Part 76: Retaining Top Sales Reps – How Small & Mid Sized Companies Grow

In today’s highly competitive world for talent what does one need to do to retain their top people? Everything starts with sales and without top tier business development personnel the company will atrophy, and good sales reps are the hardest people to find and then retain. This is true in high growth industries like IT, biotech and in staffing where opportunities abound. Retaining existing clients is critical, but without cultivating new business developers your existing sales will decline. Your competitors are looking to take away your clients so you must have strong sales reps to retain them as well as cultivate prospects at the same time.

The average turnover rate of sales reps is 26% with 10% of the sales force often being disengaged. Well managed companies trim the bottom 10% of their sales reps each year as they are either not paying for themselves or a better person can serve in their place. The cost of replacing a sales rep is approx. 38% of their salary. The top ¼ of sales reps typically generate 57% of a company’s new business, while the lower ¼ had a new reduction in sales. One can breakdown retaining sales reps into three phases.

HIRING Social media and Boolean searches narrow the field for prospects, but referrals from trusted sources often bring the best results. Testing to weed out people is a good start, while reference checking is rarely useful. There is also no substitute for in depth interviews to get beneath the veneer of a good first impression, really successful companies like Google take this to an extreme.

MANAGING Training new sales reps in your culture, how you do business and your standards of performance is essential and having new reps work alongside an experienced solid producer helps. There is no substitute for the innate talent of a sales personality, either you have it or you don’t. Nevertheless, “what is measured is respected” in terms of productivity and efficiency. We will discuss how you can convert sales metrics into both margin $ generated and motivational comp plans

MOTIVATING Everyone needs something to turn them on. For sales reps it’s always about the money, but having a good company culture, recognition, competition and perks are very important. We recommend having a modest but competitive base with a high commission that contain steps and escalating risers where you can properly reward the best reps with win-win comp and retention plans

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