Every sales department relies on its salespeople. These are the men and women who are in contact with customers, who help to create positive experiences, and who build and maintain the commercial relationship between sellers and buyers. Good salespeople are rare gems that must be cherished. They are the reason your company generates turnover. To avoid losing them and to encourage them in their work, it is therefore important to know how to retain them. You wouldn't want your star salesperson to leave for the competition, would you?
Why retain your sales teams?
Because they play an essential role in the smooth running of your business. Your sales teams often have a special relationship with customers. If they leave, not only do you lose quality talent that takes time to replace, but they can take their customers and best contacts with them. In this respect, rather than taking a defensive approach (aggressive non-compete clauses, protection of customer data, lock-ins etc.), it is better to prevent than cure by retaining your sales talent.
Why do your salespeople leave you?
To retain your salespeople, you need to understand the reasons why they might leave. There are four main reasons:
Relationship difficulties: whether with colleagues or managers, departing salespeople may have strained relationships that disrupt their daily lives. In a job market where the war for talent is raging, a good salesperson can be in high demand. You may be familiar with the belief that the grass is always greener elsewhere. This also applies for salespeople when difficulties in communication, organisation or working relationships arise.
Lack of direction or alignment: often a salesperson does not leave the company, but the manager. This means that the manager has not been able to give him/her the right reasons to give 100%. An employee may no longer believe in the company project, no longer understand the purpose of his or her position or missions, or no longer be able to contribute to the success of the company project.
Numerous opportunities: when a salesperson can no longer evolve in his or her organisation or when the possibilities for developing his or her skills are reduced and recruiters are interested in him or her, it is often already too late. As soon as they start to think about leaving, there is a good chance that it will happen. Having a market with a lot of demand raises the value of the sales function and it will be easy to sell yourself elsewhere.
A personal reason: here, the company can do nothing to retain the sales person. This is the case with a resignation to follow a spouse abroad or to another region, the desire to do something else with one's life, the wish to take up full-time training, to take a sabbatical year etc.
Good practices for building loyalty among sales teams
Building loyalty among sales teams is as much an HR issue as it is one of direct management, operational management and working conditions. Examples and illustrations.
Have a beneficial and transparent remuneration structure
It is imperative for companies to structure the remuneration of their salespeople in such a way as to sufficiently reward those who perform well. The best salespeople will leave if they feel they are not fairly compensated for their contribution. If financial benefits are aligned, shared and well communicated, the best salespeople will be more motivated to work and stay.
Listening to employees
To this end, there are various tools available to companies, such as social barometers, audits, tools to measure employee engagement, or simply making regular appointments to identify potential pitfalls. A departure or arrival constitutes a change. And each change can destabilise some employees. It is therefore important to be present to facilitate this transition with adapted tools and processes.
Offering training courses
Employees are now waiting for appropriate training schemes that enable them to develop their skills. Thus, a departure can be an opportunity to reorganise a department more efficiently and to offer more choices to the teams in place. An adapted training programme facilitates vertical and horizontal mobility and helps to retain employees.
Being flexible in working conditions
Salary is no longer enough: values, mission, recognition, work-life balance, hybrid or remote working... There are many motivational levers that can make a difference. In North America, companies are competing with each other to attract and retain talent. These benefits are both financial and very personal, such as days off for charity work, gym memberships, free meals, concierge services etc.
Provide the right tools for the job
To make your teams want to stay, you need to have the right working conditions. This includes the tools they need to do their job well. Product documentation, scripts, customer journey modelling, CRM, automation tools, sending quotes... There are many platforms to make your salespeople's daily work easier. When it comes to customer relations, fewer tools are sometimes better. To help you see things more clearly, we have selected these 9 solutions that cover all your needs.
Giving sincere and honest feedback
Salespeople need feedback to adjust the way they work. Whether it is good and encouraging, or aimed at improving certain aspects, feedback helps structure the interpersonal relationship between a salesperson and their manager. It is important that salespeople understand that your opinion of them as a person will not change based on their numbers. Your role is to ensure their performance and their personal and professional development in parallel. To do this, it is important to communicate openly and sympathetically at all times, without waiting for the annual appraisal interview, which can be a stressful exercise.
Recognise and value successes
Whether individual or collective, successes should be celebrated. Whether it is the achievement of a goal, exceptional customer service, the involvement of an employee or his or her contribution to an important change, each success contributes to the creation of a work environment that fosters employee loyalty. A compliment, a gift, a reward, a good meal, a bonus, a raise, training in a pleasant setting, a gift card or greater flexibility in the management of working hours... There are many ways of rewarding success.
Develop a coaching and mentoring system
Establishing a system of coaching and mentoring, whether face-to-face or remote, facilitates connections and exchanges. Each mentor and coach should be trained and willing to engage in this exercise. The aim is to facilitate communication with willing employees, especially junior ones, and to be there to help them progress. This is good practice for motivating people who need it or who are wondering about their career and future.
Retaining your sales teams is an important action to ensure that the business runs smoothly. While it is normal and useful to have changes in your team, it is always important to ensure that there is a good balance between the aspirations of the sales people and the ability of the company to meet them. Indicators such as turnover rates and satisfaction measurements can also help to anticipate certain departures, enabling you to realign your teams before they are torn apart.