The reputation sales talents have for changing jobs is second to none – and often put down to stress and long working hours. It’s hard to retain top sales talent. Even top reps leave.
It only takes a few months of this kind of staff churn to realize your top sales reps are your brand’s only currency. No sales, no business!
But how do you find good sales talents, embed them well, and retain them long term? And (to play devil’s advocate) why would you keep them, if the reported close rate is around 19% across all industries? Surely, they’re the less-than-top talent.
On the other hand, in a different scenario – if you’re one of the lucky ones – you probably just wish you could clone your best talent and have a team of them! The quality just isn’t out there anymore, you believe.
But hold on a minute. Is it really the quality and scarcity of sales talents? Or is there a wider issue at stake that involves your whole business?
In this article, we’ll look at retaining top sales talent from a positive perspective, acknowledging that there is something you can do now about the situation.
We’ll discuss how to
- ensure your company offers what a sales talent is looking for long term
- grow top talent from within by helping them understand and buy in to your overall business strategy and feel involved and upskilled
- make the best use of your CRM app to scale up your sales the “customer-centric” way.
Let’s deep-dive into these observations.
1 Ensure Your Company Offers What a Sales Talent is Looking For Long Term
This should be your number one priority. It’s well known that sales talents will only stay with you if they:
- Enjoy their day-to-day work with you and come to work energized.
- Feel involved and important to your success.
- Have some mental challenges that offer interest and a sense of satisfaction.
- Receive development training that improves their career prospects.
- Receive fair compensation in terms of the right combination of salary, commission, and incentives – in their eyes.
- Have clarity of purpose, knowing what is expected of them and when.
Emphasize Your Company Culture
It’s good to emphasize the culture and the ethos of your company – and any core values you ask them to agree to – at interview in order to attract the right people in today’s competitive market. A cultural fit is key to retaining talent.
In the background, you can also be ensuring there’s no inducement to leave after only a few months in post. What you don’t want in your sales team is:
- Resentment against managers
- Frustration at the actual job, as it turns out to be
- Co-workers who’re not up to the same standard as new reps
- Seeming unfairness in either pay or benefits.
And if you’re thinking of outsourcing to a recruiter, it’s important to make sure you’ve shared your firm’s ethos and expectations (positively!) with them. They have wide-ranging choices, and you want them to swing the choices to your advantage.
2 How Your Company Can Grow and Retain Top Sales Talent From Within
In addition to all the above points, your current sales team needs to really understand the sales funnel of your company. This relates to the service or product you’re selling. This is because expensive products and their closing deals are not short funnels. B2B products and services, in particular, are often a serious expense to be considered by many further up the hierarchy before a deal is closed.
Despite this hierarchy, you do need knowledge-sharing, horizontally and vertically, so that your sales team can flourish. So, when training sales reps, don’t assume a once-off onboarding is sufficient. It’s a shared and ongoing process of developing. This is the process many new employees demand.
7 Things to Consider
The following are 7 things you should also consider in order to grow your sales talents and upscale your business – as well as retain your sales stars:
1 Give them a playbook that covers what they need to know, including not only your product or service offering in detail, but also sales strategy, story, process, various buyer personas, and the processes in your company.
2 Encourage ongoing, embedded learning – use visualization if need be so that the brain activates the knowledge again when in the actual situation.
3 Use regular team sessions to go through case scenarios practically, and experiment with teaching each other to retain the knowledge in a fun way! Teaching is learning, and learning from others increases everyone’s skills. Never neglect training!
4 Link your sales team more closely to your marketing and finance teams in a mutually cooperative ethos – making sure they all know what they’re doing and why. In this way, your sales team can better understand why they need to be agile in their role as circumstances change.
5 Share sales analysis in a way the sales reps can buy into. In addition, help them understand sales forecasting and how it relates to emerging trends, marketing, and their sales calls.
6 Help reps understand the wider use of your service or product. Supported by manufacturing information, product development, marketing, and finance, your sales team will feel involved in the business as a whole, gain valuable skills and knowledge, and want to stay long term.
7 Consider adding a digital knowledge management system (DKM). All users of the system in the future have the advantage of immediate access to what they need to know, when they need to know it. This feeds back into your firm in many ways, as well as embedding the sales teams’ learning for future.
3 Use a CRM App so Sales Talents Can Improve Growth the Customer-Centric Way
There are two reasons the CRM app is important.
- We said above that retaining top talent partly relies on reps feeling involved and developing their skills. Without the information in the CRM app, this is difficult.
- When your team has all the information they need about current, past, and prospective customers readily available in the CRM, they can focus on customer-centric selling.
Firstly, this means that sales reps can easily see where a prospect is on their customer journey (whether a shorter or longer one). They can then make more suitable contact instead of pushing a sales pitch inappropriately.
For instance, the customer may have clicked on an email campaign and watched a webinar, and then received a follow-up email before requesting a consultation. Top sales talent will be able to judge the progress of this journey and offer (for example) some technical information, a free months’ trial, or an explainer video – whatever will meet the prospect’s need. They know they won’t be able to close this deal till the prospect is ready!
Secondly, even after judging where the customer is on their journey, your top sales talent has all the information stored in the CRM to inform them about the prospect and their needs and likes. This information has been gleaned from notes on previous calls and conversations.
After all, the prospect is, first and foremost, a person. And CRM information is a good way in to that humanity aspect.
As an example, your skilled sales rep will judge the balance between the prospect’s known personal desires and their professional desires. Buying decisions are always based on both. And sales closures are often more relational than transactional.
The CRM information therefore helps them offer both personal reasons to buy (reduce your stress, make you look good, help your career, etc.) and professional ones (reduce costs, solve a problem that’s holding the business back, improve efficiencies, etc.).
Without sales you have no business and without sales talent you have no one really capable of building and scaling up your business via excellent sales skills! Sales are therefore the face of your business. You need to be able to find and keep top talent.
The good news is your top line is our bottom line. If you’d like us to help you build a top sales team, schedule a free consultation today!