9 Actionable Steps to Retain Your Top Sales Talents

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In the competitive world of B2B sales, retaining top talent is more than just a good-to-have – it’s a necessity for organizations to succeed.

Currently, sales attrition is the highest and is close to 30%.

And since hiring a top sales talent is time a consuming process, retaining your existing top sales talent is right thing to do to ensure your revenue growth.

According to Xactly sales organization turnover is nearly 3x higher than any other organization.

For a sales organization, the overheads of losing a top talent are massive as this impacts the territory and customers unattended, loss of opportunity, cost of training a new rep etc

So how do you keep these high performers from seeking opportunities elsewhere?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore 10 actionable steps to retain your top sales talent.

Why You Can't Afford to Lose Your Top Sales Talent

Sales talent is the lifeblood of any B2B company.

These individuals drive sales and revenue and play a crucial role in building and maintaining relationships with your clients.

They understand the market, your product, and your customers, making them invaluable assets to your company.

However, the cost of losing a top salesperson can be significant.

Beyond the loss of sales and revenue, also consider the cost associated with recruiting, hiring, and training a replacement.

The average time of replacing a sales rep is 182 days (6.3 months) according to a report.

And it takes another 3 months for the sales rep to be fully productive.

Therefore, it’s clear that retaining top sales talent should be a priority for any company.

Why Do Sales Professionals Choose to Leave?

Before we dive into the steps to retain top sales talent, it’s crucial to understand why they might consider leaving in the first place.

By addressing these issues proactively, you can create an environment that not only attracts top sales talent but also encourages them to stay.

As per my experience here are some common reasons why sales professionals might leave:

  • Lack of career growth opportunities
  • Insufficient compensation
  • Lack of recognition
  • Poor company culture
  • Too much focus on non-sales activities
  • Poor company culture
  • Stress and Burnout
  • Poor Training and Development

By understanding these issues, we can start to build strategies to tackle them head-on. Stick with me, and we’ll dive into these strategies in the next section

9 Steps to Retain Top Sales Talents

Sales talent is the lifeblood of any B2B company.

These individuals drive sales and revenue and play a crucial role in building and maintaining relationships with your clients.

They understand the market, your product, and your customers, making them invaluable assets to your company.

However, the cost of losing a top salesperson can be significant.

Beyond the loss of sales and revenue, also consider the cost associated with recruiting, hiring, and training a replacement.

The average time of replacing a sales rep is 182 days (6.3 months) according to a report.

And it takes another 3 months for the sales rep to be fully productive.

Therefore, it’s clear that retaining top sales talent should be a priority for any company.

Step 1. Perfecting the Hiring Process

The process of retaining top sales talent begins even before an employee is hired.

A well-structured and thoughtful hiring process can set the stage for successful employee retention.

Starting from sales recruitment to providing a great onboarding experience, each step in between plays a crucial role in retaining sales talents 

Here’s how you can perfect your hiring process:

Define the role clearly: Make sure the job description is clear, detailed, and accurately reflects the role’s responsibilities and expectations.

This helps attract candidates who are a good fit for the role and your company.

Look for cultural fit: While experience and skills of a salesperson is important, cultural fit is equally crucial.

Candidates who align with your company’s values and culture are more likely to feel satisfied and stay longer.

Communicate your company’s values and benefits: During the hiring process, communicate your company’s values, benefits, and what makes it a great place to work.

This can help attract candidates who resonate with your company’s mission and vision.  

Have a structured onboarding process: Once a candidate is hired, a structured and effective onboarding process can help them feel welcomed, valued, and prepared.

This can set a positive tone for their tenure at your company.

By refining your hiring process, you’re not only improving your chances of attracting top sales talent but also setting the stage for their long-term retention and success at your company.

Step 2. Offering Competitive Compensation and Benefits Packages

While money isn’t everything, it’s still an important motivator in job satisfaction and retention.

To retain top sales talent, it’s crucial to offer competitive compensation (as per current market standards) and benefits packages.

Here are some tips:

Regularly review and adjust salaries: Ensure your salaries are competitive with the market rate.

Regularly reviewing and adjusting salaries can stop your top sales talent from being tempted by higher-paying opportunities elsewhere.

Offer performance-based bonuses or commissions: This not only rewards your top performers but also gives them a strong incentive to keep performing at their best.

It should be simple to understand and motivate to perform better.

The sales rep should know what commission he can make on achieving the targets.

Step 3. Building a Supportive and Inclusive Company Culture

Company culture is a big deal when it comes to employee satisfaction and retention.

Since sales can be frustrating and stressful, a positive and inclusive company culture makes employees feel valued, respected, and part of a community.

So, how do we cultivate such a culture? 

Here are some strategies:

Promote open and transparent communication: Encourage employees to share their ideas, feedback, and concerns.

This not only makes them feel heard but also fosters trust and collaboration.

Celebrate diversity: Embrace and celebrate the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives of your employees.

This helps in enriching your company’s culture and also promotes innovation and creativity.

Foster a sense of belonging: Make sure every employee feels like they’re part of the team and that their contributions matter.

This can be achieved through team-building activities, recognition programs, and inclusive policies and practices.

Step 4. Giving Clear Paths for Career Growth and Development

One of the key factors that top sales talent weighs up when deciding whether to stick around is the potential for career growth.

High performers are typically ambitious individuals who are always looking to improve, learn new skills, and advance in their careers.

Here’s how you can provide these opportunities:

Clear Career Paths: Make sure your sales team knows what they need to do to get to the next level in their careers.

This could involve creating a clear progression ladder, outlining the skills and achievements needed to advance, and providing regular feedback on their progress.

Invest in training and development: Regular training has a double benefit.

Firstly, it helps our sales team sharpen their skills, which can lead to better sales results.

Secondly, it shows our team that we’re invested in their growth, which can make them think twice about leaving.

This training could be – sales training, leadership development programs, workshops or even tuition reimbursement for relevant courses.

Provide challenging and meaningful work: Top performers are often motivated by challenging work that allows them to use and develop their skills.

Make sure you’re providing opportunities for them to take on challenging projects and roles.

Mentorship programs: Pairing less experienced salespeople with seasoned veterans can be a great way for them to learn and grow.

It also gives an opportunity for more experienced salespeople to develop their leadership skills.

By providing clear paths for career growth and development, you’re not only helping your sales team improve and advance—you’re also showing them that they have a future at your company.

This can be a powerful motivator for them to stay.

Step 5. Providing Access to the Latest Sales Tools and Technology

In the fast-paced world of sales, having the right tools and technology can make a significant difference in a salesperson’s performance and job satisfaction.

From customer relationship management (CRM) systems to communication tools, the right technology can streamline processes, improve efficiency, and ultimately, lead to better sales results.

Here’s how you can provide your sales team with the tools they need:

Invest in a robust CRM system: A robust CRM system can be your sales team’s best friend.

It can help them manage customer relationships, keep track of sales activities, and analyze sales data

This will lead to more efficient sales processes and better customer relationships.

Communication and collaboration tools: Tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom can facilitate communication and collaboration within your sales team, especially if you have remote team members.

Use sales intelligence tools: Sales intelligence tools can provide your sales team with valuable insights about prospects and customers, helping them make more informed sales decisions.

Offer training on how to use these tools: Providing the tools is just half the battle.

Your sales team also needs to know how to use them effectively

Offer regular training sessions to ensure your team is getting the most out of these tools.

Staying updated with the latest technology: The world of sales technology is constantly evolving.

Make sure your sales team is staying updated with the latest tools and trends

Regularly reassess your technology stack to ensure it’s serving your team’s needs.

Demand Generation team: Investing in a solid demand generation process, both inbound and outbound, can  ensure your sales team’s efforts are focused on nurturing and closing qualified leads.

By equipping your sales team with the latest tools and technology, you’re not just enabling them to do their job more effectively, but also showing them that you’re invested in their success.

This will lead to higher job satisfaction and better retention rates.

Step 6. Encouraging Team Collaboration and Cohesion

While managing multiple sales teams in my career, one this that I have seen is that In sales, teamwork is the key to success.

A team that works well together can leverage each other’s strengths, learn from each other’s experiences, challenge each other to perform and provide support during difficult times.

So, how do we cultivate this sense of collaboration and cohesion within our sales team?

Here are some strategies:

Foster a collaborative environment: Encourage your sales team to exchange ideas, insights, and feedback.

This will foster a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect, leading to a more cohesive and high-performing team.

Promote team-building activities: Regular team-building activities help strengthen the relationships within your team, improve communication, and increase trust.

These activities could range from casual team lunches to more structured off-site events.

Create a supportive atmosphere: Encourage your team to support each other, especially during challenging times.

This could involve offering help, sharing resources, or simply providing words of encouragement.

Celebrate team successes: When your team achieves a goal or milestone, celebrate it together.

This not only recognizes the team’s hard work but also strengthens the sense of team spirit.

Encourage cross-training: Encourage cross-training to allow team members to understand each other’s roles and responsibilities better. 

By encouraging team collaboration and cohesion, you’re creating a positive and supportive work environment and setting your team up for success.

And when your sales team feels they’re part of a successful team, they’re more likely to stay.

Step 7. Offering Regular Feedback and Support

Feedback and support are essential for the growth and development of your sales team.

Regular feedback helps your team understand what they’re doing well and where they can improve, while support ensures they have the resources and guidance they need to succeed.

Here’s how you can offer regular feedback and support:

Provide constructive feedback: Regularly provide your sales team with constructive feedback on their performance.

Ensure your feedback is specific, balanced, and focused on behaviors they can change or improve.

Provide support during challenges: Sales can be a challenging field, and your team is likely to face obstacles and setbacks.

There can be various instances where the team can lose a deal, or get stuck somewhere in the sales process or getting no response from prospects or gets criticism.

Be there to provide support, guidance, and resources during these times.

Encourage peer feedback: Encourage your team members to provide feedback to each other.

Peer feedback will provide valuable insights and foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement.

Offer coaching and mentoring: Consider offering coaching or mentoring programs to help your sales team develop their skills and navigate their career paths.

By offering regular feedback and support, you’re showing your sales team that you’re invested in their growth and success.

This can lead to increased job satisfaction, improved performance, and ultimately, better retention.

Step 8. Promoting Work-Life Balance

Let’s face it, in today’s fast-paced work environment, promoting work-life balance is more important than ever.

According to the survey by FlexJobs a whopping 80% of folks said they’d be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options? That’s huge!

A healthy balance between work and personal life will lead to increased productivity, lower stress levels, and higher job satisfaction, all of which contributes to employee retention.

Here’s how you can promote work-life balance in your sales team:

Flexible working hours: Allowing your sales team to have some flexibility in their working hours can greatly contribute to work-life balance.

This could mean allowing them to start and end their workday at times that work best for them, as long as they’re meeting their responsibilities.

Remote work options: With today’s technology, working from home is easier than ever.

Letting your sales team work from home a few days a week can save them travel time and help them balance their work and personal life.

Encourage time off: Make sure your sales team knows that it’s not only okay to take time off, but it’s encouraged.

Whether it’s taking a vacation, a personal day, or just a break during the workday, time off can help prevent burnout and improve overall well-being.

Promote wellness activities: How about bringing wellness activities into the mix?

Consider implementing wellness programs or activities that promote physical and mental health.

Things like yoga classes, meditation sessions, or even stocking up on healthy snacks can promote physical and mental health.

By promoting work-life balance, you’re showing your sales team that you care about their well-being, not just their performance.

This can lead to higher job satisfaction, improved health, and ultimately, increased retention.

Step 9. Setting Realistic and Achievable Goals

Alright, let’s talk about goals.

You know, those targets we set that give us a sense of direction and purpose.

When it comes to keeping your top sales talent around, setting realistic and achievable goals is a big deal.

You don’t want to set them up for failure.

But you also don’t want to set mediocre targets that won’t challenge your sales team.

Here’s what you can do:

Define clear expectations: First things first, we’ve got to be clear about what we expect from our sales team.

This means defining sales targets, KPIs, and any other metrics that matter. It’s like giving them a roadmap to success.

Make it achievable: Now, I’m all for challenging our sales team, but setting goals that are sky-high?

That’s a recipe for frustration.

We’ve got to make sure our goals are tough, but not impossible.

Track and measure progress: It’s not enough to just set goals and hope for the best.

We’ve got to track our team’s progress, measure how they’re doing, and tweak things if needed.

It’s like being the co-pilot on their journey to success.

By setting goals that are clear, achievable, and tracked, we’re not just setting our sales team up for success.

We’re showing them that we’re in their corner, cheering them on.

And trust me, that can make all the difference in keeping your top sales talent around.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, retaining top sales talent is not a one-time effort, but a continuous process that requires strategic planning, consistent action, and a deep understanding of what motivates your sales team.

It’s about creating an environment where your sales professionals feel valued, supported, and motivated to perform at their best.

The nine steps we’ve discussed in this article provide a comprehensive approach to retaining your top sales talent.

Remember, your sales team is the driving force behind your company’s revenue growth.

By investing in their satisfaction and success, you’re not only improving their performance but also strengthening your company’s bottom line.

Companies that recognize this and adapt their policies accordingly are likely to see higher employee satisfaction, retention, and productivity.

It’s a win-win situation that leads to long-term success for both your sales team and your company.


About the Author

Picture of C Rajasekaran
C Rajasekaran
CR is the Co-Founder of Sales & Profit and an experienced B2B Sales & talent Consultant. With selling as his core skill, he has built and executed several sales strategies and sales talent strategies for organizations. He has 30 years of experience in sales leadership roles in companies like IBM, Cable & Wireless, Verizon & Telstra.
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