9 years ago
January 6, 2015

4 Steps You Should Take to Retain Sales People

The mission to retain sales people is front and center for many organizations since higher retention rates result in lower recruiting costs.

Rhys Metler

The mission to retain sales people is front and center for many organizations since higher retention rates result in lower recruiting costs and keep the sales team’s focus on selling, rather than the disruptions that the continual cycling of sales personnel can cause. At the same time, organizations may struggle to retain sales people due to a variety of factors. The good news is many of the negative impacts on the ability to retain sales people are within your organization’s control, and the solutions are likely less costly than you think.

Retain Sales People by Building the Team

Sales people perform best in teams due to the support and collegial competition that teams provide. However, if your sales team is not functioning as a team, this could be a contributing factor to turnover. Make sure that your sales team is operating functionally by including your entire sales team in meetings to discuss direction, brainstorm ideas, or simply get together whenever possible. The better the individuals on your sales team know one another, the better they will operate as a team. This keeps your sales people involved with each other and the organization, making it easier to retain sales people.

Retain Sales People with Clear Leadership

Top sales people want to work for winning organizations, and one thing that all winning organizations have in common is clear leadership. This leadership is seen in the products and services offered as well as in management and executive staff, all of which influences an organization’s overall direction. To help retain sales people, your organization can make a point to emphasize what it and its managers are doing to take and maintain a leadership position in its industry, and involve sales people in that conversation. If your sales people perceive that your organization knows where it is going and what it will take to get there, they will be more willing to stay on to make a contribution.

Retain Sales People by Providing Career Development

Lack of opportunities for development and advancement is an explanation that sales people frequently give for leaving past positions for a reason. Sales people tend to be deeply career focused and will do whatever it takes, including changing employers, to advance their career tracks. This means that if you want to retain sales people, your organization should be focusing on meeting their development needs. Ask each sales person on your team what he or she would like to do better in. This will help you determine the approach to take in coaching on those areas and help you develop opportunities for career development that enhance your organization’s ability to retain sales people. You can then consider:

  • Engaging third party career development coaches for one-on-one or small group mentoring
  • Providing cross-functional training opportunities where feasible and beneficial to sales people and your organization
  • Offering shared expense arrangements to assist sales people interested in advanced education

Retain Sales People by Hiring for the Long Term

One of the habits most damaging to an organization’s ability to retain sales people is not recruiting and selecting sales candidates who are looking for long term careers. Identifying sales candidates who have a stable work history and a commitment to your organization is therefore an important aspect of sales retention, which starts at the very beginning of the hiring process. Highlight your organization’s desire for long term, career-minded sales people beginning with the job description and extending through the interview questions asked of potential candidates.

If your business is facing rapid turnover, it sometimes takes an outsider’s perspective to isolate the reasons behind it. An experienced and qualified sales recruiting firm can help your organization identify and combat the causes of turnover, helping you retain sales people for the long term. Contact a trusted sales recruiter that offers a range of consulting services to improve your sales recruitment and retention processes.

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.