Training key to slowing sales staff turnover rate

One in five sales staff leave their jobs each year and the turnover rate is
increasing, according to research by Pursuit NHA International.

It reveals average turnover rates for sales personnel are nearly 20 per cent
and this is on the increase in 40 per cent of the 100 companies surveyed.

The direct cost of filling vacancies averages more than £80,000 per company
per year, the study finds.

Ben Ballard, a consultant for Pursuit, said: "It takes a minimum of
three months to fill a junior vacancy and proportionately more time for senior
positions, the result is that sales teams are constantly operating below
authorised manpower levels. This adds to lost sales and increases pressure on
the rest of the team."

He advised companies to put a greater emphasis on areas such as training.

The report says companies are reacting to the problem, with 64 per cent of
firms planning to increase their training and development budgets over the next
financial year.

Managers have a key responsibility in retaining key sales staff the report
concludes and it advocates the use of staff surveys to monitor employee

Julia Hampshire, managing director at Sodastream, said one of the main
reasons her company does not have a turnover problem in its sales department is
because it gives sales staff a say in its marketing strategy.

"We learned early on that this is important if you want to keep job
satisfaction. We pulled sales and marketing together so they now regard
themselves as one team.

"We also provide people with the opportunity to progress and promote
from within," she said.

By Ben Willmott

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