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To build a successful sales team, you have to recruit and retain high-quality sales talent. Sounds simple enough, right? But how do you find these top performers? And maybe more importantly: Once you've found them, how do you keep them on your team?
This blog post will explore tips and tricks for recruiting and retaining high-quality sales talent. I’ll also dispel some common myths about what it takes to be a top performer in sales.
One of the most common misconceptions about top sales performers is that they're born, not made. Mel Brooks, who I hope needs no introduction, once said about talent that you “either have it, or you don’t.” But this couldn't be further from the truth! While some people may have a natural knack for sales, the majority of top performers are those who have worked hard to hone their skills over the years.
Here are a few tips for finding top sales talent:
To get a true sense of a candidate's potential, ask behavioral interview questions (which are questions that are more about how a candidate handles different situations than experiences) that probe their past behavior in similar situations. In sales reflection is part of the game, so for a sales role you may want to ask something like, "Tell me about a time when you overcame an objection." This will give you insight into how they handle real-world sales situations.At Suzy, we believe that recruiting is about nurturing relationships (much like sales), so we often don’t hire the salesperson immediately. Great and elite salespeople are often not looking for another job when you reach out. So, when you find the right profile, you have to nurture that relationship and build a recruiting “drip campaign” to attract that individual the same way that you would a customer. This way, when that elite talent is ready to make a move, your company is top of mind when they do. This is not about sending them your Instagram photos of a company party, but instead sending things you would typically send to a customer like industry reports, blog posts, and case studies that showcase the brilliance of your product and people.
Once you've found some high-quality candidates, retaining them on your team is important.
Here are a few tips for doing so:
Assuming your sales team’s financial need is being met, a positive work environment is one of the most important factors in retaining top talent. Make sure your team members feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves and that they are valued team members. At Suzy, we create clear and simple commission plans that are market tested. I think we even extend the generosity in our commission plans to include both individual and team performance. Too often, I have seen commission plans that try to account for every possible outcome, which is incredibly impossible but also frustrating to understand. For instance, a company may try to plan out a commission payment that has many different nuances and outcomes, or they make it so complex like paying a different percentage for different product lines. I remember my first recruiting job had a commission plan that would challenge even the brightest math minds to figure out.
Recruiting and retaining high-quality sales talent is essential for building a successful sales team. By following the tips outlined in this blog post, you can find top performers and keep them on your team for the long haul. Creating a positive work environment where employees feel valued is one of the most important factors in retention, so make sure that's a priority as you build your dream team.