January 19, 2016

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.

Sales-Team-Success-Top-Leaders

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to keep your top performers around. Check out the following list of 6 tips to learn how to retain top sales talent and continue to achieve excellent results.

How to Retain Your Top Salespeople

1. Always set proper expectations during interviews

When you are hiring a new salesperson be sure to, set the right expectations while interviewing her. This way she knows what kind of work environment she will be a part of if 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 – she 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.

2. 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.

Develop-realistic-goals-for-top-sales-performers

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.

3. Offer 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. Check out this blog post for a list of sales contest ideas you can use.

4. Invest in 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.

Why?

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.

Bonus: Check out this blog post to learn how you can effectively coach high-performing salespeople.

5. Offer an attractive compensation package

If you are a seasoned sales manager, you know that money is 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.

6. 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.

Conducting-Exit-Interview

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 her 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 she has with her 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 her 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.