It’s All About Retention And Growth!


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Ask any sales leaders, particularly those in SaaS based sales approaches, retention and growth in current customers is critical. There’s a lot of data supporting this.

We look at Cost Of Customer Acquisition, learning it is much less expensive to retain and grow a current customer than it is to acquire new customers.

We look at Lifetime Customer Value of long term customers as being far greater and more profitable than those who churn.

We have all sorts of metrics focused on the issues of customer retention and growth. Customer and revenue churn, Customer engagement/NPS scores, Months to recover CAC, our ability to generate marketing traffic/leads and to attract new customers.

We change our approach in engaging customers, looking at Account Based programs to drive higher levels of share in the account, greater retention, and higher levels of growth for our long term and highest potential customers.

Many sales leaders would state, retention and growth is the most critical thing to sales success.

I’m struck by the irony of these strategies. We base our success in growing our relationship and revenues through customer retention and growth, yet we ignore the same strategy when we look at our own people.

While customer retention and growth is critical to our success, we approach the retention and growth with almost the opposite point of view. Research report after research report shows declining engagement. We see average tenure now approaching 11 months. We continue to see declines in virtually every area of sales performance.

Retention and growth is critical to revenue generation and sales growth. Not just that of our customers, but it actually starts with our employees.

One wonders, “What if we applied these same metrics to our people?”

What if we started to look at, and measure: (Since the SaaS world loves metrics expressed in acronyms, I’ve added these for sales people).

  • Sales Person Acquisition Cost? (SPAC) We would look at the total costs of recruiting, onboarding, developing sales people. We might also add in the opportunity costs from lost business for while the sales person ramps up their capability and performance. I suspect when we look at this over the years, the SPAC for sales people who have longer tenure will have smaller SPACs. (We need to find find a different acronym, SPAC means something else to most business people).
  • Lifetime Sales Person Value? (LSPC) Again, retaining and growing the skills and capabilities of a sales person skyrockets the longer we retain them. The growth in their performance and productivity adds an accelerating factor to this.
  • Sales Person Churn? (SPC) Customer churn creates huge costs in lost business and the expense of replacing them with new customers. High customer churn is devastating to revenue growth. Likewise, this is magnified with high sales person churn.
  • Salesperson Engagement Score? (SES) The higher the engagement, the higher the performance. This will also drive higher LSPC, lower SPAC and SPC.
  • Sales Person Satisfaction? (SPS). We know customer satisfaction is critical to retention and growth. We also know it is critical to acquiring new customers. Satisfied customers will refer us to others. Dissatisfied customers tend to make that known, adversely impacting revenue growth. The same applies to our people?
  • The equivalent of leads for sales people, is our ability to attract the right people who would want to join our organizations.
  • and more……

We carefully study and measure everything that impacts Customer Retention and Growth. But we miss, perhaps, the biggest impact on those measurements. It’s Sales Person Retention and Growth. There is enormous research demonstrating the connection between how our people feel about their jobs, engagement, and personal growth and customer engagement and growth.

Retention and Growth is critical to our revenue attainment and growth strategies. But it’s critical for both our own people and our customers.

How are you going to start measuring and improving Salesperson retention and growth? What goals are you going to set to improve this? The sooner you start taking action here, the greater the impact on customer retention and growth.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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