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You need to improve your sales offboarding process – now

You just found out that one of your top sellers is leaving the business to take on a new and exciting challenge – do you have an offboarding process to minimize disruption and lost productivity?

This article is not for human resource teams; it’s written for Enablement Practitioners and Leaders seeking to help their customer-facing teams and their business grow and thrive.

In this article, we will cover:

  • Why should we care when an employee leaves?
  • Discuss, briefly, why this is not just a job for human resources
  • Best practices for a formal offboarding process and an essential offboarding checklist

Let’s briefly review why do we care?

The turnover rate for sellers is in the range of 25-35%. This article from Harvard Business Review shows 27% in one study, and I’ve seen studies showing 33% and higher.

And, according to Gallup, it’s getting worse amid the Great Resignation. The poll found that 48% of the American workforce are actively looking for new jobs.

And, I know you’ve heard this before, the cost of seller turnover ranges from 1.5 – 2X their compensation (conservatively), a result of lost productivity, hiring a replacement, onboarding, and so on.

It’s expensive, and it’s getting more costly for your business every day.

And that’s just for the employee who is leaving.

When you look at the impact on surrounding employees, you could have a catastrophic situation if the employee’s departure is handled poorly.

  • Lost productivity in other employees.
  • Job dissatisfaction if the rumor mill takes off

A smooth transition benefits the employee, their teammates, and the entire business.

Isn’t this a job for the HR department?

Yes. And no.

Your HR team will most likely take care of the following for an exiting employee :

  • The exit interview
  • Gathering up id badges, company credit cards, and other loose ends
  • Disabling application and network access
  • Reviewing benefits documents and taking care of their last payroll.

And all of this is critically important.

Your HR Manager focuses on creating a positive offboarding experience, but they are not well-positioned to minimize the overall cost of seller turnover.

You need to be.

An offboarding checklist for your customer-facing teammates

Okay, your HR department has done its job; what should your role, as an Enablement Professional, include?

Here is an offboarding checklist for you to use to minimize the impact of employee turnover.

Understand the HR offboarding processes

Avoid creating confusion and wasting time by duplicating the HR offboarding program.

Partner with your human resources team to identify the appropriate points in their process to inject the Enablement aspects of offboarding.

Be transparent

There is nothing wrong with your business or team; don’t keep an employee’s departure secretive.

People leave.

Thank them for all they have done and wish them ongoing success.

They, and the rest of the team, will appreciate it.

Perform your exit interview

But keep it focused on improving your Enablement efforts.

Ask all departing customer-facing teammates:

  • What have we done well for you to help you sell in this role?
  • Where could we improve our efforts to help better and serve the next seller coming in the door?

Shield prospects and customers from disruption

While not critical for your offboarding checklist, consider incorporating peer-level selling into your process if possible.

Have a consistent knowledge transfer process for prospects and customers in place.

Building off the previous item in our offboarding checklist.

Your offboarding process should capture details that will least impact prospects and customers that the outgoing employee has been working with while capturing information that will help new hires during their onboarding process.

Ensure, for every prospect, that the sales manager, or the new sales rep, has a clear picture of the actual state of the deal and that your CRM reflects all conversations, members of the buying committee, and next steps.

For every customer, identify:

  • All existing unwritten understandings and expectations
  • Key players and existing attitudes and concerns for each
  • Any challenges that have occurred with the products or solutions they have bought
  • Progress towards achieving the business objectives that led them to purchase from you initially.

Also, for existing customers and prospects, discuss opportunities for cross-selling and upsell and potential reasons for eventual churn you should be aware of in the customer.

Dig into closed deals

If you are already using a consistent win-loss process, this may be a non-item.

If not, sit with the seller and review all deals closed in the prior three months, whether won or lost. See our article on win-loss reviews to learn how.

You do not want to lose this insight, and this is your last chance to obtain it.

Obtain a reference

What?

If your seller is leaving for positive reasons and has loved their job, use this as an opportunity to obtain a reference for future job seekers coming to your company. Just like buyers look at references before buying your solutions, job seekers seek information about your business before accepting a new offer.

Ask former employees to leave your company a review on site like Glassdoor.

I hope you find this offboarding checklist helpful and that you will share any additions you have.

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