Salespeople Have Some of the Highest Turnover Rates — But Here's How You Can Retain Them. In today's age of sales, it's important to ensure your hiring process is solid. The goal is to always seek high-quality, qualified people to work for your company or teams. Spending time in this process has been the key to my success through the years, so let's dive into some key points I have used for success.
- To have a strong sales team, you need to start by recruiting the best talent.
- Once you have the right salespeople on your team, you need to offer the right training and growth opportunities to keep them around.
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It is impossible to scale a business without a strong sales team. Recruiting top talent is only the first step; you need to give your team members reasons to stay.
Salespeople have some of the highest employee churn rates as high as 35%, whereas other employees usually hover around 13%. This means you need to make sure you're vetting right from the get-go during your recruiting phase and making sure your training and retention strategies are valuable to keep your salespeople from leaving.
If you want top sales talent, you need to make sure your company stands out. What's your unique proposition? Why should top candidates work for your company over others? Just like you attract the right customers with your unique selling proposition, you need to attract the right job candidates by creating the right atmosphere.
Start off by having a clear job description that's realistic. I recommend including what the exact job requirements are as well as what the ideal candidate would look like. Many times, companies only include hard skills like being able to use certain customer relationship management systems, but it's important to remember that soft skills are just as important — and sometimes even more important. Technical skills can change as the industry changes or technologies advance, but soft skills are specific to the person and can help a person with their adaptability.
I would argue communication skills are one of the most important soft skills to look for when hiring for sales. In my company, Strategic Advisor Board (SAB), this is the number one skill I look for. Many skills can be taught but in my personal experience, I've noticed it's a lot easier to teach hard skills to most people over soft skills.
You want to make sure your new employee's personality meshes well with other employees' personalities, especially if they'll be working closely together with others in the organization. You'll also want to ensure they have the same values your company does. Consider including your other employees in the job interview process. You might even want to have it as a two-part interview process where they meet with you in the first half, and then the rest of your team in the second half.
Competitive compensation and perks
Although there can be many different compensation options, offering growth opportunities both financially and position-wise is a great way to set yourself apart from your competitors. I've always been one to believe if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers. It's all a cycle and it's important for employees to feel valued.
You want to set up your sales team for success, and a huge part of that will be how you train them. When my sales associates are starting out, I'll get them to record their calls so we can look back and see at what point they may have lost the client. I suggest making sure you're going through all aspects of the sales process from prospecting to qualifying questions, nurturing, pitching and objection handling.
Listen more, talk less
Top sales associates only talk 43% of the time in B2B sales, and they allow their prospects the other 57% of the time to talk. This is why getting your sales associates to record their calls is important. Teach your reps to ask open-ended questions to get your prospects talking more. Not only will it allow your reps to understand the prospect's pain points better, but it will also build a better rapport between the two individuals.
Focus on solutions and value
Many sales reps miss the mark when it comes to pitching and they tend to focus on the product's features rather than the value provided. After your sales reps have pitched, I recommend getting them to ask prospects why they think this specific solution would help their problem. This way, the prospect is convincing themselves that your product is the correct one for their problem, and they're reiterating the value so your sales reps can make sure they didn't miss any important information when conveying to the clients.
Ask for the sale
About 63% of sales calls end without the sales rep asking for the close. This is shocking to me as it's something that can be so easily changed. I recommend creating a sales script for your reps that includes a list of vital questions that should be asked on every sales call. This is what we do at my company: Every new sales rep gets put under the training of a senior sales rep and is given a script to follow for prospecting and pitching. Eventually, we encourage our closers to go off script and make it their own once they're more comfortable with the process — but until then, it's important to have a standard practice that everyone follows so no crucial steps are missed.
A huge part of salespeople retention has to do with compensation, positive workplace environments and room for growth. All of that should be addressed during your recruiting and training processes. Something else that needs to be addressed is for management to be understanding of salespeople's plights. Burnout and lack of motivation are two major concerns.
It might be surprising, but it all starts with an efficient onboarding process and setting your new hires up for success. This is the first real impression your new employee will have on your business. Many employers think good first impressions are limited to customer interactions, but it's just as important to focus on your internal team. I'm a big believer that if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers. Onboarding also helps stop problems before they start and it helps get your new employee integrated with the rest of the team. It can be overwhelming to be a new staff member and having a comprehensive onboarding process gives them a way to ease into their work, the environment and into meeting the rest of the team.
Give and get consistent feedback
Ask consistently if your salespeople have everything they need to do their job in the best way possible and if they have something in mind that would improve their roles, such as new software, hardware or equipment. It should also be a two-way conversation and not a one-sided review. You should always get your sales team to record their phone/video calls so you can review them together. Don't review it on your own and send them feedback; watch it together to give live feedback and let them ask questions as you go along. Also, get your sales leaders to share their own personal stories and problems and how they overcame them. It helps build rapport and a connection when you can share specific, personal examples.
This type of understanding needs to come from the top. Train your managers on how to motivate your sales reps. Keep in mind that everyone has different motivations but the most common ones include wanting to move up in the organization and having a work-life balance. A total of 89% of sellers experience burnout from their sales work.
With that number being so high, it's no wonder work-life balance is important. Sales require a vast array of skills and require your sales reps to be mentally tuned in and on much of the time. Along with hearing "no" a lot or having a dry sales streak, this can be demotivating. Find what works specifically to motivate your individual reps, be there to support them and make sure they understand they're not alone.
To have a strong sales team, you need to start by recruiting the best talent. Recruitment includes starting with a clear job description, having a positive company culture and creating a unique proposition with salaries and perks. Next, you need to make sure your training is setting them up for success. It should include topics such as making sure they listen to your customers, focusing on solving problems during the pitch and asking for the sale.
Lastly, in order to have high retention rates, focus on going back to the beginning with the onboarding process to make sure you set expectations and stop problems before they happen. Make sure you give and get consistent feedback and understand what motivates your employees in order to stop burnout. Give your sales team a reason to want to invest their time and skills in your business by doing the same for them.