Want To Recruit Better Sales Talent? Lower Your Turnover Rate

Do you want to recruit fresh, new talent to your SMB (small-to-midsize business) sales team from the incoming millennial workforce?

Well, a recent survey found that “millennials seek jobs that provide stability, convenience and balance.” Thus, you need to be ready to accommodate them by providing the kind of stability that will keep their turnover rate low.

According to the Harvard Business Review, “Estimates of annual turnover among U.S. salespeople run as high as 27 percent—twice the rate in the overall labor force.” This means that to really stand out when recruiting sales talent, you need to make sure you lower your own turnover significantly.

If you fail to focus on maintaining a stable sales team with a below average turnover rate, you won’t be able to recruit sales talent that’s looking for stability when they apply.

Practice Radical Transparency to Develop a Value-Driving Sales Team

Any employee knows how frustrating it can be to work for a company where your co-workers’ and your superiors’ goals and motivations are shrouded in mystery. Taken to an extreme, such a situation can lead to an ENRON or a Wells Fargo.

On a smaller scale, though, a lack of transparency can lead to you losing top talent and missing out on the next crop of up-and-comers. If you’re not transparent with your employees, then they’re just going to be transparent themselves about those shortcomings when they write reviews on Glassdoor.

glassdoor negative employee review

You don’t want something like this actual Glassdoor review on your page

Transparency isn’t just about sharing data, metrics, strategies and details about ongoing projects and company changes (which we will discuss in the next section). It’s bigger than that:

Transparency means making sure each new hire buys into the core ideals behind the goods or services that you’re selling, and that they are driven by the value that they are providing to your customers.

RAIN Group president John Doerr calls these kinds of teams “Value-Driving Sales Organizations,” and notes that they are “much more likely to grow revenue, have higher win rates and [better] retain top sales talent.”

Value-driving sales teams will not only sell more to your customers, but they will also be more likely to stick around for longer, since they are invested in the good work being done by your company in providing this value to your customers.

As Doerr explains, “One of the benefits of organizations focusing on value is that they have a more highly motivated sales force that turns over less frequently. It’s worth stating directly: focus on value with missionary zeal and you will attract and keep the best sales people.”

 RECOMMENDED ACTIONS:  Make sure that each and every new member of your sales team understands your own corporate values as well as the value that you are providing to your customers. Be radically transparent in sharing the overarching goals and ideals of the team and the company, so that you only end up hiring employees who buy into those values.

Own The ‘Water Cooler’ to Squash Toxic Gossip

Though more companies are likely to have a well-stocked fridge these days than an actual water cooler, the metaphor of the water cooler as a place where employees gather and gossip still holds power.

Office gossip is, in some ways, inevitable, but the last thing you want your sales team to be gossiping about is information vital to your business.

When employees feel shut out of the loop of important communications, they’re going to gossip, and it won’t be flattering. That’s why you need to be the master of your own “water cooler” by providing accurate, up-to-date, accessible information for the entirety of your sales team.

The easiest way to do this is through a technological solution—utilizing CRM software (and more specifically sales automation software) that is explicitly designed to be the single source of knowledge for your team.

You’ll find two immediate positive consequences from implementing such a system:

  1. The more you can eliminate the grunt work of gathering basic information, the happier your sales team will be, and the less they’ll grow fatigued with their jobs.
  2. Centralizing information prevents the spread of potentially harmful gossip that may lead employees to needlessly feel like they should “abandon ship.”

Cristian Rennella, VP of sales & co-founder of PrestamosOnline, explains how implementing such a system made a profound impact on his own sales team when it was faced with problems. Read what she had to say in the following case story:

Case Story: PrestamosOnline

“Staff retention was low, stability was a problem and the staff was not happy with their work. After several weeks of talking to each person on the team in 1-on-1 meetings, I understood that the biggest problem was that there was no central axis to organize the whole team.

“To solve this, what we did was to start from scratch with a single software that would work as our pillar and axis of work.

“It was thanks to this modification, and this organization through a single and unique system, that today job stability has improved by 21.2 percent, which can be observed at a glance in our more organized, efficient and happy work team, backed by an improvement in sales of 11.9 percent.”

– Cristian Rennella, VP of sales/co-founder, PrestamosOnline

CRM/sales software can play an integral role in creating a single source of knowledge for your team, and giving them one place to go to for all of their needs will keep them much more content and less likely to move on to another job.

 RECOMMENDED ACTIONS:  Utilize CRM and sales force automation software to create a central database that serves as the one true source of information for your entire sales team. They should make all of their decisions based off of this data, which they all share, to eliminate the spread of gossip that may be bad for morale.

The Most Important Hire? Your Hiring Manager

Once you’ve created the kind of atmosphere that appeals to a sales team, you’ll need to actually be able to fill that team with outstanding employees.

The catch to that process, though, is finding an exceptional individual to serve as your hiring manager who can sort out the outstanding talent—those who will be a part of the team for the long hall—from amongst your many applicants.

According to behavioral psychologist Dr. Elliott B. Jaffa, who specializes in the psychology of sales and marketing teams, there’s a clear reason why recruiting top talent can seem like such a tall task:

“The problem begins and lies with the hiring manager. He/she has not been properly trained to interview potential applicants nor knows the proper questions to ask to get the ‘buy in’ from the exceptional applicants.”

You must have a strong hiring manager who is able to select the talent who will be a part of your team for the long haul, thus reducing turnover rate.

When choosing your hiring manager, make sure you follow the same recommendations discussed above: be absolutely transparent with them about your expectations for your team and ensure that you’re their only source of information on the team’s goals.

You need somebody dedicated to your team’s mission, who will have insight into the kinds of talent who will be attracted to your company’s stability. Just as importantly, you need somebody who is adept at following the hiring life cycle (envisioned below) as we’ve discussed elsewhere.

hiring life cycle

 RECOMMENDED ACTIONS:  Set monthly meetings with your hiring manager (or more frequently if you’re in the midst of actively recruiting) to go over your team’s missions, goals and focus on stability. Make sure they are relaying those values directly to potential hires by monitoring hiring/recruiting sessions and providing feedback.

Next Steps

Now you know the best ways to simultaneously lower your turnover rate and recruit new, top-tier talent. With that in mind, you need a way to get started on those recommended actions. Here’s a few things you can do right now to take the first step:

  • Check out our infographic and related series of articles about the benefits of sales force automation software for SMBs like yours.

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