Sellers aren’t always motivated by money. The days of expecting people to work 70-hour weeks to hit a quota are on their way out. At the same time, the industry faces a real challenge when it comes to recruiting and retaining sales talent; managers need to train their reps for success, giving them tasks that are controllable rather than a quota with no clarity on how to achieve it. All of this will help improve employee engagement for sales teams and foster a culture that motivates sellers to stay and thrive at their jobs.

Table of Contents

  1. Focus on Activities, Not Only Results
  2. Give Salespeople the Skills they Need to Succeed
  3. Give Sellers Room to Grow
  4. Encourage a Work-Life Balance

Retaining your sales reps is one of the most critical factors in building a high-performing sales team. When a company loses salespeople, they also lose a great deal of institutional knowledge. If you are not retaining sales employees, you are also spending a lot of money and time training new sales reps with no guarantee that they’ll stick around and provide value to the company.

In short, every sales manager should try to hang onto their sellers as long as they can (especially high performers). Here are four strategies for retaining top talent.

Focus on Activities, Not Only Results

A significant factor that contributes to salespeoples’ turnover is burnout. One of the quickest ways to encourage burnout is telling people to achieve results without giving them task clarity. It’s not enough to just set revenue goals and expect sellers to do “whatever it takes” to hit their numbers and become top performers.

In order to improve employee engagement to retain your workforce, stop focusing so heavily on revenue or result metrics. Instead, emphasize the sales activities that are needed to reach your established goals. The number of calls you make, the number of new prospects you reach out to, and/or emails sent are controllable metrics, meaning a sales rep can directly influence them with their efforts. The results will follow.

As a sales leader or manager, it’s your job to let your salespeople know exactly what sort of activities are expected from them. Reverse-engineer the appropriate activity level that your sales team needs based on past performance and industry averages. If you give sales reps clear guidance on what is     expected of them, you can reduce burnout and give them a sense of control over their results. This gives top performers one less reason to leave your sales team.

On that note, we recently analyzed thousands of prospecting activities, the results of which can be found in our free white paper.

Give Salespeople the Skills they Need to Succeed

In order to succeed, you need to improve employee engagement to retain your workforce. Sales leaders and managers providing task clarity is the first step towards increasing employee engagement for a sales team. Afterwards, it’s still up to sales managers and leaders to provide training that teaches sellers how to perform the responsibilities at hand. Selling is a skill, so it’s vital that salespeople continue to hone and update their capabilities. This will help your reps become more efficient and effective in their roles.

Online sales training improves employee morale as well, a much-needed boost to keep them happy in their roles. It will certainly decrease turnover and, if you’re wondering how to engage sales reps, this is your ticket.

Most reps don’t mind hard work if it leads to success. If they find themselves working hard but seeing minimal results, however, it will increase the turnover rate. Make sure you and your sales managers are setting your team up for success through appropriate training and onboarding.

In order to retain talent in the long term, it is important to foster a sales culture of continuous development and training. The way customers want to go about the sales process changes rapidly and per industry. Sales people need to be up to date on the latest best practices and technology. While on-site sales training might be too expensive to conduct on a regular basis, there are plenty of online sales training options that sales managers can leverage to hone sales skills.

If you need assistance with determining the right training approach for your team, consult our free checklist.

Give Sellers Room to Grow

Sales reps are much less likely to leave their current company if there is room for upward mobility. This has to be part of your retention strategy if you don't want your top talent to leave. Most sales teams bring people into the organization through the SDR or Inside Sales roles. These jobs have their own unique challenges but serve as a great way to get trained on the company’s product, industry, and sales in general.

If sales reps feel well-trained and supported by their managers, they may be more excited about moving to other sales roles within the company. Having a role to shoot for will also help boost motivation and employee engagement. This is especially true for motivated top performers, and something you should discuss with all of your new sales hires if you plan on recruiting and retaining the best talent.

Make sure sales reps know that their managers will give them support in their role. Retaining top talent means sales reps should also be rewarded for good performance through promotions, career options in the company, and proper sales compensation. This sort of recruiting and retention strategy will keep top performers from leaving.

If you’d like help with establishing an ideal coaching and learning culture, pick up our eBook on sales coaching today.

Encourage a Work-Life Balance

When deciding to leave a company, employees often mention a lack of work-life balance as the primary cause. Especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales leaders and managers have reported on how it’s tough to recruit and retain top talent.

The sales role, unfortunately, already has a rigid reputation of being a tough job with long hours. Sales doesn’t have to be this way. With proper training and process, selling can be an effective and efficient process that provides success and reduces turnover.

However, there’s more to it than training and process. Retaining sales employees is about having a great sales culture for your team. Encouraging a work-life balance is a cultural choice that starts with leadership. Sales leaders and managers should reward sales reps with time off if they are already ahead of quota. They should not only encourage reps to celebrate their success but also take time to care for their mental health if it’s been a rough period.

At the end of the day, your sales reps have a life beyond the workplace. The better they feel about their lives overall, the more likely they are to be productive and happy at work. This will inevitably help you retain your sales employees and hang on to your top performers. For more information, check out these free sales eBooks and webinars, or get in touch with us today to request a free, 30-minute sales funnel consultation.