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From Impossible To Inevitable by Jason Lemkin, Aaron Ross

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Chapter 13Scaling the Sales Team

A bad system will beat a good person every time.

—W. Edwards Deming

If You're Churning More Than 10% of Your Salespeople, They Aren't the Problem

Sales culture's different compared to pretty much every other function, in that it expects most people to fail or succeed almost totally on their own. Companies assume “We'll hire 10 salespeople to sink-or-swim and a quarter to half won't make it.”

CSO Insights' studies show average sales team's annual turnover of around 25% (it varies by a few points year to year), with half quitting and half fired. That means out of 100 salespeople, 25 are lost every year. So you need to hire (and train, and ramp, and transition pipeline or customer accounts for …) an extra 25 salespeople per year just to tread water.

But—what the hell? Would you hire 10 HR people and then expect to fire 3 to 5? Managers? Supply chain people? Losing a quarter of your engineering team, total employees, or customers would be a board-level catastrophe. But it's accepted, even expected, in sales.

Sales team churn is especially expensive because of the time required, the lost opportunities, and customer frustration. They are your face to customers, people!

At EchoSign, in growing from $1 million to $50 million in revenue, no one quit from VP Sales Brendon Cassidy's team. They were making a lot of money, knew what they were doing, and had fun. Why would you want to leave that?

Imagine you work at a growing company, and you might be hitting ...

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