How To Recruit and Retain a Winning Sales Team

The battle for sales talent is never-ending and always challenging. The frequency of transition for sales professionals between companies makes the job of recruiting and retaining top salespeople a critical skill for today’s sales managers.

Choosing the right people and keeping them with your team requires a focus on some key areas of management. Here are some strategies that can be employed for finding and keeping talent for your organization:

Make recruiting an ongoing process.

The worst time to look for talent is when your salespeople decide to leave. The time constraints and urgency of replacing lost talent can force you to compromise and take on convenient talent rather than ideal candidates. Having to live with a compromise can cost you heavily in terms of lost opportunities, skill development and revenue.

Instead, create a system that attracts sales talent. Work with your marketing team to build pages on your website that promote your culture, values and rewards for the type of people you would like to recruit. Ask that when people apply, they also submit information such as their sales results in other organizations and stories of winning hard accounts. Keep an eye out for the high achievers who show a record of winning and would fit well into your organization.

Furthermore, provide incentives for your current staff with handsome recruiting rewards as part of your human resources efforts. For instance, providing cash incentives to friends of current employees who join your sales team could keep everyone focused and on the lookout for the next sales rock stars. Your people know who would fit in your culture, and the incentives are much less costly than trying to hire recruiters. Everyone wins!

Provide ongoing training and development.

No matter how adept your sales team is, there is always room for improvement. Identifying where progress can be made and helping your salespeople overcome their weaknesses not only improves results, but it also creates a motivating work environment. Sales team retention can be kept high with driven staff members who feel they are being adequately challenged and are continually growing.

Training can happen in one-on-one mentoring relationships, e-learning systems or offsite sales seminars. Helping team members develop communicates that they are important and worth investing in. Your sales talent is an asset, and growing your assets by improving their performance not only creates a return in the form of loyalty, but also in the ability to develop sales opportunities.

If you are facing budgetary constraints, get creative by coordinating peer training. Allow for senior salespeople to work closely with junior team members. This reinforces a culture of learning and provides camaraderie for both parties. There are always areas in which a salesperson can improve. Diligent management will make training and development a core strategy for retaining your best salespeople.

The Game of Professional Sales

Professional sports leagues are all too familiar with the game of talent. Millions of dollars are exchanged and negotiated to identify and keep talent on teams or to build the right combination of players for success.

Likewise, today’s sales managers must behave much like talent scouts and head coaches. All talent is not the same. Being systematic and intentional about your sales recruiting process ensures a continuous pipeline of candidates.

Ensuring your training and development programs help people grow is a strategy that requires hard work and organization, but it is well worth it.

The key is to build your talent management system with care and attention to detail. It protects companies from the volatility of the talent market, and it is what winning teams benefit from over the long term.

This post is edited from a CPSA published on recruiting and retaining a winning sales team.

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