Reasons Why Salespeople Quit

By Shane Cotner

Hiring managers know what a headache it is to bring on a new batch of salespeople. It’s time-consuming, hit or miss, and detracts from your ultimate mission. Instead of playing catch-up after a resignation letter comes across your desk, consider the reasons why a salesperson moves on in the first place.

1. It Starts at the Top: Management

Dissatisfaction at work can often be traced back to management. Salespeople dislike over-the-shoulder management. On the opposite end of the spectrum, unsupportive and entirely hands-off leadership repels employees. For talented salespeople to stick around, management must strike a balance: informed guidance that inspires open lines of communication, while giving salespeople the space and support to do what they do best. Management that stays too close to either pole will alienate talent, and salespeople will flee the control freak or the out-of-loop non-communicator.

2. The Right Ambiance: Company Culture

Salespeople in today’s modern workplace crave three key attributes: flexibility, being valued, and time. Flexibility: Often, salespeople enter the field for its freedoms, like working from home or enjoying flexible hours. If these value-adds are possible in your company’s framework, salespeople are more likely to stay happy and on staff. Being Valued: Failure to acknowledge hard work, accomplishments, or build team morale overall can drain your sales staff and send them packing. Group outings are light ways to let your staff unwind and show you’re appreciative of their efforts, while building comradery. Time: In the sales world, it’s not always necessary to put in daily hours at a desk. Oftentimes a salesperson is more effective in the field, taking meetings with potential clients. Don’t let by-the-book rules disrupt a salesperson’s workflow and time management ability—it’s sure to drive them out the door.

3. The Ramp-Up Period: Adjusting to the Learning Curve

It takes a lot of effort to become settled and successful in a new role. Salespeople who are unsupported during the tough adjustment period are more likely to seek other opportunities. In addition to empowering a sales hire with all the guidance and patience necessary, clear yet realistic expectations can also help eliminate the uncertainty of the ramp-up period. Creating a positive adjustment experience can set a salesperson up for lasting success at your company, while inspiring loyalty and ambition on your roster.

4. Broken Promises: Staying True to Your Word, Post-Interview

Keeping up your company’s end of the bargain during a salesperson’s interview—pay rate, benefits, leads, growth, etc.—is essential to preserving talent for the long term. If management promises an opportunity to advance in a certain time frame, it may be the reason why the salesperson took the role in the first place. Be clear, honest, and sure about promises during an interview and if things change, be upfront and work for a resolution. Show good faith and salespeople are likely to remain loyal.

Don’t wait for a salesperson to flee your ranks before addressing foundational issues at the employee level. Avoiding the root causes won’t undo the damage or mitigate it in the future. Instead, take a proactive approach and get to the bottom of any retention problems—it’ll preserve your bottom line, talent pool, and stress-level in the process.

Shane Cotner is a is a professional sales recruiter at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting. Visit, call 952.856.2371 or email