Have you ever lost one of your top salesperson to a competitor and end up losing some of your accounts as well? This is usually a double hit because not only do you end up losing your top revenue generator, but in most cases you also end up losing some of your most valued customers. This could be devastating for a small company, who usually does not have the resources to have other sales people fill the void. They end up replacing the sales rep but it takes time for that person to be productive, so sales are negatively impacted in the short term.
But what about customers that you end up losing because they either followed your sales person to his/her new company (if not your competitor) because the customer’s relationship was more with your sales rep than with your company? It makes sense, that’s why they are one of your top sales people, because they are good at establishing relationships with your customers. Maybe too good.
But where does that leave you and your small business? The new social media landscape makes it very easy for companies to poach employees because they not only find and contact your employees directly based on specific job function searches, but they can also suggest other comparable professionals that can do the same job. The days of knowing someone to make an introduction is becoming less and less of a requirement. Good for employees, not always good news for the employer.
There could also be numerous reasons for losing a good sales rep and it may be as simple as a better offer from another company. Whatever the reasons may be, the most important thing is to at least keep your customers and lessen the financial impact of your sales person’s departure.
So what can you do to prevent or avoid losing the relationships with your valued customers when your top sales rep servicing the account ends up leaving your company?
1. Invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) platform.
This will enable you to keep track of your sales people’s activities, leads and opportunities on a regular basis. It will tell you how much follow-up your sales reps are doing with which customers and if you are tracking it properly, you will see a trend on which customers are your key customers, your most loyal customers and your most at risk customers.
2. Conduct regular pipeline review
Set-up weekly reviews with each of your Sales rep to review the opportunities on his/her territory and he/she is not “sandbagging” the pipeline and targets by not putting deals that may be already be in the works. The best indicator of this behaviour are orders that are coming in (interestingly enough, this happens usually at the end of the month or the quarter) that was not in listed in the pipeline.
3. Do random customer visits.
Depending on which industry, there is nothing more effective than a face-to-face meeting with your customers. Do it randomly and at different times of the month to ensure that rapport and relationships are established with other people in your company other than just your sales rep.
4. Establish a Quarterly Business Review (QBR).
Set-up a formal quarterly business review with your key customers to ensure that you hear direct feedback on both successes and shortcomings from the previous quarter. This enables you to remedy any issues immediately before it’s too late and you end up losing the customer.
5. Establish a relationship with your customers at the company level.
Introduce other members of your company to the customer to avoid having a relationship only built around one sales person. Try to avoid only having connections at the personal level to ensure that the relationships are maintained even with changes in company contacts.
Changing sales people is part of business life; people move on and find new challenges. However there are simple steps that your company can take to minimise the impact of a top sales rep leaving the company, including the loss of valued customers.
- Javin Chew, Head AP Marketing of Comlinked -