Is It Really Burnout?

Word on the street is that internals burn out after 3 – 4 years. Being told something will happen can make it happen.  The burnout prophecy frames expectations and signals there’s something wrong with the internal if there’s no hint of an outside job on their horizon.  And lately the winds are blowing in the wrong direction as more internals and fewer externals are hired.

When the job of the internal was to furiously dial and pitch this prediction made sense.  The job has changed, yet the expectation of burnout remains.

The new job of the internal is complex, often free of routine administration tasks and requires a much higher degree of strategy and skill. Advisors increasingly prefer phone interactions. In fact some argue that the skills required for successful internals are beginning to rival the external position.

Frustrated sales desk managers fight the good fight to keep their best players, inspire the difficult to inspire and invest a huge chunk of their time recruiting, interviewing and training just to stay even.

High turnover is expensive. Yet the hourglass continues to empty.

A big driver of the ‘gotta get off the desk’ mentality is the tantalizing pay an external commands coupled with the perception of the jail sentence if promotion doesn’t happen.

For some moving to the outside is truly a job they want to take on. At the same time, the position may not be appealing to some for a variety of reasons, family life being a big one.  So why are we still coveting the external role as the primary a signal that you made it?  Why is that career path the only one that delivers stature? What gain might firms experience by making it ok to stay on the desk, continue to hone skills and work with top advisors.

The degree to which compensation needs to change is a question mark. The first step is managing the perception.

How can managers begin to influence the reality that sales has changed and that many successful externals are morphing their skills to include selling over the phone and via technology – the mainstay of the internal job?