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“I Quit!” – I Did Not See That Coming

By September 21, 2021May 1st, 2023No Comments


I did not see that coming.

Your top sales talent is being head hunted and after what everyone has been through, there are an increasing number of salespeople willing to listen to the pitch of greener pastures.

It has been named “The Great Resignation Movement.” (Anthony Klotz, Professor of Management, Texas A&M University, 2021)

To complicate things further, a power shift has happened and the difficulty of keeping or attracting people to the profession of sales is concerning. (WSJ 2021)

Not only are you having to focus on protecting and defending accounts, but now also protecting and defending your sales talent organization!

So, how do you make it difficult for the lure of the headhunter to capture the attention of your top talent?

Defend against “the lure” in these four simple ways, and create a daily habit of focusing on these when interacting with your salespeople:

  1. “I would like to thank my coach…”: Are you invaluable as a coach? If you are, and they leave, then they lose YOU. Do you take the time on a regular basis to pull up alongside them and their deals and bring value?
  • Practical Tip: Revenue Storm tools help you bring that value. And while Revenue Storm tools create the perfect frame for invaluable coaching conversations, you need to commit the time in your calendar to make this a rhythm in your week’s activities.
  1. Got my Back: Do they KNOW you will clear the way for them, take a risk for them, fight for resources, and then enable them to have the flexibility to succeed? Are you their internal ally? Can they tell a story of a time you did any of this for them?
  • Practical Tip: Acquire and nurture YOUR critical internal relationships and clout so you have the personal currency to spend.
  1. Stay Relevant or Retire: Ensure your leadership practices keep up with the times, demonstrating you are attentive to both the personal and professional lives / needs / complications that the post-pandemic work world has created. The task of balancing work life and professional life is now as outdated as the 80s. It is all integrated now. Mental wellness is now a prevalent leadership issue. The expectations of salespeople and their lifestyles were severely disrupted and, by acknowledging this, we can help them problem solve through it. Let’s change expectations of how people work, report, are measured, and are rewarded that reflect YOUR new understanding of how work life has changed. Don’t let someone else be the first to make these promises to them.
  • Practical Tip: Make a list of pre-pandemic management changes you have made and ask your people if this is enough. Update your management approaches with feedback given and keep the conversation open. You are on a crazy, fast, rollercoaster ride. Change is your new best friend.
  1. Motivate! Motivate! Motivate!: And this means one by one by one, regularly. Don’t make the grand sweeping assumption that salespeople are “coin operated” (only motivated by money and recognition). If you set up the commission formula, pat people on the back, give them public recognition, and think you are done for the day, you are missing the opportunity to create massive change in your organization. While it is safe to say you may not choose this profession if those things didn’t matter, our research demonstrates this is not the primary motivator. Our primary motivator is imbedded in us and is called our motivation orientation. Are you dealing with each individual’s motivational orientation and creating environments uniquely enabling them to perform at their best?

As you think of each individual on your team, what is their primary motivator?

  • Security
  • Influence
  • Passion or Meaning
  • Recognition
  • Financial Rewards
  • Serving
  • Determination
  • Accountable
  • Goal Achievement
  • Something Else?

When people are motivated and succeeding, there is a lot more forgiveness for routine annoyances, unnecessary procedures, lacking resources, and unreasonable prospects. When their cup is full… you have lessened the impact of the lure.

  • Practical Tip: Identify what motivates EACH of your people. Ask, observe, and validate. Get to know what gets them out of bed and keeps them coming back fired up. Then, shift your leadership approach for EACH person. This is leadership, not management.

Magnetic sales talent leadership is the sum of a lot of daily habits. Reflect on your daily habits and what has your time and attention. If you don’t see what we just covered, stop doing something and start doing that. The sooner the better. Don’t lose a good one. You can’t afford it.

And feel free to forward this article to your boss ?…

Personal Challenge:
Stop looking at your team and start seeing individuals. Write down each person’s name and see if you can write next to their name: what matters to them, what motivates them, how they view your coaching, and how they view you as an internal Partner Ally. What change do they need in how their work and job are structured, as well as what is expected of them in this new environment. Now do something with that and make the headhunter move on to the next target.



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