The Ideal Sales Position – Attention Employers!

11 Sep

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Last week, I posted a blog on The Best Salesperson in America. So what does it take to retain him or her? A salesperson is a unique personality in a unique role. They can actually be easier to manage as long as the table is set properly.

SHRM (Strategic Human Resource Management) did an extensive survey in 2012 (http://www.shrm.org/research/surveyfindings/articles/pages/2012employeejobsatisfaction.aspx) and found that these five areas of job satisfaction are most important to employees:

  • Opportunities to use skills and abilities (63%)
  • Job security (61%)
  • Compensation (60%)
  • Communication between employees and upper management (57%)
  • A positive relationship with their immediate supervisor (54%)

I’m not discounting their findings about employee satisfaction – but simply piggybacking on the data in regards to what I’ve observed to be most important for salespeople. 

If you are looking to hire and retain those sales super heroes, here are the 8 things you need to be offering your sales force:

1. No cap on commissions! I don’t care if the base salary is bad but no, no, no capping commissions please. If you do so, you’ll retain only the bad and average salespeople long-term.

2. A consistent commission plan! I understand commission plans need to be updated every now and then. What I don’t understand are the employers that continually change the commission plans and constantly adjust territories. This will drive your salespeople batty and probably lead to a lot of turnover. Hire a compensation specialist and create a good plan that you can keep for at least three years.

3. Great training! Inside and outside your organization, there are all kinds of opportunities for coaching and training your junior and seniors salespeople throughout the year. Next week I will blog a few ideas on how to keep it fresh.

4. No micromanaging! After six months, management should continue to be there for questions, client needs and ongoing support – but there is a fine line. Once they are performing, back off and let them fly. Independence is one of the key values held by most strong salespeople.

5. Give them leads! Do you want to pay them $40 an hour to do research and make cold calls? I’d rather pay them their base salary to speak to qualified leads and meet with prospects. If your salespeople aren’t setting enough appointments or pitching enough proposals, it may be time to evaluate your lead generation process.

6. Metrics! Manage your salespeople by their weekly or monthly activity and goals. If they stay on track, see #4 above. Earlier in the year, I wrote – 8 Sales Metrics to Track: http://wp.me/pYm3V-dX

7. A voice! Everyone you employ probably wants to be listened to a little more often. Your company is continually trying to figure out what your target audience needs and wants. Who’s going to have pretty good insight because they are listening to your prospects every day?

8. $100K! If they are selling something important, they had better be able to make $100,000 every year when they meet or exceed expectations. In Minneapolis, you can have a middle-class life style for around $100,000 in annual family earnings. If you employ people in San Francisco, Boston, New York…. double it. If you don’t give them a legitimate shot at six figures, you’re going to see a lot of turnover. If you can help them double it, you’ll have an employee for life.

It’s time to grow faster.

~Drew Schmitz

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drew@blueoctopusllc.com

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