3 Coaching Secrets To Focusing Your Sales Team On Customer Retention

Russ Chadinha

When you take into account the time and energy a sales rep invests, it’s easier for them to generate sales from your existing customers than by pursuing new opportunities. Everyone knows that.

Sure, losing a customer has a significant impact and no one takes it lightly. However, customer retention is less exciting than trying to land a new logo. So, how do you treat retention as a growth topic with the same panache as landing a new whale? How do you motivate reps to invest their time in retaining the right customers?

To improve your organization’s sales effectiveness and productivity, you need more than just words. When coaching reps on retention, the key is to show them that there’s an opportunity for meaningful short-term return when they invest their time with existing customers.

Here are three secrets to focusing reps on retention through effective data-driven coaching:

1) Open sales reps’ eyes with data: First, you need to make sales reps aware of the revenue opportunities within their existing accounts. For this coaching conversation, have data and analytics at the account level and share it with the sales rep. Start with reviewing the data for their largest customers, and walk them through the product and pricing opportunities in these accounts.

Starting with the largest customers gives the rep more motivation to invest their time in pursuing incremental revenue. When you show the rep how much quota they could retire, it’s a big number. Since the rep already has a connection with these customers, these sales conversations are easier to initiate.

2) Explain and share the impact of losing customers: Salespeople are generally optimists, and tend to never think about the possibility of losing. But if a rep’s top five customers are responsible for 80 percent of the revenue they’re bringing in, losing one of those customers is a major setback. When you use data to show them how losing a specific customer would impact quota, it’s often a real eye-opener, and a great way to motivate reps to focus on retention.

3) Establish targets and quotas at the account level: To support your sales team, establish a number that everyone commits to at the account level, and use sales data to show the account size, impact of losing the account and sales targets. When you give reps a clear line of sight as to where their revenue numbers should come from, it allows them to be precise in where they invest their time.

Data-driven coaching is a great way to get their attention and focus their efforts on the most important accounts. Instead of just urging them with words, you’re using concrete information to show them the benefits of retention activities — and the potential costs of continuing along on autopilot.

In any sales organization, customer retention is critical to meeting your sales quota, but that’s a fact many reps tend to trivialize. That’s why it’s important to show them that there’s an opportunity for meaningful short-term return. Once you’ve given them this motivation, establishing clear targets helps them invest their time to the best possible effect. This eventually creates a positive feedback loop that improves your organization’s sales effectiveness and productivity.

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