In today’s market, sales leaders must prioritize attracting, developing, and retaining sales talent.
1. The stakes are higher. With the availability of jobs, employees are less concerned with job loss. Younger generations in the workforce also expect more from employers than previous generations. They are not afraid to either quit or disengage if they are unsatisfied.
2. The cost of losing an employee is substantial, even more so in sales. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the overall cost of hiring–including hard and soft costs–is estimated to be three to four times a position’s salary. In sales, the opportunity cost increases that number. A position with a $1M sales quota will lose your organization over $83,000 a month until you bring in a new hire.
A panel of sales leaders at the Atlanta Sales Leadership Community identified four keys to attract, develop, and retain the right sales talent for your organization.
How to Attract the Right Sales Talent
Our panel of sales leaders identified two keys to attracting the right sales talent: 1) branding your organization and 2) creating a strategic interview process.
Branding Your Organization
Attracting the right sales talent starts with branding your organization. With more employment options in the marketplace, the interview process is now a two-way street. Brand your organization by clarifying and communicating your vision, your values, and your culture. This will draw prospective employees who align with your company as well as prevent bad hires, which cost time and money. Beyond vision, values, and culture, your organization must be competitive in terms of salaries, benefits, and work environment. Employees today want more flexibility. People want to be compensated for performance and allowed a flexible schedule and/or the opportunity to work from home.
Creating a Strategic Interview Process
With a set strategy and brand in the marketplace, you will attract the right talent and can then be more particular with who you hire. Having clearly identified your organization’s values, you can assess those values in potential hires. With younger prospective employees, the panel recommended engaging in various forms of communication in the interview process, perhaps offering text and email components of the interview rather than a traditional interview format. One panel member suggested testing sales competency by sending an email with questions to answer as if responding to a customer. Another suggestion was to include a personality assessment as part of the interview process to ensure a prospective employee is the right fit for your team. Diversity of strengths and perspectives within your team creates value.
How to Develop and Retain the Right Sales Talent
Developing and retaining sales talent go hand in hand. Our panel noted the growing expectation for personal fulfillment and a positive work experience among younger generations in the workforce compared to prior generations. The current workforce holds two underlying expectations: 1) to achieve personal goals quickly, and 2) to be valued and heard by employers.
Achieve Personal Goals Quickly
Employees today think of their individual career independently of the company. From the beginning, prospective employees will want to know what you have to offer them, not just in pay and benefits, but also in experience and opportunities. Once again, retaining your sales talent begins with communicating company culture and values during the interview process. Additionally, work with each new hire to create a development plan that includes not just promotions, but also how they want to be engaged in the company. If you know your employees’ goals, you can help them achieve those goals. And if, in time, you can’t help them achieve those goals, at least you will both understand why they may be unsatisfied in their job. If your organization has a longer sales cycle, what can you do to keep employees motivated and provide opportunities for growth?
Be Valued and Heard By Employers
One way to keep your team motivated is by seeking their input and making changes based on that input. One panel member recommended scheduling a 15-minute meeting with a new hire every week for at least six months to ask what they saw, learned, what was interesting, what they would do differently. This provides free feedback to you as the sales leader and provides a means for new hires to contribute meaningfully to the organization. Make time for regular check-ins with each member of your time; more regular check-ins will yield employees who feel they are a valuable part of your team.
As a sales leader, millennials on your team may want more of your help with personal development than prior generations, but every person in your organization wants to feel valued. Don’t spend all your time recruiting and developing young talent. At the end of the day, every organization is performance-based. The sales leader must create an environment where everyone is recognized for their contributions through compensation, verbal acknowledgment, and eligibility for promotion.
For further information, listen to the full dialogue of the Atlanta Sales Leadership Community. For more information on the Sales Leadership Community or how SOAR Performance Group can help your organization, visit soarperformancegroup.com.