By Kevin Dixon, Founder at Boxxstep

What is the real cost replacing a sales rep for a business? It’s difficult to really quantify but I suspect it’s a lot more than execs and sales leaders realise.

The average tenure for a B2B sales person is now down to 1 year, that fact alone is concerning. There’s a bunch of reasons why sales people leave including quotas too high, under performance, more appealing companies / solutions, and better financial offers to name a few.

The obvious costs are calculated by considering hiring fees, on-boarding and training. But a more challenging cost lurks out of sight, the cost of lost business.

OK you’ve heard it all before but think about it in the context of today’s buyer centric market. Getting meetings with members of a buyer team is tough, it has to be a good use of their time so it’s vital that they gain value from a meeting and it’s not just a meet and greet and research session.

The sales person has done the research, met with most or all members of the buyer team (technical, financial, operational, logistical and execs, the mix depends on what you are selling), gathered intelligence about the business drivers and decision process, and what’s important and challenging for each member of the team plus an understanding of team roles, responsibilities and dynamics. This has enabled them to understand what value their proposition provides to this prospect and what they need to do to next to advance their position.

All of the information that any good sales professional involved in complex sales today will have obtained. The latest research highlights that a very high quantity of B2B sales people are still not asking the right questions and engaging with all of the prospect contacts that they need to, so in most cases they don’t know everything they need to know to be fully effective. But let’s take an optimistic view and say that most of them will have some valuable information.

Then the sales person leaves (possibly to go to a competitor). Where is all this non- CRM buyer information they’ve accumulated kept? Generally, it’s in the head or notebooks of the departing sales person, it’s not kept anywhere that the replacement salesperson can access and review, so it’s lost. CRM’s aren’t structured to capture it, even with the options of custom fields. It could be in a CRM notes section or as an attachment, but it’s not because we already know that CRM management discipline is a low priority for many B2B sales people.

Some companies have introduced KPIs for CRM data entry with commission payments. Theyr’e contingent on opportunities being correctly populated and kept up to date. But the problem is that many companies allow the logging of vital prospect information on an almost casual basis.

So picture this, the replacement sales person has joined, all eager and enthusiastic. Along with the management team of their new employers they believe that they have inherited a qualified pipeline. It may have been qualified by their predecessor but what do they do now?

What are the next steps they need to take to help the prospect in their buyer journey?

How can they take action without information to guide them on what action to take and with whom?

Could the new sales person revisit members of the buyer team to start the process again by gathering the lost information that they don’t have access to. Forget it, most of them won’t have the time or the inclination?

Remember meetings with buyers have to be a good use of their time, not yours.

So how many deals are lost because sales people leave and there is no mechanism to create a more seamless handover to their replacements? How many deals are lost because vital information is not captured retained and shared? And what is the cost to a business in lost deals because momentum stalled.

If you want to minimise the cost of replacing a sales rep then remember that prospect and buyer information is valuable. Treat it like the crown jewels that it has become.

Check out our blog on The Best Free B2B sales tool for 2017

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