February 18, 2021

If Your Best Salespeople Leave, Other Top-Performers Will Follow

If you’ve been a manager for a long time, here is something you might not realize is happening with top performers across your entire company.

It happens…all the time…like clockwork.

You might just think they quit...but here's how.

Exciting New Sales Hire

The company email goes out:


Please join me in welcoming Salesy McSalesperson, who is joining our Enterprise-East sales team this week. Previously, Salesy broke all the records for our biggest competitor and worked at our second biggest competitor before that. By combining sales skills, domain expertise, and industry relationships, Salesy will take us to the next level!


SVP Sales and/or CEO

WOW! Everyone is pumped!

Company Sales Update

The next month at an all-hands meeting, Salesy talks about the amazing pipeline that’s being built and how closing deals is imminent.

Everyone thinks Salesy is for real!

Quick Wins

Salesy closes a deal! Then another!

Wow…looks like these industry relationships are paying off!

Stalled Pipeline

No closed deals this week…or last week.

Heck, when was the last time Salesy closed a good sized deal?

Salesy McSalesperson is Out

As some of you know, Salesy McSalesperson is no longer with our company. Please join me in wishing Salesy the best!
SVP – Sales and/or CEO

Here’s What Happens Then…

Now, all other employees are freaking out. The best salesperson in the world couldn’t make it here…the company is toast!

Your best people and those who have seen similar things happen in the past start looking around to see if the grass is greener on the other side.

Others find out about their “looking” and start thinking about making a move themselves.

All because the Salesly hype didn’t pay off.

It’s Not Just Underperformance

I’ve seen similar things happen when “Salesy” was crushing it. However, the future didn’t look as bright as the past, and another move was in order.

Everyone loses hope, and the company (or at least the team) can literally implode.

However, your underperformers will surely hang around. Most mediocre players will as well.

As a result, having your top salespeople leave not only means that the sales team loses its top person/people, but the entire company could be downgraded a level or two.

What Next?

Well, if you lost Salesy, be honest with your team about the reason for the loss and your future prospects as both a sales team and a company.

If you haven’t lost your “Salesy” yet, there are a few things to consider:

  • Avoid Over-Hyping Individuals: It feels good to get people excited about new hires, but the incremental improvement in performance is nothing compared to the disaster that could follow if that person leaves.
  • Constantly Take Temperatures: Understand how each of your top performers feels about the company and its future. Figure out what’s bugging them before they quit...because once they’ve given notice, they’re out…even if they stay for a bit.
  • Build Your Internal Talent Pipeline: Make people’s next internal move more attractive than their next external move. A “real” promotion internally is much less risky than going somewhere else, all else equal. If people actually believe in your company and see a future for themselves, they will stay. Otherwise, they’re out.

Follow Cory Bray and Hilmon Sorey on LinkedIn.

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