Addressing Challenges in Salesperson Hiring, Retention, and Turnover

25 May 2022


Sales forces have traditionally struggled with recruiting, onboarding, and retaining salespeople. And in recent months, labor market changes have exaggerated those challenges for many.

This research examines the current state of practice in salesperson hiring, onboarding, and retention, and provides benchmark performance data in these areas across business-to-business sales forces. It examines root causes of salesperson turnover, methods used by organizations to retain salespeople, and the impact of these strategies on sales force and firm results. Building on a similar study conducted in 2017, it closely examines recent changes in firm outcomes, and identified adaptations implemented in response to a tightening labor supply.

Condition of Participation

Research participants are asked to complete an online survey lasting approximately ten minutes, and may optionally elect to participate in a brief telephone follow-up interview.

Participation Eligibility

The study is open to management practitioners responsible for developing, supporting, or managing sales forces; or who are involved with assessing, communicating, implementing, managing, or optimizing sales strategy within their firm. Target participants are involved in executive leadership, strategic planning, sales effectiveness, sales operations, commercial excellence, sales leadership, or sales enablement in organizations with at least US$1 million in annual revenue, or directly employing at least 10 salespeople. Firms or individuals that market technology, products, or services to sales organizations as a core offering are not eligible to participate in this research initiative.

Benefits of Participation

Participants receive:

  • A copy of the findings report on this research topic
  • An invitation to a Sales Management Association webcast in which summary findings are presented to our audience.

Research Timeline

Research closes 1 July.


Survey results are only reported in aggregate, and never in a way that would compromise the identity of any single respondent. All individual respondent data are treated with strict confidentiality, and will not be distributed.

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