For sales organizations, the only thing harder than finding and hiring top performers is retaining them.
We’re talking about skilled professionals with impressive resumes, capable of propelling any business to success, which means that they can pick their next employer. In a word, they’re keepers, and you should treat them as such.
These sales superstars have a strong work ethic and are looking for a company that will not only offer them a competitive paycheck but also an opportunity to grow and prosper.
A positive workplace culture is also a must if you want them to stick around.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a solid employee retention plan, so I’ll tell you that according to estimates, the annual turnover rate among U.S. salespeople is 27%. And that’s two times higher than in the overall labor force.
It’s also very important to mention that the cost of replacing an employee ranges between one-half and two times their annual salary.
So, without further ado, let’s discuss what you can do to keep your top performers on your sales team.
Establish a Beneficial Compensation Model
I know I mentioned that money isn’t the only way to make your top talent happy, but it does count.
It’s crucial to show them that you value them and their efforts by rewarding them properly for their hard work. If your top performers notice that their compensation isn’t fair based on what they offer you, they will leave.
Undoubtedly, having an individualized compensation plan that is tailored to each sales rep’s preferences, motivational factors, and needs is an ideal solution. This system works well for a broad and diverse group of salespeople. Some of them prefer cash, others favor gift cards, while recognition is what makes a number of them tick. Similarly, certain reps are more motivated by quarterly bonuses, while others respond better to receiving a reward for their annual quota.
In order to keep your sales reps motivated at all times, you should think about introducing larger retention bonuses that would be paid out after 1, 2, or 5 years, as that will increase the odds that they will stay with the company long enough to collect these rewards.
Set Clear Expectations and Provide New Challenges
Sales is a numbers game, which is why you need to set measurable goals and milestones and provide your sales reps with a way to track their progress easily.
Whenever you hire a new salesperson, let them know what their role will be as well as what they can expect to receive in return. It’s crucial for your new hires to understand what they will get themselves into if they decide to accept your offer, so be sincere and don’t try to sugarcoat things.
Even if there are some challenging aspects of working for your company, let them know during the first interview. This can even be a kind of test – those who are driven and up for the challenge won’t be scared off.
Also, you should bear in mind that top performers crave fresh challenges, so make sure that they don’t get stuck in a rut.
The fact that your top performers are overachievers doesn’t mean that you should reward and praise them only when they close a big client. Celebrating small victories will prevent them from losing motivation and looking for a more supportive and encouraging workplace where all their endeavors will be recognized.
Besides, when your sales reps feel that what they do on a daily basis contributes to the overall success of your company, they will be more engaged. Expecting them to land only huge deals can be draining and lead to frustration.
Finding success in everyday activities will keep your top performers engaged and make their work consistent.
Create a Tight-Knit Company Culture
It’s no secret that the sales industry is fiercely competitive. That can be a good thing as it pushes sales reps past their limits, but in some cases, it can get out of hand and result in internal conflicts.
Fast forward a bit, and your workplace has turned into a toxic battlefield. This can hurt your bottom line and the productivity of your employees.
How to find the right balance?
It’s very simple: encouraging friendships and camaraderie among the members of your team. Even the stats support this idea – 58% of men and 74% of women would turn down a higher-paying job if it implied not getting along with their coworkers.
That’s why it’s particularly important to break the walls and encourage communication between the members of your sales team. As this profession tends to be solitary, sales reps can greatly benefit from having someone who understands all the challenges they face firsthand.
Now that many sales teams are working remotely, it’s even more important to find a way to get your sales reps (and other employees) together. This can be a weekly Zoom meeting during which they’ll have fun quizzes, talk, and get to know each other.
Provide and Ask for Regular Feedback
Even top performers need to hear whether you’re happy with their work, and it’s up to you to tell them – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Don’t hesitate to offer constructive criticism, but make sure that it’s done from a place of empathy and understanding.
One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to providing feedback is being vague. So, don’t tell your sales reps that they should improve their numbers and productivity because that won’t point them in the right direction.
Instead of that, ask them whether they have been struggling with certain tasks and try to pinpoint which methods in their sales approach aren’t working. Then analyze the information together and come up with specific ways that will help your rep overcome these obstacles.
For example, if your sales rep struggles with prospect objections, help them think of responses they can use in such situations. This will require them to unearth the reasons behind every rejected offer and talk to the prospects who said no openly and sincerely.
Or, if you notice that prospects don’t exactly buy into your sales rep’s pitch, make sure that the salesperson in question understands the value of your product or service and help them articulate it more clearly. This issue can also be a red flag that you should improve your onboarding and product training process so that every single employee realizes why your solutions are beneficial and effective.
Keeping your top performers is worth your every effort. To achieve this, you’ll have to create a work environment where they want to be. You can’t expect your business to thrive if the same doesn’t apply to your sales reps and other employees. Finally, top performers aren’t born but made, meaning that if your workplace culture is great, you can expect to grow them yourself.