How to retain your best sales talent

Waitress taking order on phone at restaurant [Courtesy]

Sales are the ultimate source of revenue generation for any business.

Without making sales, a business will quickly suffer losses and die. It is akin to running a charitable organisation or engaging in a hobby.

That’s why salespersons are a crucial part of your business team. They have direct contact with your clients.

Without successful salespersons, a business will go broke fast. All those amazing employees who design, build, service, support, account, manage and lead will simply not have their jobs.

In other words, nothing good happens in any business without an effective sales team.

Unfortunately, excellent sales talent is difficult to come by. Retaining high-performing salespeople is even more difficult.

When a salesperson leaves, the relationships they had built with your clients suffer. In some cases when they leave, they take your clients with them to a competitor.

It takes time to train new hires and for them to build relationships with clients.

With that in mind, when you find hard-working and effective salespeople for your brand, retaining them should be a priority. Here are some tips to help you retain your best sales talent:

Create Competitive Compensation

Compensation is the most important factor in retaining salespeople. Poor compensation is one of the most common reasons for salesmen to change jobs. Sales representatives quit for higher income in 89 per cent of the cases.

Competitive compensation is, without a doubt, essential for attracting and retaining top talent. Benchmarking against industry and peer data is the best approach to guarantee competitive packages.

By comparing your current incentive plans to those of other companies, you may use data to guarantee that your salespeople are adequately compensated.

This keeps them from joining your competitors.

Set Proper Expectations During the Interview Process

When interviewing a new salesperson, make sure you set proper expectations for them. They should have a clear picture of the kind of environment they’ll be working in and their expected performance. Refrain from inflating the benefits of working at your organisation while downplaying the drawbacks. Being transparent about the environment you work in and your challenges will serve you better in the long run. A motivated salesperson will not be intimidated; they will recognise that each sales job opportunity has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. If you fail to set the right expectations at the onset, your staff are more likely to end up frustrated and unhappy with their job. That is likely to lead to a high turnover rate of sales talent – which tend to be very costly to a business.

Have Realistic Expectations and Goals

Because top salespeople are competitive, they are goal-oriented. They want to have set goals that are both achievable yet demanding enough to put them on their toes.

Research the average results for a good salesperson and inflate the number a little. Then equip your team with the resources they need to reach those goals on a monthly basis. Make sure you keep track of your staff’s success. This will help you address any challenges and offer rewards.

Open up communication lines to keep sales talent informed about their performance, which plays a role in fostering a positive and transparent working environment.

Offer Performance Incentives

High-performing sales reps can be motivated simply by recognising them for their efforts. Here are a few simple but effective incentive ideas:

  • Provide a gift card or a cash prize to the highest performer each week or month. Because money is a powerful incentive, you can use this strategy to recognise top performers while encouraging the rest of your staff to increase their sales numbers.
  • Give top performers some additional time off. Who doesn’t enjoy some extra downtime? An extra day or two will leave them more energised and motivated to make sales.
  • Buy a special top-performer chair and assign it to the best performing salesperson each week or month.

Creating incentives and rewards for performance makes your team feel appreciated. As a result, they will be motivated to work harder and even turn down job offers from competitors.

Conduct Exit Interviews

Exit interviews are important for all your staff. They provide you feedback on your human resource practices and your products or services. Simply asking why your top-performing salesperson has chosen to leave can help you make positive changes to reduce turnover. Let the individual know the purpose of the interview and assure them of confidentiality. You want to get honest feedback that will help your business grow.

Ideally, an exit interview should be conducted as a one-on-one conversation between the exiting salesperson and a HR manager or business owner. That way, they’ll not be intimidated by a gang of superiors. It’s also never a good idea to have the interview conducted by the person’s direct supervisor – their relationship could affect the feedback.

Ask the right questions and take notes. For instance, you could ask about your company culture, staff morale, relationship between co-workers and supervisors and the pros and cons of working for your company.

Putting effort into retaining your sales talent will pay off in the long run.

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