of this insightful “champagne” firsthand is a game changer for my role and shows how dashboards highlighting leading data-driven indicators are extremely helpful to run any organization effectively.

Insights is a tool that can help sales leaders like me drive a stronger organization and optimize team performance. It digs deeper into performance analytics, asks the questions we may not have thought to ask a year ago, and ultimately helps us be more competitive when trying to attract and retain top talent.

Xactly Insights provides a solid data-driven backbone to help companies look at sales performance management (SPM) holistically. This is only the beginning—there is certainly a lot we will do to continue to grow as an organization.

Learn more about the power of Xactly Insights and end-to-end SPM solutions in our white paper, Driving ROI: The Business Case for a Comprehensive Sales Performance Management (SPM) Solution.

  • Analytics and Technology
  • Benchmarking
  • Sales Performance Management