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    Best Practices for Effective Sales Team Offboarding

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    When an employee leaves a company, there’s always a period of transition within the company and on their team. During this period, a formal legal separation process is usually handled by the HR department. Additionally, the department manager and team members of the former employee work together to secure any assets and fill any gaps that the departing member leaves.

    On sales teams, this offboarding transition period can be especially critical, because of the customer-facing nature of the role, and the value of the information that each salesperson creates and has access to on a daily basis. Getting the process right ensures a seamless customer experience and the retention of critical value.

    What Is Sales Offboarding?

    Sales offboarding is a formal, structured process of closing the employment relationship with a sales employee and creating a seamless transition for the remaining team. It is essentially the opposite of sales onboarding.

    Sales offboarding involves a number of steps and activities that include:

    • Securing data and processes that the former employee has been responsible for
    • Ensuring a seamless continuation of any sales projects the employee was involved in
    • Formalizing hand-offs of duties and responsibilities

    Because the sales team interacts directly with prospective customers, it’s especially important that offboarding be handled in a professional and complete manner to prevent loss of revenue and goodwill.

    The Danger of NOT Having a Structured Sales Offboarding Process

    While we all hope to retain excellent, happy employees for the long haul, offboarding happens, and often unexpectedly. Whether an employee has chosen to depart or has been let go, and whether they provided adequate notice or are leaving immediately, your team needs to be ready to handle all of the details of their departure in a professional and organized manner.

    Without structured offboarding, you lose a large portion of the value they created while employed.

    The cost of NOT having a structured offboarding process can be especially high for sales teams:

    • If they were managing key accounts and you don’t capture the critical information, accounts can be lost and reputation damaged
    • If they haven’t logged their interactions with customers, you can lose prospects and annoy customers
    • If you don’t capture account information when they walk out the door, the accounts may walk out the door with them
    • If you don’t know what meetings they have scheduled and have a plan for delegating them, you’ll upset customers
    • If you’re not forwarding emails to someone qualified to handle them, you’ll drop a lot of balls that can lead to lost revenue
    • If you don’t understand the details of each prospect or customer situation, you can lose momentum in the pipeline

    Without a structured sales offboarding system, you lose more than an employee: You lose a large portion of the value they created while employed by you.

    How to Get Sales Offboarding Right

    In order to offboard effectively, you need:

    Structured way of selling: Your structured way of selling begins with sales strategy and a milestone-based process. These, coupled with an effective data and analytics platform are the foundation to ensuring both that you’re collecting the information you need from salespeople on a consistent basis, and that they’re following a consistent process that can be picked up seamlessly by someone else on the team.

    Up to date CRM: Many salespeople don’t like to update the CRM, because they correctly understand that it’s designed to play “big brother.” They may also feel that it diminishes their value if all of “their” information is in a shared database.

    The way most CRMs are built reinforces this attitude. They require salespeople to fill out dozens of fields without much benefit to the salesperson themselves, no guidance in the process, and lots of busy work for no apparent reason.

    To overcome this, your CRM has to be built to help your salespeople do their jobs better. It needs to fulfill their “what’s in it for me” drive. When they understand that the CRM is designed to help them be more effective and make more sales, then they naturally want to keep up with it. Your adoption and compliance goes up.

    When your strategy, process, and CRM are working in tandem with each other, then sales offboarding becomes much easier. You can readily see everything that the departing employee is working on, and quickly identify any gaps you need to fill before they walk out your door.

    The consistent process ensures that other members of your team can quickly pick up the process wherever they left off and keep the customers happy.

    Solid coaching: When all your processes and data are in place, offboarding a sales employee and onboarding a team member into their place is relatively simple. However, the process still requires effective management and coaching from a senior team member who can help the team transition into the work that the departing employee leaves behind.

    With these key elements in place, your sales offboarding can be smooth and relatively painless. It reduces the cost of turnover and increases the effectiveness of the remaining team. We believe that Membrain is the best CRM available for B2B businesses to execute on their strategy and ensure that sales employees are following the process and inputting their data to support onboarding, reboarding, and offboarding.

    We’d love to show you why.

    George Brontén
    Published July 19, 2023
    By George Brontén

    George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills, and processes. George is also the author of the book Stop Killing Deals and the host of the Stop Killing Deals webinar and podcast series.

    Find out more about George Brontén on LinkedIn