Portland, Oregon — April 11, 2023
In 2019, Logical Position faced a problem. Our agency’s sales department was experiencing a spike in employee turnover, and exit survey feedback indicated that people struggled to learn their roles at the speed we needed them to. At the time, sales staff made up 36% of our employees, so we rely heavily on them to drive new business, and it was critical to get to the bottom of this problem.
While it may have been easy to chalk it up to those employees not being cut out for sales, we believed there was a training-based solution that would not only reduce turnover, but also improve overall employee satisfaction. And so, after careful evaluation, we were compelled to completely overhaul our onboarding and development processes. After implementing the changes, we were elated to see some amazing results that reverberated company-wide. If you’re looking to improve your company’s employee turnover and retention, we identified four key steps that have made a measurable difference for both our employees and business.
Step 1: Use Exit Surveys to Identify Areas for Improvement
Exit survey feedback showed us that many departing sales employees felt that they did not receive the support they needed to succeed in their roles. As we looked closer at their experience, we realized that our method for training new hires was no longer effective, and, as a result, was not serving our organization the way it once had. While our existing training method had certainly uncovered some strong salespeople, too many others were struggling to find success. We wanted to create a solution that set all new hires up for success, which we believed would improve our employee’s experience, reduce turnover and increase sales.
Exit survey data also helped us learn that our sales managers lacked bandwidth because they were responsible for both closing deals and coaching our newcomers. We knew that whatever changes we made should free our managers to focus on what they do best: bringing on new clients.
Step 2: Reimagine Onboarding and Training
We believed that getting creative with our onboarding and training processes would address both problems we were seeing. To do this, we created an entirely new role, the Sales Development Coordinator (SDC), who would lead training and create a consistent onboarding experience for all new sales team members. SDCs would also work one-on-one with new hires to offer more support as they developed in their role and provide entry-level evaluations to share what employees were doing well and discuss where they could improve.
In our view, by giving our employees more focused and consistent training early in their careers, they’d be in a better position to find long-term success. We hoped our new SDCs would also free up our sales managers to give greater attention to the rest of the team’s processes.
We launched the SDC pilot program at our headquarters in Portland, Ore., and saw immediate results. With the training and support improvements we made, new hires were learning their jobs faster and closing their first sales sooner. Retention was also improving because new employees were experiencing more success in their roles. These happier and more satisfied employees also started making bottom-line contributions — the average sale amount for new hires increased by 29%.
Step 3: Upgrade Employee Product Knowledge Through Robust Training Opportunities
In the past, we had focused on Google Ads as our primary product. However, digital marketing has evolved, and there are now more ways than ever to reach customers. Today, most business owners understand they need to take a holistic approach to digital marketing, and we’ve expanded our services to meet those needs. But as our product offerings grew, we realized we needed to help our sales staff better understand the full breadth of our services.
To solve for this, we expanded our training approach from one week to a robust six-week program. Each week, SDCs helped new reps learn about one of our six services: pay-per-click, paid social, Amazon, search engine optimization, email marketing, and web development. As a result, new sales employees are now better armed with a full arsenal of tools they can offer every prospective client.
Step 4: Create New Quality Incentives
As our sales talent pool improved, we needed more visible career paths for personnel to achieve. We began by improving our pay model and publishing earnings. As a result, many of our sales staff began seeing an increase in their average take-home pay, some as much as 40%. We also developed a new tier to reward sales excellence called The President’s Club. This program gave our sales team a top target to shoot for and rewarded them with new incentives and a more cushioned pay structure. To track these changes, we launched a company-wide dashboard showing sales wins and celebrating small victories like scheduled appointments and call volume.
As more of our team achieved incredible results, we increased our incentives by creating the Business Development Executive (BDE) position. The BDE role offers full autonomy for our highest performing team members, who can move leads through the entire sales process from prospecting to closing. While the bar to get there is high, we’ve gone from six BDEs to more than 40 since the program’s inception.
A Transformed Department
Today our sales department operates and performs much differently than it did three years ago. Instead of using the sink-or-swim method, we’ve designed an entirely new system to provide support and feedback as they learn a challenging new role. Our improved compensation plan also enables our sales team to see more rewards for their hard work while incentivizing them to stay on the LP team longer.
These changes have made a measurable difference in our employees’ experience and our bottom-line results. Since launching the SDC position, we’ve seen improved retention among our sales staff. On top of those gains, these more tenured and satisfied employees are also performing much better. We’ve broken every internal sales record across the board. The results are clear: Investing in enhancing our employee’s experience solved our retention problem and brought remarkable sales improvements beyond what we ever thought possible.
Key Changes Made the Difference
Today, it doesn’t matter where our new hires onboard because they all get the same comprehensive training experience. That consistency has dramatically improved our employee satisfaction, not to mention how it benefits our customers and company.
Achieving those results didn’t take significant structural changes. Instead, we identified a problem and made targeted changes to improve the employee experience. The results we’ve achieved with the SDC program have worked so well that we’ve begun replicating this approach in other areas of the company, like our paid search program. This experiment is evidence that when we keep our focus on employee experience, our organization will have the fuel it needs to continue growing in the years to come.
About Logical Position
Logical Position (LP) is a digital marketing agency offering paid search, shopping, and social advertising, search engine optimization, and website design. LP has won consistent accolades as an Inc. 500 company, a Microsoft Advertising Global Channel Partner of the Year, a Premier Google Partner Award Winner, a Fastest Growing Company (Portland Business Journal), a Top Workplace (The Oregonian), a 100 Best Company (Oregon Business) and #3 Best Workplace in the country (Inc.). Headquartered in Lake Oswego, Ore., LP’s team of 900 employees is spread throughout the United States and together they serve more than 8,000 clients.