It takes time to hire and onboard new sales talent. When you find someone with top-rated sales skills who meshes with your company culture, you want them to stick around.
Turnaround rates often soar in startups, especially for junior sales reps. Instead of constantly having to focus on replacing them, focus on retaining your top sales talent. At Growlabs, we work with some of the fastest-growing sales teams in the world. Here are four tips I've learned about how they retain their best talent.
1. Be Transparent
No one likes guessing what they should focus on, so don't make your team do it. Be open and transparent so everyone knows what the expectations are.
As your business grows, continue the transparency. Growth often brings changes to your sales model, and you don't want those changes to sneak up on the team. Rather, make it a point to keep everyone in the loop. Continue having honest conversations, and ensure your team members always know where they stand. Ask for their input, and value their insight.
2. Keep Your Compensation Plan Simple
Can every member of your sales team easily explain the compensation plan? If not, it's time to simplify it. You don't want your sales reps spending time calculating their commission and optimizing for the wrong things. There's no sense in having a complex plan when a simple one will do.
Find the best balance between base pay, commissions, and benefits for your business. Get rid of commission caps and any other factors discouraging growth. Reward your top performers well, because if you don't, someone else will.
3. Offer Growth Opportunities
Doing the exact same thing month after month bores most people. Bored employees who are talented will leave. Those who are underperforming might stay and you will end up with a team of underperforming, bored reps. Make sure you remove repetitive and non-stimulating tasks, such as prospecting or sending cold emails and follow-ups manually. These tasks drain your sales team and leave them with less time to do what they do best. Invest in tools to streamline their job. Spending some money on automation tools and a quality CRM frees up time your team can use to build more relationships.
You can also keep boredom at bay by offering growth opportunities. Not every person on your team will benefit from the same opportunities, so know what motivates each member. Some may desire leadership training and the opportunity to lead a sales team of their own. Others may prefer to lead a project or take classes to learn different skills. Offer a variety of personal and professional growth opportunities throughout the year.
Investing in your team's continued training also indicates you value their career growth. Host regular training to help everyone learn and improve. Send your team to conferences. Provide business coaches or mentors.
4. Avoid micromanagement
If you aren't a great manager, your top talent will be the first to realize it and leave. Spend some time self-evaluating, and make sure you're leading well.
Don't micromanage your team. Allow them the autonomy to get their job done. Respect your team, and listen to what they're saying. Since they're the ones doing the job each day, they can offer you valuable perspective and insight.
Retaining your top performing sales team is worth the effort. As you make the changes, you'll be creating an environment where people want to be. This improved company culture helps reduce turnover. You may even create an environment where your sales team refers your company to their friends and helps you acquire talent through word of mouth.