Using Talent Analytics to Understand Sales Force Attrition

Common Scenario:

We’ve been down this road before.  It’s an interesting one that shows beautifully the value of using talent analytics to change the perspective and suggest asking a different question.

A large software company acquires dozens of smaller software firms annually. The “aggressive, top performing” sales reps from the acquired company leave soon after acquisition.  The large software company’s question – can talent analytics provide insight into why they are leaving and “what to do” so they stay.

We know talent analytics tell an important part of the story.

Top Performing Sales Reps Leave a role because 1) They don’t like what they’re doing and 2) They aren’t getting what they want.  Talent analytics can measure both elements directly and quantitatively.

An interesting approach is to 1) Measure top performing reps at the large software company.  Look for trends and patterns. 2) Measure top performing reps at the small software company.  Look for trends and patterns.  My guarantee is that you’ll top sales performers at the acquiring firm are likely to be very different from the top sales performers at the small, scrappy acquired firm.  We can see the differences in the analytics.

If this is the case, the question changes to – is it possible that the top sales performer in a small software company cannot be a top sales performer in a very very large software company.  We think the answer is yes.

If the answer is yes, then we believe the large software company may wish to quickly identify sales reps at the acquired company (quickly) who match the top sales performer profile at the large company and perhaps begin to work with them as they have a chance of being a top performer at their new home.

Is it possible the acquired top performing sales reps will never thrive at the acquiring company? If so, how much effort will it take trying to manage and coach them?  How much of a distraction will they be for everyone on their team (since they’ll tend to be verbal and aggressive)?

It sounds harsh, but we also believe it might make sense to use talent analytics to understand the top sales reps at the acquired company and if their profile is completely far from the top performers at the acquiring company – perhaps they should be encouraged to quickly move out of their role?

THIS is how talent analytics can help businesses align talent to business strategy.

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