Your worst nightmare came true: your best rep quit. And they’re the only one who knows the details of their customer accounts. As if the situation could get any worse , they’re also taking your biggest customers to your competitor. No distribution manager wants to think about losing their best sales rep, but it’s always a possibility with the competitive demand for employees today. The good news is you will make it through this hardship and keep those top customers - if you follow these 5 steps to minimize the impact of losing your top sales rep. Follow these 5 steps 1. Maintain multiple relationships with the account Salespeople are often the only conduit between customers and their company, but this is not best practice. That’s right, your sales team is not the only team who should have multiple relationships with your top customer accounts. Your organization's leaders should be on a first-name basis with leaders of your biggest clients. This creates greater customer loyalty, especially when their main point of contact leaves the organization. As a leader, you need to establish strong customer relationships by scheduling frequent outreach and performing semi-annual business reviews with your most important clients. Key tip: We know distribution leaders are on a tight schedule, so keeping an automated system of communication efforts in place ensures your customer accounts never fall through the cracks. 2. Capture all customer interactions in your CRM This is a crucial step. Companies need a CRM to track leads, prospects, opportunities, and sales in one place. A CRM with complete transparency makes the hand-off to a new sales rep easier - for both the rep and your clients. This enables managers and new sales reps to quickly get up to speed on customer collaborations, current projects, challenges, and opportunities. An integrated CRM also provides detailed analytics of customer orders, buying patterns, and historical trends to make better data-driven decisions. This collective knowledge conveys a commanding understanding of the customer’s business - which provides comfort that you'll support them moving forward. Key tip: Choose a CRM that keeps customer interaction history available and easy to access at any time . Make it simple for your team to fully capture data in real-time for complete accuracy. 3. Define and document the sales process Distributors spend thousands of dollars hiring consultants to formalize their financial and operational SOP. Only a select few invest the time and energy to formalize their process around the single largest revenue-generating team; the sales team. A study by Harvard Business Review showed that businesses with a standardized sales process see up to an 18% increase in revenue as compared to those that do not. Why? Because standardizing a sales process allows your sales team to save time and unnecessary effort figuring out next steps, freeing time to make more sales (and revenue) for your business. A defined sales process also ensures consistency when accounts transition between reps by providing clear guidance on the hand-off procedure. Key tip: If you’re struggling to define a sales process, focus on what your star sales rep did well, specifically with pipeline management . What made them successful? How can other reps repeat this success? 4. Minimize prolonged gaps in account coverage A change in sales rep will likely make a customer more sensitive to any deficiency in service or response. Salespeople who are not “up to speed” and ready to provide immediate value may be dismissed by the customer. After all, they were used to your best rep’s knowledge of their business. Make sure you can monitor your opportunity pipeline and proactively close any gaps in account coverage after losing a sales rep. Key tip: Ensure your executive team can forecast and manage pipelines and projects with ease so they never miss a beat in customer account coverage. 5. Use CRM and marketing automation for a smooth transition The capability to track all customers and their priority in your business enables a smoother transition of customer accounts. Why is this so important? Management can decide which customer accounts, open tasks, and opportunities should be reassigned to other reps to ensure commitments from the rep you lost are visible (and kept). Marketing teams can quickly access data and build a list of customers to communicate specific account representation changes. Key tip: Automate communications to lower-priority customers if you don’t have the capacity for personal outreach to all. Prioritizing personal outreach for top customers and automated outreach for smaller customers allows you to save time – and save face. Bottom line Follow the five steps above to keep your customers happy and minimize the impact of losing your top sales rep from your organization. Ensure you always have multiple points of contact with top accounts, accessible data with a CRM software , and sales process documentation to help transition accounts between sales reps. This will prevent customer attrition – even when your star sales rep leaves. For more information on best practices to reduce the impact on customer accounts during sales team transitions, contact the WebPresented sales team .