How Sales Leaders Can Hire and Retain the Top Sales Reps

Seven ways to optimize your sales team’s performance by attracting and retaining top sales talent.

May 9, 2017

  • top-performers-in-sales

In any profession, top performers are hard to come by. But unlike any other profession, salespeople have a directly attributable effect on a company’s revenue. Of course, this also applies to when sales reps leave. The Center for Sales Leadership at DePaul University found that the average time for SMBs to replace a sales rep ranges between 3.7 months to 5.4 months, and the average cost per turnover is $97,690.

Considering it can take months to find the best of the best – and costs in more ways than one to lose top performers – it’s smart to have a defined strategy for finding, hiring, and keeping talented sales team members. Here are seven ways to do just that.

1. Build Your Company Brand

Your buyers can access more information about your company than ever before. So can potential employees – a B2B sales recruiting firm found that elite sales performers spend most of their research time looking at the LinkedIn profiles of their potential boss and peers. If sales pros aren’t impressed with what they find, they might not even accept an invitation to interview. As a first step, make sure your entire organization is putting its best foot forward.

2. Hire for Fit

Beyond possessing the necessary skills, experience, and track record of success, the best candidate should also be a good fit for your organization and team. One of the biggest reasons employees leave a company is that they are not engaged. And one of the basic ways people stay engaged is by feeling connected to their organization.

It’s important to note that previous success is not always an indicator of future results. Evaluate each sales rep’s experience, skills, and sales philosophy to ensure that they can thrive within with your company culture and sales methodology. It’s also smart to confirm that your company’s objectives and the rep’s career path are on the same trajectory.

3. Onboard for Success

With so much riding on the effectiveness of your sales reps, it’s foolish to leave anything to chance. How well you onboard your new hires could very well be the key to whether they succeed or fail. Show new hires the ropes: train them on your sales methodology, explain expectations and goals, and provide them the tools to succeed.

4. Optimize Their Productivity

Numerous studies show that sales reps are distracted (and frustrated) by administrative tasks and other non-sales activities. Leading companies give their reps the means to be as productive as possible, freeing them from mundane tasks. LinkedIn Sales Navigator is one tool that helps sales reps make short work of prospecting so they can spend their time doing what they came to do: sell.

5. Understand Their Motivators

Individual sales reps are motivated by different rewards. While money may be music to the ears of most sales professionals, other motivators may light a fire under them as well. Nearly everyone responds positively to praise and recognition. Even seemingly small gestures can go a long way to making your top reps feel appreciated. Ideas include a shout-out at a company event, a mention in the corporate newsletter, or an exclusive lunch with one of your company’s head honchos.

6. Look Within

The best way to acquire top-performing reps may be by training your existing team. The reps who come to you with an established track record might stick around for the long haul, or might be tempted by an even sweeter offer. While you can’t do anything to prevent other people from recruiting your reps, you can invest in your current sales team through formal, ongoing training. Their gratitude may translate into a renewed commitment to your company (plus now they’re also more proficient).

7. Give Them a Reason to Stay

Top performers are driven to be the best. They have a burning desire to succeed, and that means they demand a selling environment that empowers them to do so. Invest in your sales team: Give them the autonomy, tools, training, and coaching that helps them hone their talents to identify, understand, and engage their future customers.

For more ways to help your sales team succeed by using social media to drive sales, download our eBook,
The Sales Manager’s Guide to Driving Social Media Adoption and Revenue.