Executive Interview

Six Keys to Recruiting, Ramping, and Retaining Selling Talent in a White Hot Economy

Sales rep attrition rates have skyrocketed in recent months. This is due to a confluence of external economic, demographic and workplace issues.

More and more, we find ourselves in conversations with CEOs, particularly in the technology industry, who are scrambling to find and keep sales talent. We’ve seen companies lose 80% of their talent following an acquisition. In Silicon Valley, it’s not unusual for firms to lose 25% or more of their sellers every quarter. 

These kinds of numbers are damaging on many levels. A five percent increase in sales rep attrition across your sales team can increase selling costs 4-6% and reduce total revenue attainment by 2-3% overall. For low growth and low margin companies ten points of salesforce attrition can wipe out revenue plans and margins if nobody picks up the slack.  The difference between a 5% attrition rate and 25% means cost an increase of over 50% in cost to sell and revenues drop by 20%.

But many of the reasons sales organization struggle to attract, develop and retain high performing sales reps are the result of internal process and management issues.

Michael Smith, the Senior Managing Director, Blue Ridge Partners discusses how organizations are adapting to this “great resignation” and putting in place systems, processes and performance plans that can dramatically stem the tide of rep attrition, attract new talent faster, and build the foundation for a highly productive revenue team going forward.

In this interview, Micheal Smith shares the success his team has had helping organizations eliminate the points of failure in their rep recruiting, ramping and retention processes and create an environment where sales reps can succeed and stay. He will explain practical ways to address these core issues:

  • The scale and scope of the talent crisis in sales
  • The economic price organizations pay for not addressing the issue systemically
  • The underlying reasons why it is so difficult to attract, recruit and retain sales talent in the current market
  • The key points of failure in the process for recruiting, ramping and retaining sales talent
  • Six actions every organization can take stem attrition and attract and develop new talent today


Michael Smith
Michael Smith

Michael Smith is the Senior Managing Director, Blue Ridge Partners. Mr. Smith is an authority on virtual selling and sales channel acceleration. He has helped over 300 organizations unlock new growth by designing new organizational approaches, incentives and systems to optimally reallocate sales time and resources to the best customers, markets and territories He and his team at Blue Ridge Partners have led the commercial transformation of dozens of enterprises and advised Private Equity Investors, their Portfolio Company CEOs, and Operating Partners on ways to generate greater returns on their portfolio investments.


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