8 years ago
April 18, 2016

How to Hire and Retain Top Sales People

Hiring and retaining top sales people isn’t as easy as you might hope—but it’s critical to your company’s success. Learn how to do so effectively.

Rhys Metler


You want to hire sales people who always consistently go above and beyond your sales targets. You want a sales team that will allow you to increase your company’s revenue growth. But hiring top sales people is no easy task. In fact, for most sales organizations, it’s a never-ending challenge.

Additionally, you want a sales team you can depend on—a sales team that will be there for the long term. When you spend so much time training and coaching your reps, it can be discouraging to have a high turnover rate, which is incredibly common in sales. Unfortunately, it’s just as difficult to retain great reps as it is to hire them. And both issues need to be a top priority at your company if you want to see consistently high revenue and profits.

Follow these steps to excel at both hiring and retaining top talent.

Always Be Recruiting

Let’s face it, if your hiring period only lasts for a few weeks at a time, when you’re actively seeking out new reps, you’re going to miss out on top talent. Make your company available all of the time. Always accept resumes. Always interview. Always recruit. This way, you can not only save yourself from the bad hiring decisions and mistakes that come when you hire under time constraints, but you will also allow top talent to contact you at any time, so you don’t miss out. The fact is there really is no bad time to hire a great rep—don’t miss out on opportunities by limiting your recruiting time.

Define Your Ideal Sales Rep

It’s time to stop with the vague job and employee descriptions. The more you know about your ideal sales rep, the better chance you have of being able to identify the right person for the job. Put in some time and effort to observe your current sales team. Take note of the common characteristics and skills that make your best reps great at their job. Write down all of the responsibilities that the sales person will be handling so you can more easily match the right person to the right job. When you get specific with a success profile, you’ll be able to weed out the bad and identify the great more effectively.

Help Your Reps Succeed

Even if a sales person you’ve hired has experience in the field doesn’t mean that he’ll know exactly how you do things, what results you expect, and all of the tricks of the trade that will help with success. Effective training and coaching new hires is critical to retention. Don’t throw new hires to the wolves and expect them to perform well. Take the time and effort needed to help them become top earners. Provide support instead of just waiting for them to fail.

Provide Proper Compensation

You can’t expect to retain top talent if you don’t pay these reps adequately for their skills and experience. Money is still a key motivator and of high importance to sales people. Make sure you have a good mix of base salary, commission, benefits, and bonuses.

Offer Career Progression

Though money is a one of the biggest motivators, don’t overlook the need for career progression as well. Top sales people are motivated and ambitious. They won’t stick around if they don’t see clear and visible career progression in the near future.

Recognize and Appreciate

Your top sales people might seem like machines hard-wired to sell, sell, sell. But you can’t forget that they’re human beings like the rest of us. They work hard for what they achieve, and it wouldn’t hurt to recognize their hard work and appreciate all that they do for your company. A sales person that feels underappreciated will not want to stay at your company for very long.



Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.