It’s never easy when a valued member of your sales team leaves. It can have a negative effect on your business in several ways, requiring you to spend time and money finding a replacement and potentially damaging team morale.
According to a study from Ceridian, 32% of employees feel they need to leave their current job to move forward with their career, highlighting the frequency with which many people change jobs. Given that it can take as long as 10 months for employees in B2B industries to reach a reasonable level of productivity, a lot of money can be lost through a poor employee retention rate. Inspiring your employees to stay with your business for longer can have a positive effect not only on your outgoing costs, but also overall efficiency.
If the challenge of managing and retaining a group of salespeople wasn’t enough, there’s also the added obstacle of team members working remotely. It’s not difficult to see why retention of top talent can keep leaders up all night under these circumstances.
Here are some key insights I’ve uncovered relating to employee retention during my time as the leader of a group of salespeople in a global company.
Hire the right people
The hiring process is particularly important. You want to make sure you’re adding a valuable, engaged professional to your team who has the potential to become a long-term team member. Do you think they’re a good match for your work environment? Are they likely to fit in with your company culture?
Think of creating a positive employee experience where candidates can get in touch with the talent acquisition partner. You also need to consider how you advertise the position, as this can have an affect on the type of applicants it attracts.
Normally, I’ll bring together a diverse hiring panel of 5 to 7 people to take part in a 30-minute session each with the interviewee. This will allow us to explore things from a range of different angles to ensure they’re suitable for the business. Each member of the team will explore one characteristic of the person being interviewed, such as their organisational skills, sales style and culture fit. We can then compare answers and make a judgement on whether we think the person should be hired.
Involve the team in the hiring process
Involving the sales team is an essential component of the hiring process. It makes sense to bring the team together when adding a member, as their opinions matter greatly. It also helps to empower your employees, making them a stakeholder and creating a sense of inclusion. This is especially important when they are geographically dispersed, ensuring remote members feel like part of the team.
Listen to your team
Another key retention strategy is making ensuring that your employees always feel they’re heard and that you’re available to speak to. It’s important they feel as though they can come to you with problems and won’t hesitate to do so.
This may seem challenging to achieve with remote employees but there are strategies you can use. There is a variety of communication methods you can use to keep in contact with remote employees, whether it’s text, phone call or email; even catching up with them once a week can have a big impact. Another good strategy is to arrange quarterly meetings that bring the team into one room. This can be a great way to generate meaningful discussions among team members, allowing them to share knowledge and experience.
Craft a great employee culture
Another important aspect of retaining sales team members is to ensure you have a strong employee culture in place. People value different things from their workplace, so the process of developing this may involve some trial and error, but it can lead to great benefits, even helping attract top talent to your team.
Assembling a robust team with a strong sense of camaraderie, where members collaborate and innovate, will naturally build a distinctive culture. Another key aspect of this is growing your employees and investing in them. Each team member should have a development plan along with their goals to ensure you are promoting professional growth. Listening to your salespeople, guiding them and mentoring them is one of the most fruitful and natural ways to grow your team’s culture. Sales is a fast and demanding industry, so it’s essential to retain this human element if you want to develop a unique and rewarding team environment.
Use your knowledge
As the leader of a team, it’s important for me to use my knowledge to benefit its different members. Knowing the company and navigating it effectively to find information and solutions to solve the team’s problems, as well as individual members’ problems, is essential. You need to make use of the resources at your disposal to ensure that your salespeople can reach their full potential.
Doing so will create a sense of loyalty, helping employees to think of their position as more than just a job.
Building on my previous point, you need to be honest about what you can and can’t do for your team members as a leader. When someone comes to you with a problem, it’s important to be upfront about whether you can help or not, ensuring that they’re aware of what they can rely on you for. This is something that they will value and is likely to create a stronger work environment for everyone.
Empower your agents
Another strategy I’ve found helpful is to encourage team members to come to you with solutions to problems to discuss rather just coming with problems. Whether you are joining an already established team or just starting to build one, this can be an effective way to empower individuals.
It encourages team members to develop their own solutions and take a proactive approach to the problems they might face. If they are simply coming to you with issues, then it is likely to encourage them to rely on you to source solutions. It’s a change that doesn’t come easy, but committing to it can be transformative to how your sales team work.
Hold employee surveys and exit interviews
Finally, holding exit interviews can be an effective method for improving your employee retention rate, providing valuable insight into why people choose to leave your company. Along with holding regular employee surveys, it can help highlight any holes in your current strategy.
Employee retention is an issue that many sales teams are facing, however, by implementing the strategies mentioned above, you can encourage employees to stay for longer.
It is important to ensure they feel fulfilled from their current role, otherwise, they’ll simply look elsewhere for a job that meets their needs. If you make sure team members feel welcomed, are sufficiently supported and receive face time with their team and team leader, then securing long-term salespeople should not be difficult.
Publish Date: July 8, 2019 8:34 AM