Sales Performance Enhancement

3 tactics for combating sales rep disengagement

Jonathan Hubbard
Jonathan Hubbard
March 1, 2024

Solving disengagement among your sales reps cannot be understated: you don’t want to be waiting for resignations before treating, what is now, a prevalent workplace problem. According to Mike Stokes, only 20-35% of employees are engaged in their roles: as a sales manager, it’s on your shoulders to get those remaining 80-65% of sales reps back on the rails. To give you some inspiration, we’ve gathered 3 tactics you could use to combat disengagement in your sales team. Let’s have a look.

3 tactics you could use to combat disengagement in your sales team

Refocus on creating work/life alignment

Instead of aiming for work-life balance, it’s better to help sales reps achieve better work-life alignment, particularly if they’re in the 25-45 year old bracket.

What’s work-life alignment? According to a 2022 Harvard Business Review article, work-life alignment is about how your work compliments your personal life in both a practical and psychological sense. If a sales rep feels as though their work is detracting from their life, they’re not going to be happy or engaged about working.

To work out where your mid-career sales reps stand on work-life alignment, you’re going to need to set aside a good 30 minutes to ask your reps a few questions individually.

  • Do you feel that during work, your personal values are given room to be acknowledged and incorporated into what you do?
  • Is your role getting in the way of family needs at all?
  • Do you feel as though you have control over what you’re doing?
  • Do you think the work you’re doing each week aligns with your career development goals?

When asking questions, you might not get the full answer on the first try, lead with openness and empathy, and you’ll uncover their pain points.  

Have 1-on-1 stay interviews

It’s no good asking why sales reps have chosen to leave when they’re out the door: while they’re still on board, you could instead ask them what’s making them stay. In SalesHitch Episode 2, sales leadership development specialist Mike Stokes spoke on how sales leaders can combat disengagement using simple stay interviews.

What are stay interviews? These interviews are used to discover what’s encouraging your reps to stay with the company, and what they’d like to see changed. They’re a great way to uncover pain points, and begin the process for company change. 

If you’d like to start running stay interviews, check out the infographic below for potential questions you can ask during a 15 minute chat.

Click here for more detail on sales rep engagement.

Look at building mentoring relationships

As a sales manager, you won’t always have time to give 1-on-1 coaching, a few hours a week, for an entire sales team. Instead, save time by setting up a sales mentoring program. 

What is mentoring? Mentoring happens between two people, usually in similar roles, where the mentor helps the mentee refine their skills and grow their career. It can be an efficient way to help less experienced sales reps upskill, and can be very gratifying for the mentor.

According to 2018 and 2022 Forbes articles, it’s best to keep the following points in mind when setting up mentoring: 

  • A good mentor is an open communicator, who is willing to share their experiences.
  • Mentors must be on a career journey which compliments the mentee’s journey.
  • Mentoring doesn’t have to be purely advice focused: often, having a trusted mentor act as a sounding board for new ideas and problems can be beneficial.
  • Before mentoring begins, the mentee and mentor’s intentions should be clearly communicated.
  • A mentoring relationship needn’t be formal: it can be as informal as you like, providing the relationship is meaningful. 

Your summary and key takeaways:

Re-engaging sales reps takes dedication, be prepared to have patience and make time to have conversations and build mentoring relationships: start by finding 30 minutes. To recap:

  • Talk to your sales reps to understand how they’re feeling about their work-life alignment, and what you can do to help.
  • Set aside 15 minutes every so often to hold stay interviews with your reps to uncover what they need changed to stay with the company.
  • Investigate your options for setting up mentoring relationships among your experienced and less experienced reps.

Discover more from our free to read sources:

Harvard Business Review, 2022, How to Re-Engage a Dissatisfied Employee, by Laura Gassner Otting.

Forbes, 2018, Be One, Get One: The Importance of Mentorship, by Alyssa Rapp.

Forbes, 2022, How To Mentor With Intention, by Jae Sook Evans

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