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How Your Company’s Attrition Rate Could Be Impacting Your Business

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How Your Company's Attrition Rate Could Be Impacting Your Business

Happy employees are the key to a successful business. According to the University of Oxford, happy employees are 13% more productive. High employee satisfaction can go a long way towards your bottom line.

Of course, when your employees are not happy, that shows too. You’ll likely see a slowdown in productivity, a change in the work environment, and you may start seeing an increase in employee turnover.

What have you noticed in your own organization? Are employees loyal and in it for the long haul, or are they leaving in droves? If you’ve been seeing more and more employees leaving the company in a short amount of time, it might be time to calculate your attrition rate and examine what’s really going on in your organization.

There are a variety of metrics that you can use to determine how your employees are doing. Many of them focus on productivity metrics such as progress to goals. However, these productivity metrics don’t tell the whole story.

That’s why it’s important to understand your attrition rate to help determine the health of your organization. Let’s discuss what an attrition rate is and how to lower it.

Understanding your team’s attrition rate is important for the health of your organization because having a high attrition rate can have devastating impacts on your team’s success. With too many experienced team members leaving at once, you run the risk of losing valuable organizational knowledge and losing revenue from repeated hiring and onboarding costs.

Now that you know what an attrition rate is, let’s review how to calculate it for your organization.

How To Calculate Attrition Rate

To calculate the attrition rate, take the number of people who have left your company (or team) and divide it by the average number of employees over a period of time. You then multiply that figure by 100 to present it as a percentage.

attrition rate: how to calculate the attrition rate of an organization

Let’s say at the end of the year you had 500 employees in your organization. During the first quarter of the following year, 100 employees left. This would leave you with an attrition rate of 20% for that time period.

It’s worth noting that a team’s attrition rate can be subjective based on the size of the company. Though there is no single number that is considered a good or bad attrition rate, later on, we’ll cover the important factors to keep in mind when reviewing your team’s attrition data, and when to take action.

Before we dive into that, we need to understand that not all employee exits are created equal. There are four different types of attrition and each one may be saying something different.

Types of Attrition

People leave jobs for various reasons – some voluntary and some involuntary. Let’s look at the four categories of attrition and what they mean.

  1. Voluntary attrition occurs when an employee chooses to leave a position on their own accord.
  2. Involuntary attrition occurs when an employee has been released from the company.
  3. Internal attrition occurs when employees move from one position to another within the same company.
  4. Demographic-specific attrition occurs when there is a noticeable pattern of a specific group leaving a team or company during a given time period (this can be age, gender, ethnicity, parental status, etc.)

Internal attrition is generally not a cause for concern. If employees feel comfortable staying within the same company, it’s often because overall, the culture is good and they are just looking for a promotion or new opportunity.

This can, however, be an issue if an entire department makes an exodus to other areas of the company. This suggests that you may have a management problem in that area.

Next would be involuntary attrition. These employees are being asked to leave the company. They may have been performing below expectations or weren’t a good fit for the role. When this happens, it’s a good idea to review hiring procedures and guidelines to ensure your team is hiring individuals who have the best chance at being successful in their role.

Voluntary attrition is much more concerning. If you have a large number of employees leaving the company at once, there may be an issue with your company culture, management, or compensation. In a bit, we’ll discuss how to identify and correct these issues.

Finally, if you are seeing demographic-specific attrition, there may be a very big problem at play. When people of the same gender, age group, ethnicity, sexual orientation, parental status, or any other personal characteristic are leaving en masse, it may be because of systemic issues in how your company is structured and operated. A close examination of your culture and operations is warranted.

High Attrition Rate

As mentioned above, attrition rates are relative depending on the size of the company. To understand if your attrition rate is higher than it should be, compare your attrition rate to your retention rate for the same time period. Your retention rate measures the number of employees who have remained in your organization.

To calculate your retention rate, divide the number of employees who have remained in your organization by the number of employees you started with (this should be the same figure you use to calculate your attrition rate) and divide this number by 100.

If you suspect a high attrition rate, it’s important to compare your numbers to other companies in your industry, in your geographic location, and within the company, compare departmental attrition numbers to other areas of your business. These comparisons will alert you to any problems or may put your mind at ease.

Aside from the possibility of having an unhappy team, there are several other problems that can occur when your attrition rate is high.

  • Frustrated Employees – When someone leaves, their work doesn’t stop getting done. Often other employees will have to take over their responsibilities until a backfill is hired. In some instances, that individual’s role may not be filled, and their work may be absorbed by other members of their team which could lead to overwhelm and burnout.
  • Team Dynamic – While you may not love everyone you work with, professional teams have often built rapport with one another. When one person (or more) leaves the team, there is an adjustment period that can be felt throughout the department.
  • Loss of Knowledge – If an employee chooses to leave, they will sometimes provide enough notice to document their processes and procedures for their replacement. However, even when they do, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to provide them with the depth of knowledge they have accrued during their tenure.
  • Resource Constraints – Hiring costs can add up. It’s estimated that it costs about 50-60% of the departing employee’s salary to hire a replacement for their role.

Average Attrition Rate

With all this talk of attrition rates, you’re probably wondering how your company compares to other organizations out there.

First, it’s important to note that attrition rates can depend on a lot of different factors. As you can imagine, the stress level in certain industries and roles is considerably higher than in others. This may sometimes account for higher attrition rates. Geographic concerns such as rising home costs could also impact the number of employees leaving their jobs.

In 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the average turnover rate was 57.3% across industries.

Low Attrition Rate

It is important to note that while a high attrition rate can be bad for business for the reasons listed above, an extremely low rate could be detrimental as well. Why? Because without the ability to bring new employees who offer unique perspectives and skillsets to a team, an organization could reach a point of stagnation.

Bringing new people to the table can increase ingenuity and creativity, and help a company make positive changes.

How to Lower Your Attrition Rate

If you’ve calculated your attrition rate, compared it to other departments and other companies, and deemed it high, it’s time to get to work. There are a number of actions you can take to lower this attrition rate and put your company back on the right path.

The most important step is getting to the root of the problem. What is causing employees to leave? This is the biggest piece of information you need to make the correct changes.

Conduct Exit Interviews

There is nothing more valuable than feedback from an employee who has nothing to lose by being completely honest. You can set up a formal exit interview as employees give notice.

You’ll want to discuss a number of aspects of the business with them, including:

  • Pay and Benefits – Your employees may be leaving simply because another company is offering them more.
  • Recognition and Appreciation – Did they feel as if they were appreciated for their hard work?
  • Management – If multiple former employees point towards the same manager as a source of their issues, you may have a leadership problem on your hands.
  • Culture – Were they happy working for you? Were there aspects of the job and the atmosphere that caused stress or frustration?
  • Mental Health – Even the best compensation can’t make up for unbearable stress. Were workloads too heavy? Was there an unhealthy work environment for employees?
  • Safety – Did they feel that their safety was in danger as they carried out their responsibilities? If so, did they feel comfortable bringing their concerns to management? If they did speak to management, did they feel heard, and were any changes made?

Staff Interviews or Surveys

While current employees may feel more hesitant to air grievances, they can still offer valuable insight into the employee experience. While you may have workers willing to talk about their perceived issues, you may receive more thorough and honest feedback using anonymous surveys.

If you do choose to speak one-on-one with employees, avoid having interviews be conducted by their manager. If the problem is with management and leadership, they may not feel comfortable providing honest feedback.

Finally, if you do seek any feedback from current employees, ensure that their honesty is confidential. If any information shared in confidence becomes public knowledge traceable back to a specific employee, it can be a breach of trust and inhibit future feedback.

Employees leaving is a symptom of a problem, not the problem itself. While a high attrition rate can be concerning in any organization, it’s important to do the work and find out what’s actually causing the issue. Once you’ve identified areas for improvement, seek to make the necessary changes for your team.

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To
  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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