How sales orgs. cause unnecessary turnover

How sales orgs. cause unnecessary turnover


The Bridge Group's latest data shows:

30% = median annual AE turnover

50% = median annual SDR turnover

Sales is about as Darwinian as it gets.

But when you dig deeper into turnover, "voluntary" turnover is about 1/3 to 1/2 of the annual turnover.

Reps are choosing to leave their organization by the hundreds and thousands in the last two years. And I don't believe that's because they're looking for greener grass.

In the last 12 months, I've worked with dozens of sales teams.

Here are the mistakes I saw that drove reps away from the company:

❌ Too many internal meetings

I'm not sh*tting you—I've seen many sales orgs. that require reps to sit in 7-10 hours of meetings every week. Enablement sessions, product training, all hands calls, 1on1s with their managers, etc.

Ask this question: "How does this meeting improve the ROI of our sellers?"

If it doesn't, with rare exceptions, don't require those meetings.

❌ Lack of training

I see this mostly with outbound. Reps have mandatory outbound activity targets. But get ZERO training or coaching on how to outbound.

Don't expect reps to stick around if you don't provide messaging, talk tracks, emails, a playbook, etc.

❌ Too many changes (structure, compensation, etc.)

One client of mine changed their entire org. from segmentation by industry to segmentation by geographic region. An enterprise rep went from working on F500 retail accounts to now working retail, banking, fintech, ecomm, SaaS, etc. Then they changed the comp. plan. All in a 90-day period.

Changes are necessary but sequence them. Don't change too much at once.

❌ Riffs between senior leaders

Another client of mine had a CRO who didn't get along with the SVP of Sales. They weren't on the same page, which affected the entire sales organization. I often see this between SDRs and sales leaders.

Senior leaders: Don't let this fester. Work it out or get rid of bad-fit leaders.

❌ Terrible comp. plans

One sales team punished their Account Managers when accounts were downgraded. Imagine this—you inherit 50 customer accounts. Then, due to circumstances outside of your control (like product changes), several of those customers decide downgrade.


- Rep quota is $1M

- A customer downgrades $100k

- Reps now needs to close $1.1M to hit quota

You can't punish reps in this way for downgrades.

What would you add to this list?