How not to retain sales staff?

Chloe TillmanResources for hiring managers, Talent retention & management

How to retain sales staff

Our sales & marketing practice has a real insight into what motivates and demotivates sales professionals, and so in this brief blog, we want to cover some of the most common reasons we come across for sales professionals looking for new roles.

Lack of recognition

How to retain sales staffSales professionals are people, and we all like recognition in the work place. Social scientist at Duke University and New York Times best selling author Dan Ariely’s study concluded that “When we are acknowledged for our work, we are willing to work harder for less pay, and when we are not acknowledged, we lose much of our motivation.” In November 2018, an Employee Retention survey by Tiny Pulse (Employee Engagement specialists) found that 24% of employees who felt they had not received recognition from their direct supervisor in the past two weeks had recently interviewed for another position, compared with just 13% of who received recognition.

In no way are we insinuating that the happier your staff are, the less pay they will accept. However, we believe the happier employees are, they more likely they are to build stronger, deep rooted client relationships.

Lack of clarity around bonus payments

In our experience, salespeople like a direct link between performance and pay. This is particularly true of the top performers most firms would be disappointed to lose. The right type of individual will want to know what their earnings potential will look like, both realistically, and as a stretch target. They will also need to know how it is paid and when this can be earnt.

Lack of administrative support

Whilst we strongly believe that salespeople don’t conform to stereotypes and come from all backgrounds, many recognise that their time isn’t best utilised focusing on administration. An efficient and reliable administration and/or telephone support team can be the difference between average and stellar performance.

Travel above agreed parameters

How to retain sales staffMost people in sales roles accept that travel is part of their role, but when it goes beyond agreed parameters for long periods of time, it can cause resentment. It breaks the “Psychological Contract” between employer and employee. According to HRzone, ‘the psychological contact refers to the unwritten set of expectations of the employment relationship as distinct from the formal, codified employment contract. Taken together, the psychological contract and the employment contract define the employer-employee relationship’. It is a concept that is widely thought to have been developed in the 1960’s and is often interpreted from the perspective of the employee.

One aspect of this is that if the relationship with the person who hired them was never one of trust, the employee will always be sceptical of what they are being told. The slightest deviation from a perceived promise will be magnified. There are many variations, but the worst case scenario is that the firm loses a talented individual having incurred significant financial cost, and having invested time into the hire.

Lack of voice

Sometimes sales strategies are set at board level without taking into account the feedback of the people selling the product or service. Salespeople are constantly gathering feedback from clients, and they not only need to feel there is a mechanism for passing this on, but they also need to feel it is being listened to and actioned.

No budget

Often individuals will complain to us that they don’t have any budget to effect change, or to compete with their competitors. Sometimes both parties are at fault because it isn’t discussed in the interview, and sometimes budgets need to be cut, but the reasons need to be clearly explained to ensure that managers don’t lose the buy-in of the team. If you aren’t giving your employee the tools to succeed then you are pushing away one of your most important resources.

Our sales & marketing team works with a wide range of financial services and professional firms, and we welcome your input on this or any of our other blogs.