Snapshot view: Technology Sales and PS, Retention

Below is direct feedback from Sales and PS employees about why they left or chose to remain with their employers.  We also include a few comments from hiring managers.

 

The topic is obviously important because Sales and PS employee retention has a direct impact on revenue and customer satisfaction.  The information may be insightful.

 

We inquired with 17 Xtra Effort candidates and hiring managers from our 29 “placements” in 2013. (As a reminder, since 2001 Xtra Effort’s focus has been helping high growth, enterprise technology and technology related service companies hire Sales, Sales Engineering, and Professional Services/Customer Care personnel across the larger USA cities. The conditions of these smaller companies may produce different experiences and comments than large mature companies)

 

DURATION OF EMPLOYMENT across twenty nine 2013 hires and their respective employers:

4 hires:   1 – 12 months
10 hires: 12 – 24 months
10 hires: 24 – 36 months
5 hires:   36+ months

Summary of comments: (see spreadsheet for actual comments across the 17 stakeholders)

 

Sentiment among EMPLOYEES who have left within 12 months:
-Product did not perform
-Manager was difficult to work with
-False expectations of existing pipeline and customers he would inherit; no presales support; outdated solutions offerings
-Was laid off because the company did not grow as expected, her role was redundant from the hiring manager

Sentiment among EMPLOYEES with 12 – 24 months duration with employer
-no direction from sales leader or company; no training
-no collaboration; company seemed directionless; no visibility into company’s status and direction
-the product development team was out of touch with market needs, “too much time engineering in a vacuum without customer feedback”; no intra-company collaboration
-new executive team took over the company and implemented 100% turnover in sales force
-They did not hire Professional Services people required to produce happy clients; “I was required to support unhappy clients but received no revenue and commission credit on customer renewals”

Sentiment among EMPLOYEES with 12-36 months duration with employer
-remains with the company, loves his involvement with large enterprise deals; loves being recognized for his favorable impact on his employer
-too few internal technical presale resources to support prospect evaluation cycles, delaying sales cycles; too much time internally fighting for resources, not enough time to sell
– performed well; likes his boss but the company was sold, resulting in a new management team;  proactively left the company in advance of surprise sweeping changes

Sentiment among EMPLOYEES with 3+ years duration with employer (still with employers)
– my manager supports me, “has my back”
– lots of potential for growth
– likes the diversity of clients across different industries; very interesting projects; learning a lot, growing; can see his impact to his employer; good relationships with his managers (open door policy; no micro management)
– Product performs as promised and is needed by customers; company is financially solid; strong work life balance; opportunities for international travel
-likes the work environment and the need for work/life balance, seeing success $, likes boss’s willingness to provide advice and dive into problem solving
-Lot of opportunities for growth and autonomy
 

Sentiment among HIRING MANAGERS towards employees who have remained with company for 3+ years

-“We have strong alignment in culture, environment, mentor-ship, suitable compensation, and suitable roles”

-“We have competitive pay; direct and frequent feedback, continuous coaching”
-“the hires that remain with us hustle; are comfortable with conversations and trustworthy, they thrive when adverse conditions surface”

 

Sentiment among HIRING MANAGERS towards employees who remained with company less than 12 months

-“He was all talk, no action”

-“I should have listened to my gut. He did not have a strong track record of success”

 

Common themes, or “takeaways”:

  • Employee retention is strongest with frequent, specific, and genuine communication; detailed and accurate prehire expectations for resources, solution strength and maturity, and performance; employer recognition for an employee’s need for growth and diversity of tasks; appreciation for impact on a company
  • Candidates being interviewed should be asked why they left previous positions, and hiring managers need to detect excessive blame for product and not taking any responsibility for their status
  • Candidates should ALSO BE ASKED WHEY THEY STAYED with their longer duration employment stints because it will help surface what conditions are important to them; the hiring manager can then determine if his/her company has the resources and environment to support the candidate

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