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How to Attract and Retain Top Sales Talent

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searching for top sales talent

When looking to hire top sales talent, you need to be looking for Drive. But keep in mind many highly-skilled salespeople are looking to be a part of a talented sales team as well.

To improve your sales team, you not only need strong individuals, but people who can work together to bring your company’s sales to the next level.

Once you have identified incoming candidates who can really make a difference, do you know how to attract them effectively?

The Search Is Only Half the Battle

Recruiting is not a seasonal job. Many sales managers understand that to get the best candidates, the search is about more than putting a job description out there and waiting for responses.

If you want to recruit the top candidates in your field, you need to make your company stand out.

Whether it is your company’s charming culture or ability to offer more than a great commission, by using marketing as a recruiting tactic, you have the potential to capture interest from better candidates.

Once you have caught the eye of a talented individual, you need to offer something your competition cannot. Determine your value proposition before you head into a negotiation to ensure your team is the one that walks out with the winning arrangement.

Create your team by focusing on the personality traits you need to get the job done. Not every candidate will be a hunter, a farmer or even flexible between the two.

By focusing on different attributes and highlighting your company’s brand, you can build a Driven team ready to help you and your company achieve success now and over the long haul.

10 Tips for Selling Your Brand to Desirable Candidates

You may find a wonderful sales representative through several different venues. Many successful sales representatives started out in completely different fields. They may not have much experience, but they do have the generic makeup needed to succeed in sales.

Whether you are trying to attract entry-level talent or established sales veterans, here are some tips to improve your sales team by selling your brand:

1. Be Real

Quality sales representatives are looking for a job they can sink their teeth into. Tell them about day-to-day activities and the aspects of the jobs that may be more uninviting. By being open, honest and revealing an insider view of the company, you will gain the candidate’s trust rather than promoting an overly glorified image of the place in which they would be working.

2. Know the Position Inside and Out

Remember, you are the one driving the interview; a candidate will look to you as an authority figure regarding the position. Make sure you are prepared to talk about and answer any questions the candidate may have. Highly skilled candidates may want to know about specific reporting requirements or other questions your company should be prepared to answer.

3. Remember That You are Both Interviewing

Many people mistakenly believe the hiring company has the upper hand in the recruitment process. The process is actually more of a mutual convergence or even a “date.” Each party is evaluating the other for fit, expectations and willingness to compromise. If you want a candidate, it is just as important that you make a good impression on them as it is that they make one on you.

4. Focus on the People

While individuals may come to a company for the pay, they will stay for the people. Sell the people you work with. They are the ones you and the prospective employee will work with day in and day out. Make sure you describe the culture to gauge whether or not the atmosphere and team will be the right match for your candidate.

5. Bring in Your Team

Consider dividing your interview process into two parts. One part should focus on identifying and seeing firsthand the sales skills that a candidate claims to possess. The other could include the team the individual will be working with to determine fit. Keep this part of the interview more casual and conversational. You may be surprised by what you learn while the team is becoming comfortable with the candidate. Later, ask other team members for their opinions. You may be able to identify reasons for or against hiring that you may not have seen before.

6. Network

Improve your sales team by asking them and others if they know of any qualified candidates. You may find that someone you know is looking for work and would fit well into your current team dynamic. But rather than taking a relationship as a sign that a candidate will work well with your team, be sure to use the same sales assessments to ensure the right fit.

7. Invest in Advertising

Many sales teams make the mistake of recycling generic recruiting advertisements. Create a customized listing that you update regularly, as positions often evolve over time. Use your online and local networks to highlight the position and attract talent. Make sure you not only list requirements, but the advantages of working with your team, as well.

8. Give Everyone an Opportunity to Shine

Sometimes talent may come through unconventional routes. Remember that experience is not everything when it comes to sales. If an individual repeatedly applies or makes an extra effort in getting your attention for the position, make sure you give them a fair shot. You may find the best sales recruits come from a variety of places.

9. Highlight Company Culture

Every company starts out with a mission to make a difference in people’s lives. Sell whatever your company is known for. Include information about company outings, appreciation days and little known facts.

10. Alternative Sales Structures are Enticing

Commission style sales are going out of fashion. They work well for a small percentage of top producers, but leave others feeling discouraged and unable to achieve their full potentials. Highlight what makes your team’s structure unique, whether it is team accountability or further training opportunities.

If you have an existing team, let them help you figure out the qualities that are missing. Then look for those in your new sales candidates.

Remember that it takes different personalities and skill sets to truly create a well-oiled sales team. Do not be afraid of looking for non-traditional candidates and letting your company’s culture shine. By opening yourself up, you may find the talent you need to take your team from mediocre to spectacular.

Retaining the Top Sales Talent on Your Team

Did you know that on average, 8% of salespeople are responsible for 80% of the sales at your company?

Obviously, those salespeople are your top performers – the ones who consistently generate the most revenue and help the business thrive.

Since top performers can be difficult to find and hire, it is easy to understand how losing even one of them from your sales team could have a significant effect on your sales department and the company as a whole.

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to keep your top performers around. Check out the following list of tips to learn how to retain top sales talent and continue to achieve excellent results.

Always set proper expectations during interviews

When you are hiring a new salesperson be sure to, set the right expectations while interviewing them. This way they know what kind of work environment they will be a part of if they are hired.

To do this successfully, you must avoid exaggerating the benefits of working at your company and downplaying the negatives during the interview.

Instead, be honest with the potential new hire, even if you have to talk about some of the challenging aspects of being a salesperson at your company.

A Driven salesperson will not be scared off – they will understand that each sales job opportunity has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

If you fail to set the right expectations about the job during the interview, you will likely find that your salespeople end up frustrated and unhappy on the job because they did not know what they were getting themselves into.

This will likely lead to a high turnover rate in your department, which will cost you time and money.

Develop realistic goals and monitor progress

Top salespeople are competitive, so they are often curious about the results they are achieving at work. That is why it is important for you to develop goals for your salespeople that are realistic (but challenging) and provide them with the resources necessary to achieve those goals every month.

Make sure you also monitor the progress of your salespeople regularly and communicate with them so they know where they stand and can learn how to perform better when needed. This kind of open communication will keep salespeople updated on their performance and will help to build a healthy relationship between you and your team.

Offer sales incentives

You can often motivate high-performing sales reps by simply rewarding them for their hard work. Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Reward the top performer each week with a gift card or cash prize. Money is a great motivator, so you can use this method to reward top performers while pushing your entire team to improve their sales results.
  • Offer extra time off work to top performers. Everybody loves extra vacation time, so consider offering an extra day off work to the salesperson who sells the most by the end of each month.
  • Buy a high-quality office chair, and designate it as the top performer’s chair. The salesperson who sells the most each week gets to sit in the special chair instead of their regular office chair.

You can also motivate your team and encourage healthy competition by developing a creative sales contest where the winner receives a reward.

Invest in sales coaching and training

If you fail to offer coaching and training to your top performers, they will be more likely to leave your company due to a lack of professional development opportunities.


Because high-achieving salespeople are ambitious and want to learn how to sell even more effectively than they already are. So, have one-on-one sessions with your top salespeople to talk about any areas that they could improve in, and make sure you are providing feedback on a regular basis. That way, they will feel like they are growing at work instead of stagnating.

Offer an attractive compensation package

If you are a seasoned sales manager, you know that money can be one of the main motivators of many top-performing salespeople. That is why those salespeople will often leave a company if their commission structure and/or compensation package changes for the worse.

While offering an attractive compensation package will cost your company money, it is worth it if it means you will keep top-performing salespeople around. Chances are that the revenue that those salespeople generate for the business will more than make up for the money spent on offering a good salary and commission structure.

Regularly conduct exit interviews

If you really want to learn why your top salespeople are leaving your company, one of the best things you can do is simply ask them. While this seems like a no-brainer, it is a step that many companies do not take. As a result, those companies continue operating the same way and losing salespeople for the same reasons.

To prevent this problem at your company, keep these tips in mind when conducting exit interviews:

  • Explain that the interview is confidential. That way, the salesperson who is resigning will feel comfortable being honest about their experience at your company.
  • Conduct the interview as a one-on-one conversation in private. Doing this will help ensure that the salesperson does not hold back due to being intimidated by a gang of superiors.
  • Choose the right person to conduct the interview. If possible, select an employee from the HR department to interview the salesperson. Whatever you do, do not allow the salesperson’s immediate supervisor to conduct the interview – the relationship they have with their supervisor could affect her answers.
  • Ask the right questions. For example, you may want to ask about the culture/morale in the sales department, the salesperson’s relationship with their co-workers and supervisors and the general pros and cons of working at the company.

When your resigning salesperson is answering your questions, listen attentively and take good notes. Then, you can look for similarities in the answers of top performers who resign and make positive changes based on those answers.

By doing so, you will be taking steps to reduce costly employee turnover.


If you are still not sure about putting in the time/effort required to retain your top salespeople, consider the fact that your high-performing salespeople are the ones who are generating the most revenue for the company.

Without them, your business will be in much poorer shape financially, so prioritizing retention is critical. All you need to do now is follow the tips outlined here, and you will be well on your way to a happier sales team who will be more likely to stay at your company long-term.

If you are looking for additional hiring, managing and motivating tips, check out Sales Psyched!, our online video series, designed to help managers and salespeople alike master sales by leveraging psychology.

Sales Hiring Simplified!

Hire top-performing salespeople with The DriveTest®. Get started now with one free test.

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