Sales Retention: Will You Be Able to Keep Your Superstars in 2021?

Money and incentives matter, but this year more than ever they are only part of the sales retention story.

The tough year in 2020 has left employees feeling burned out and overwhelmed. With the stresses of the pandemic, uncertainty in the business environment, and pressures of working from home and juggling personal and professional lives, we’re all looking forward to a fresh start in 2021. This makes retaining your best sales producers more important than ever!

The question is, will your best sales talent be looking for that fresh start somewhere else?

Importance Of Retaining Sales Talent

sales retention

Even with high unemployment rates, Manpower’s latest Employment Outlook Survey sees momentum picking up at the beginning of the year. There appear to be more job openings and improved hiring prospects in many areas. At the same time, the remote work and selling environment, is taking its toll. And it doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.

These feelings of burnout and isolation are resulting in employees losing the sense of connection and loyalty to the company. “A direct result will be workers sprucing up their resumes and updating LinkedIn to land a new job someplace better,” one career counselor warns.

The reality is, as things start to settle down over the next year and people have more job opportunities to consider, you could be at risk of losing some of your star players — the ones who were pivotal in carrying the business through in an extremely tough year. These employees may even be headed to your biggest competitors. How are you going to keep them engaged and motivated, make sure they know they’re valued, and help them continually grow to meet tomorrow’s challenges?

Keys To Sales Retention

Here are three steps that will help improve sales retention and develop your sales talent in 2021 and beyond:

1. Equip Salespeople for Today’s Selling Environment

Many successful salespeople have struggled to adapt to the world of virtual sales. While the same selling fundamentals apply, there are some very specific and important differences. But sales leaders often assume the star players can figure it out — that they don’t need the extra support.

The problem is, once confidence wavers, it starts to chip away at their belief in their own success. Their morale and engagement drop, and things tend to spiral from there. In this instance, your superstars may not leave for a competitor. Rather, they might not feel they are not able to perform like they used to. And it’s not all on them.

Understanding the mindset and beliefs play a critical role in sales performance. Although, these factors are often overlooked or underestimated. This is especially true when it comes to sales training. Take a fresh look at your sales training strategies and make sure they’re updated for today’s business environment. At a minimum, they should address these unconscious barriers to success along with other common traps of virtual selling.

2. Coach for Sales Success

Salespeople at all levels want to work for leaders who are committed to development, helping them grow in their careers. If they can’t find that where they are, they’ll look elsewhere.

This means your managers’ dedication to coaching is just as important as the sales training you provide. While sales pros must have a strong belief in their own abilities, a manager’s belief in them is also pivotal. When they see potential, a promising salesperson will rise to the occasion.

Sales coaching is one way of demonstrating a belief in the salesperson’s ability to push beyond their own boundaries. This drives them to reach higher levels of success.

Most sales managers will tell you that they agree coaching is an important factor in a salesperson’s performance. It is also paramount for sales retention. Awareness doesn’t mean it’s happening though. The vast majority of managers either aren’t doing it regularly, aren’t doing it effectively or aren’t doing it at all.

What about your managers? Is coaching a priority, or are they “too busy” for it? Do they even understand what coaching really is? Here’s a quick 10-question assessment to find out and determine what gaps you might need to fill in 2021.

3. Create an Irresistible Sales Culture

Of course sales people care about financial rewards. But just as you would tell your salesforce, “competing on price” is rarely an effective or sustainable long-term strategy.

People want to work where there’s a connection between their personal values and what the company stands for. They also want their managers to believe in them and help them accomplish more.

Time and again, these are the companies that are relentlessly focused on building and maintaining customer-centric culture rooted in integrity.

Even though 2020 is behind us, we know that there will always be more disruptions and challenges around the corner. That’s just the reality of business and life. But when people can see the value in what they provide to customers, they’ll be energized and engaged.  This is what builds loyalty among employees as well as customers. 

Sales Retention Is Ongoing

Focus on these three steps and you’ll not only retain your top salespeople. You’ll help everyone build the mindset, beliefs and inner drive to go beyond their preconceived limitations and achieve more. Not just for themselves, but for the company and the customer. What a way to start fresh in 2021!



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