Sales Productivity

Go-to Steps to Attract, Coach, and Retain Top Sales Talent

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The sales team is a vital part of any company. Its members play a big role in driving revenue, building customer relationships, and establishing your company’s reputation.

Therefore, it’s crucial to attract the right talent to your company and hold on to the top performers—especially in the current job market.

Let’s dive into how you can attract, coach, and retain top sales talent.

The talent war is heating up

Finding the right sales talent has always been a challenge. But it is especially difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the “Great Resignation” continues, people are leaving their unfulfilling jobs and searching for work that makes them feel valued. They don’t want to settle for less than they’re worth—and in the current job market, they don’t have to.

In this climate, employees have less patience for poor leadership, low-quality data, CRM usability roadblocks, and other factors that make it difficult to do their jobs.

If you hope to attract and retain top sales talent in 2022, prospective candidates need to know that you’re willing to invest your time, money, and resources into making your sales team the best it can be.

Attract top sales talent

Attracting top sales talent has never been more difficult. Here are a few steps you can take to set yourself apart from the competition.

Position your company as a market leader

Top sales professionals are interested in working at high-growth, industry-leading companies. Companies with less-than-stellar track records and high numbers of sales reps who aren’t making quota will need to get creative to entice prospects.

When possible, consider leveraging key client logos during the interview process and highlighting the number of reps making (and exceeding) quota. Emphasizing your reputation can help sway prospects on the fence about accepting your offer.

Encourage your sales leaders to post thought leadership pieces on LinkedIn (or your company blog) to help cement your position as an industry leader. You can also promote case studies highlighting the unique ways customers have benefitted from your products/services.

Promote a pro-sales culture

High-performing sales reps want to work for companies that share their values and recognize them as primary drivers for company growth. Promoting this kind of pro-sales culture can help your company stand out to prospective talent.

A strong pro-sales culture starts at the top, with leaders who publicly celebrate team wins and turn losses into lessons.

Leaders should also find ways to emphasize collaboration and individual competition—both of which great salespeople want to experience on a day-to-day basis.

To find the right balance of competition and collaboration, some organizations pair representatives of varying experience levels together.

Other organizations are turning to sales gamification tools to promote healthy competition with broadcasted leader boards and game-like rewards and badges for hitting targets.

Offer a competitive compensation package

A high-quality sales team is one of the most important investments a company can make. If you want to attract the best salespeople to your team, you need to be willing to pay for it.

Recruiting a top-notch sales team may seem expensive at first. But a poor compensation package will cost you more in the long run. Not only will you miss out on hiring talented salespeople, but the quality of your sales team will suffer—and so will your bottom line.

Find out what competitors are paying to make sure your compensation package is on par. You can visit websites like Indeed, Monster, ZipRecruiter, and even LinkedIn to get an idea of what competitors are paying salespeople in your area. You can also visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook to find national figures.

Since it’s common to see various combinations of base salary, sales commission rates, ramp-ups, accelerators, decelerators, sales performance incentive funds, and time-based bonuses within a compensation package, make sure prospective employees clearly understand their earning potential at your company.

Emphasize job meaning and impact

Today’s employees want to know they’re making a difference when they come to work. Sales professionals have some of the most valuable and important roles in a company. Demonstrating this during the recruiting process can gain the attention of top talent.

For example, if your company is a start-up, explain how the sales team is a vital part of your growth story and that they’re instrumental in building your company from the ground up.

Many times, this starts with creating and sharing a common vision for the company. It may be something quantifiable, like “improve retention by X percent” or something more all-encompassing, like “be recognized as the #1 leader in the X space.”

Be sure to emphasize the importance of your company’s mission and explain to prospective candidates how their role impacts others.

Coach top sales talent

Once you’ve attracted and recruited top sales talent, it’s important to coach the members of your sales team and encourage their growth. This plays a big role in whether they decide to stay at your company or use it as a stepping stone to find another job.

Here are a few ways you can coach the members of your sales team.

Provide opportunities for ongoing professional development

Providing team members with professional development opportunities can help them perform their job better and feel invested in the future success of your company. Ninety-four percent of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career, according to a study by LinkedIn.

Seminars, courses, and internal training sessions are all excellent development opportunities. If you’re able to reimburse team members for taking part in any of these offerings, this can be a great way to encourage their involvement and show them you’re invested in their growth. However, many are completely free. For example, HubSpot offers a wide array of sales training and ongoing development courses.

Conduct regular 1:1 meetings to provide feedback

Having regular meetings with the members of your team (particularly newcomers) allows you to closely monitor their progress.

While it’s important to discuss pending deals and new prospects, sales leaders should also take time to ask representatives where they see themselves in the future. Then, connect them with resources to help them reach their goals.

These meetings shouldn’t be your only touchpoint with employees. Be sure to keep lines of communication open and make yourself available to talk, answer questions, or provide guidance as needed.

Retain top sales talent

You’ve attracted the top sales talent to your team. You’re coaching them to be the best they can be. Now, you need to focus on retaining them. In most cases, this goes beyond offering a ping pong table and free coffee. Here’s what you can do to retain your top performers.

Offer creative sales incentives

Motivating your sales team can be as simple as rewarding them for all their hard work.

When hefty year-end bonuses and promotions aren’t possible, consider offering incentives like extra time off, gift cards, or bonuses to top performers. This encourages healthy competition and gives the members of your team something extra to look forward to.

This compensation plan can shift to align with your company’s larger goals. For example, if you want to encourage new business, offer a higher commission rate for deals that bring in new clients.

Take the same approach during critical selling periods, like the months leading up to the end of the fiscal year. At Validity, we ran an opportunity like this in November. We dubbed November “Go-vember,” and offered our sales team higher commission rates if they were able to close deals and take the “no” out of November.

Clearly define advancement opportunities

Sales professionals are nothing if not ambitious.

The leading causes of employee turnover for top performers are limited career growth opportunities and job boredom. The best talent at any company is going to be focused on achieving higher career goals, so it’s important the people on your team know their hard work is leading them somewhere.

If possible, create a sales compensation plan that clearly defines and differentiates between junior, mid-level, and senior reps. This communicates to the reps that there are advancement opportunities within the team.

Then, take the time to develop a career map for everyone on your team that clearly explains the requirements for advancement at each stage of their career. For example, if a junior-level sales rep hopes to become a senior rep one day, identify what it will take to reach that goal (i.e., higher education, years of work experience, understanding of CRMs, demonstrated leadership skills).

Provide the tools needed to do their job well

As a sales rep, there’s nothing more frustrating than wasted time—after all, time is money! Minimizing the amount of time spent on non-selling activities, such as CRM data management, frees up your sales team to do more of what they love.

Sales professionals can spend hours each week updating and searching for data in their CRM, which keeps them from getting on the phone and selling. In fact, our data shows 68 percent of CRM users feel the time salespeople spend digging for data pulls them away from their core tasks. A tool like GridBuddy Connect, from Validity, can help your sales team be more productive and satisfied in their roles by combining all the data they need into one editable, spreadsheet-simple view.

Instead of wasting time clicking back and forth between tabs and windows to access data, they can quickly view all their insights in one place and get back to doing what they love most: making sales.

Conclusion

Hiring a high-quality sales team is crucial to your company’s success. Following these steps can help you attract top sales talent and ensure they stay with you for the long haul.

Now that you know what it takes to assemble and retain a successful sales team, it’s time to start investing in its members.

To learn how a platform like GridBuddy Connect can help your sales team be more productive, drive more revenue, and love what they do, check out our infographic, 5 Ways Technology Can Unlock Your Ultimate Sales Productivity.

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