Tips on How to Retain Top Sales People
Increasingly over the 13 years KONA Group have been working with clients the importance on Employee Retention has increased dramatically
With unemployment levels low and a new generation of ‘experiential employees’ coming through; (employees who are looking for experiences at work rather than a life time career) more and more companies have a problem when it comes to retaining their good people and especially good sales people.
Note: while most companies want to retain their employees rather than lose them and have to start at the beginning each time, this does not mean that you would want to retain employees who more of a liability than an asset. We are talking about employees who have a lot of potential to be great at what they do and those who are already exceptionally good at sales.
Good sales people are not easy to find, and good ‘Hunters’ are even more difficult. They are unique and they need to be handled carefully if you want to enjoy the talents that they can contribute to the company as those who are exceptionally good will have no problem at all looking for a new company to work for. Have you ever noticed that when companies ask for volunteers for redundancy it is often the top performers who put their hands up, as they know they will get work elsewhere as they walk out with their redundancy cheque!
So, how do you retain your best sales people?
Instead of trying to find out first what makes them happy, start with the things that don’t make them happy? You should start listening to your people’s grievances because that is where it starts. When an employee starts complaining, that is a sure sign that he/she is not happy with something. Known as ‘Hygiene Factors if a good employee is not happy it typically comes down to one or some of these factors: policy and procedures, overly or poorly supervised, their relationship with their boss or colleagues, work conditions and inequity (I am being more successful than the others so why aren’t I paid more), position and title, salary and security
If you could find a way to find out what is behind their complaints, you will be able to address them.
One of the most common complaints of sales people or any employee is the salary. If your sales people think that they are well compensated, they are earning enough and they get the amount of money that is equivalent to the results they bring in, then they are happy. Happy employees do not normally quit their job.
The second thing that makes people stay with their company is if they have good benefits. Aside from their pay, workers look at their benefits such as being able to work independently, reward structures and company culture. Some very highly valued benefits are not related to money. If the benefits are unique to the company and they are not likely to be able to get the same thing somewhere else, this is more than enough reason to stay with the company.
Always look for different and personal ways to motivate your sales people. While money is often identified as a motivator, do you know exactly what your people are going to spend it on? A holiday, new car, wedding, deposit on a home. If you know this then you can reinforce their reasons to come to work by putting posters, pictures, screen savers and score boards around the office as they progress towards their personal goal. That way they are working for themselves not just you
Sales is not an exact science and this is why your people will greatly appreciate it if you could educate them further, teach them new skills and strategies and let them know what works these days and what doesn’t.
When they have been successful, let them know and celebrate their success. Look for ways to CTDSR – Catch Them Doing Something Right as an acknowledgement from management for a job well done goes a long way. And often it doesn’t cost you a cent.
Final thought: Successful sales people pay the wages of everyone else in the business. So what are you going to do to ensure a) they keep performing, and b) you don’t lose them to the opposition