What’s The Impact of Sales Management Turnover?


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My friend, Bill Cook, posed an interesting question in a recent post about “The Revolving Door of Unaccountability.” He’s looking for opinions about the effects of high turnover in the sales management ranks.

Here’s my take…

Both top tier and bottom tier sales professionals tend to perform well or poorly pretty much regardless of the quality or tenure of the leader. It’s that mass in the middle that’s impacted the most. High management turnover hurts this bunch – sometimes badly. They need CONSISTENT coaching and CONTINUOUS attention.

It gets even worse typically, when the new leader arrives. That person will naturally be drawn to the top performers since they’re paying the bills and are the best source of insights into best practices. The worst performers will also draw attention. Nothing like demonstrating there’s a new sheriff in town by firing a few folks.

It can easily be six months till the new leader gets to know that middle 1/3. And if the tenure of the leader is six months, those that need a leader most never really get one.

From another perspective, sales management turnover always has a significantly negative impact. When a good leader leaves, of course it hurts. But… the positive impact of a good leader’s inspiration and mentoring lasts for a long time; maybe even for an entire career. When a bad leader leaves there’s also a negative impact. Bad breath truly is better than no breath. Longer term, though, a bad leader’s departure is obviously good thing.

What’s been most interesting to me is what happens when a mediocre leader leaves. It seems to have the least negative impact. Maybe because everyone was and continues to muddle along according to his or her own plans and strategies…

Let Bill know what you think.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Todd Youngblood
Todd Youngblood is passionate about sales productivity. His 3+ year career in Executive Management, Sales, Marketing and Consulting has focused on selling more, better, cheaper and faster. He established The YPS Group, Inc. in 1999 based on his years of experience in Sales Process Engineering – that is, combining creativity and discipline in the design, implementation and use of work processes for highly effective sales teams.


  1. While I recognize that everyone’s experience is different, long term, I’ve never seen anyone in a sales organization thrive–or perform well–under poor leadership. High achiever, low achiever, middle-of-the-road. I don’t agree that the quality of leadership has little to do with results for high and low end. Bad leaders are toxic to everyone. Period. Of course, my observations are anecdotal, so a research study would corroborate or refute my opinions.

    You also mention that “the worst performers will also draw attention,” by their being fired. Could it be that the poor performers in any organization could find improvement with effective leadership? Or is their lot sort of preordained and they’ll never get better no matter who is in charge? That’s a question for HR: if they’re “unimprovable,” how did they get hired in the first place?

    As my first boss told me: “Andy, if you ever have to fire anyone from your department, I’m going to come to you first to find out why you (screwed) up.”


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