The 3 Main Reasons Why your Sales Managers Want To Leave

Posted on Monday, April 26, 2021 by Graham Quinn

High managerial turnover in sales can cause many short and long term negative effects on a business. But did you know that the average cost of turnover in the wireless and mobile telecoms sector per employee (with average earnings of €143k euros) can cost the business around a third of salary, ie, around €50k just in terms of the immediate impact and cost of replacing, or even much more!

Think about it – Say for example, one of your sales manager’s decides to leave your company for a competitor – he/she will most likely be asked to clear his/her desk straight away. It’s likely take a month to get sign off for the head requisition, or maybe it will prompt an internal re-org of the team, which can take months and runs the risk of upsetting other members of the team. Typically, the recruitment process will take another 3 to 4 months, possibly longer if there’s a skills shortage, which is often the case in this sector and then, when you finally have an offer accepted, the candidate may take another 3 months before joining, as he/she will have to serve notice and in many instances, candidates like to take the opportunity for a holiday to clear their mind before embarking on a fresh challenge – that’s 6-9 months of lost sales at the very least and that could cost the company millions! If that’s not bad enough, it will take several months for the new sales manager to ‘get up to speed’ so you are likely to incur further losses in revenue during this time. (Future blogs will offers strategies to help reduce costs to the business when one of your sales manager’s leaves).

And this is all because your sales manager, for one reason or another, chose to leave your company. 

How to avoid this? I hear you ask, well the solution is to keep your employees happy, so they don’t leave. But in order to increase employee retention, you need to understand why your employees are leaving…

Which is why we created a detailed European Employment Survey 2020/21 focused on senior and mid-level sales managers, as there is a lack of research in the industry of the kinds of people who are employed and their motivations. We therefore split the report into 3 sections to:


  1. Identify who is working in the industry by age, sex, seniority and country.
  2. Analyse sales managers current benefits at all levels of seniority
  3. Analyse what people are looking for in their next job and the reasons for wanting to move.


One key point that comes out of the survey is that 61% of respondents are ready to move jobs in the next 6 months; so the message to employers is, you must know these 3 reasons why your sales managers may want to jump ship, so that you can put an action plan in place that tries to minimise the risk of them leaving.

  1. They Want a Higher Salary


No shock there that having a higher salary is ranked as the number one choice (64%) for respondents wanting to change jobs. In fact, a higher salary was the number one choice for all levels of seniority for both men and women, although women ranked the highest at 76% and men at 52%.

Now, money isn’t always everything to your sales managers, in fact amongst younger generations like millennials, money is no longer the most important aspect of their work life, but instead career development, having the flexibility to work from home and to work for a company with a good image are this age groups main drivers.

To avoid losing your members of your sales team, we recommend you to stay on top of your competition, or at least the same level as them in terms of salary to prevent your valuable sales managers from leaving. Many publicly quoted companies choose to give top performers share options, which they can sell in future, thereby driving loyalty. It also haves the benefit of giving top sales performers a stake in the business, so their success translates into a better share price, which in turn delivers better financial benefits for the employee.

2. They Want A Better Boss.      

One of the top reasons why employees want to leave their role is because they simply do not like their boss (or think they can get a better one!) with 58% of respondents who said they were looking to leave in the next 6 months highlighting this as a ‘must-have’ in their next role.

We have all heard the saying ‘People don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses’, but did you know that wanting a better boss is actually a key driver for those looking to leave their jobs within the next 6 months?

Terina Allen from Forbes emphasised that ‘people really don’t want to work for a boss who doesn’t support them, or one whose poor and ineffectual behaviour actually puts employees’ career prospects and promotional opportunities at risk.’

It is not uncommon for a bad boss to compel good employees to leave their jobs even when they do like the company. So, in order to keep these sales managers from jumping ship, it is important to nurture your relationships so that they feel valued and supported; as long as you build and grow on these key relationships, your sales managers shouldn’t want to leave your company, or at least not because of you anyway.


3. They have Unrealistic Targets

Last but definitely not least, unrealistic targets has proven to be another important category, with 47% of respondents flagging this as an issue.

The main reasons for this is because over ambitious targets are de-motivating and could result in a lack of job stability, as well as loss of earnings. Because of the current economic climate with the COVID-19 pandemic, unrealistic sales targets are the last thing that sales managers want to worry about especially when they could be at risk of losing their job in such an uncertain time; because of this, it is likely that job stability will grow in importance for people when exploring new job opportunities. (We will explore further in our next survey).

Effective goal setting is extremely important in a sales environment but, there is a fine balance in setting realistic targets that will stretch their abilities to achieve what is best for the company, whilst at the same time motivating them in a positive way, rather than receiving targets they know they can’t achieve which, effectively switches them off from the task. This is counter-productive for company sales and profits; as well as leading to a de-motivated sales team that will start looking for jobs elsewhere.

And that sums up our 3 top reasons why your Sales Managers want to leave, according to our European Salary & Employment Survey.

Please click the button below to download the full survey.


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