How to keep your best salespeople | FirstRain

How to keep your best salespeople

By Penny Herscher

Your sales team is the backbone of your company, but how do you get stellar sales reps to stick around? Turnover is an issue everywhere, but one of the secrets to sales success is finding a way to maintain rock star salespeople.

Costs of turnover
Aside from losing top talent, whenever a salesperson departs, it leaves human resources working overtime to find new talent. Recruitment can drain precious resources. In addition to onboarding and training, you will be paying significant salaries to employees who have yet to achieve full productivity. On the other hand, there are less obvious costs. When a valued team member leaves, it can cause ripples among other employees, according to Christina Gomez for Executive Board sales blog. Losing a trusted colleague can cause decreased morale and sales productivity. As a result, clients can receive gaps in continuity, and sales can be lost. Suffice it to say, you don’t want to lose salespeople, but how do you get them to stick around?

1. Hire right the first time
Do an impeccable job of hiring from the beginning. Hiring can be difficult process at the best of times, but putting in maximum effort will give you greater returns. Don’t be lazy about recruitment. Realize there are different types of salespeople and no one personality type creates the ideal salesperson. What kind of seller does your team need right now? Asking candidates to take a personality test can help to guide you in whether they’ll be a good fit, as Brittany Griffin suggests on Inside Sales. Even if a candidate seems like a winner, delve deeply into their background. Be sure to actually check references and ask follow up questions to find out if there’s anything they aren’t telling you.

2. Provide incentives for top sellers
A big problem with some companies is that they quickly advance salespeople out of vital roles. According to Griffin, a lot of businesses use appointment setters as sort of a training pool before salespeople move on to other more prestigious jobs. These valuable employees specialize in finding sales opportunities for closers and every month they remain, they become 40 percent more productive. Instead of making this an entry-level position, provide incentives for workers to remain there. Every time you advance someone from appointment setter position, you have to replace them, and you’re starting over at zero productivity. Make this a job to aim for, not just a rest stop on the way to something better.

3. Find the right climate
A good company culture can encourage salespeople to remain. According to Gomez, a judgment-oriented culture results in about 15 percent less turnover than other types of management systems. A judgment-oriented culture is defined by an organic environment that is geared more toward building relationships than a sales agenda. Such businesses are innovative and open, with guidelines but no strict rules. Give your employees space to be creative and develop their own methods and they will reward you by sticking around longer.

4. Build leadership and community
For businesses across the board, relationships among staff are the prime drivers of happiness in the workplace. Strong salespeople value good leadership and a staff that can work effectively as a team. According to a recent survey from TINYpulse, transparency is the No. 1 factor that influences employee happiness. Workers want managers to clearly outline their expectations and be open with them about what works and what doesn’t in the sales setting. Even more than that, employees value openness from supervisors, they want it from co-workers. In fact, co-workers were the single most-cited reason employees were happy in their jobs. To make sure sales teams are working together optimally, schedule frequent team-building activities.