Sales & Marketing Attrition: Where’s Everybody Going?

As a sales and marketing employee, it’s always a bummer to see a fellow coworker hit the road. Adios, coffee break sidekick. Farewell, office BFF. But as sad as it is to see a trusted pal leave for greener pastures, it’s even worse for sales and marketing managers who have to deal with the costly effects of employee attrition. But what are those effects, exactly? And why do sales teams seem to take the brunt of the fallout? Read on to learn more about sales and marketing attrition and discover expert tips on how to mitigate future flight.

Attrition v. Employee Turnover

Before jumping into the weeds here, let’s start with a few basic facts surrounding attrition—what it is and how it differs from employee turnover.

Attrition occurs when an employee voluntarily leaves his or her position within a company, and the company then forgoes refilling that role. In contrast, turnover happens when employees you intend to replace leave the company over time.

And yes, some attrition is good, like when a less-than-desirable teammate eventually decides to quit. But when a star performer resigns, it directly impacts his or her department’s ability to redistribute work, causing bandwidth issues that reverberate across the company. However, when attrition happens specifically at the sales and marketing level, the problems only exacerbate. That’s because sales and marketing staff generate the most revenue of any organization, so when a single person decides to fly the coop, that business’s entire sales model starts to crumble. Think of it as a game of Jenga—the more sales and marketing staff exit the building, the shakier that company’s foundation becomes.

Costly Effects of Sales and Marketing Attrition

Every time a sales and marketing employee makes a voluntary exit, his or her company doesn’t just lose skilled talent; it also loses valuable funding. Want proof? Take a look at these stats:

• U.S. firms spend $15B per year training salespeople and another $800B on incentives. Attrition reduces the ROI of both expenses. (Harvard Business Review)

• It takes up to 200% of a sales rep’s annual salary to find a replacement for that position. (Xactly)

• Organizations spend about 6.2 months to fill an open sales position. (Xactly)

• When hiring new sales staff, organizations spend an average $100,000. That’s $15,000 on hiring costs, $20,000 in training, and $75,000 for a typical first-year salary. (HR Daily Advisor)

• A bad sales rep hire can cost the company upwards of $2M. (Xactly)

• 44% of sales reps across the U.S. plan to leave their job within the next two years.

Why’s Everyone Leaving?

We here at Demand Science commissioned an independent research study that surveyed 1,000+ senior marketing and sales decision makers at B2B companies across the United States. When we broached the subject of employee retention, a mere 13% of surveyed companies admitted to keeping sales rep retention above 90%. And when we asked survey respondents about their decision to leave a particular role, here’s what they said:

From 2021 Sales and Marketing Agility Benchmark

Boosting Sales and Marketing Retention

How can today’s sales and marketing professionals develop enough resiliency and foresight to prevent departmental attrition and kick-start future growth? It’s all about building organizational agility. You can read all about it in our latest benchmark report, Agile Sales and Marketing. There, you’ll not only learn four key indicators of sales and marketing agility, but you’ll also discover six different ways to develop the agile processes so essential to employee retention.

Download your free copy today!

2021 Sales and Marketing Agility Benchmark Report