The sales industry has a notoriously high turnaround when it comes to staff. While 10-20% of the UK’s employed population work in sales jobs, retaining your team and keeping them engaged once you’ve found them can be a big challenge in an sector where ambitious team members and high pressure to hit targets contribute to a 20% average annual staff turnover. With more and more millennials entering the workforce, this number is likely to increase: 60% of millennials are open to a new job opportunity at any point in time, yet the long-term success of your team lies in managing, training and retaining them.
The key to retaining a highly motivated, productive team therefore lies in the approach you take to hiring. If you only look for salespeople when a new role opens, you’re putting the remaining members of your team under huge pressure to hit targets, as well as missing out on all the great talent that is in the market when you’re not looking. Taking time to fill those vacancies costs you both productivity and revenue, which is a high price to pay for not looking ahead and having a solid recruiting strategy in place.
Here’s why you should always be recruiting:
Constant recruiting leaves your talent pool wide open
Hiring great salespeople can be a challenging process, so why not make it a low-impact, long-term strategy rather than an intense, short-lived search? If you only look for new candidates when a position opens then you’re limiting the number of applicants to choose from, and it will inevitably take longer for you to find a good fit for your vacant role. In turn, the drain this will create on your team- especially given that it takes an average of 4-8 weeks to make a new hire– could mean you end up settling for second best, just to get an extra pair of hands on board.
Open up your talent pool by opting for a long-term approach instead: scout out great sales people on social platforms like LinkedIn or turn back to promising candidates whose CVs you were sent in the past. Join sales networks online and see who’s looking for a new job; get in touch with people and touch base with them periodically to keep them warm. You never know when a great salesperson might be looking, but if you’re always recruiting then you won’t miss your chance when they are.
A bad sales hire is more expensive than the recruitment process will ever be
Hiring candidates is expensive- and making a bad hire is even more so. A bad sales hire costs as much as 30 times the basic salary you pay your ill-suited candidate, whilst 27% of UK companies say that bad hires they’ve made have cost them more than £50,000. This isn’t just bad news for your business’s balance books: it also affects your ability to hit targets and could also affect your sales team’s morale. Indeed, hiring the wrong person can cause a 36% drop in productivity across your team.
Taking control of your recruitment process means that you can sidestep this minefield of issues. After all, if you’re always recruiting then you don’t have to rush your decisions and stand a better chance of making the right hire, without the restrictions of time constraints. The result? A person who has a better chance of making a positive impact on your company- and who has a better chance of staying on.
You need to be prepared for the unexpected
It’s no surprise that key salespeople resigning will have a negative effect on your team, as well as on your bottom line. Unfortunately, it’s likely to happen sooner rather than later: with 51% of salespeople looking for a role within two years, you can’t afford to wait for a top performer to resign before you start looking for replacements- especially as it might well happen during a critical time for the company.
Instead, be prepared: if you are always recruiting and have a pipeline of potential candidates to draw on the moment somebody hands in their resignation, you’ll be able to minimise the impact of the situation, whilst also positively impacting your team morale, business and revenue by being able to usher in a replacement quickly and easily.
You’ll build a better sales team by filling gaps quickly and effectively
One of the main factors that attracts top performers to any given role in sales is the chance for career progression. Salespeople are inherently ambitious, and top performers want to feel like they’re a part of a winning team in order to be satisfied at work. If somebody leaves and overall targets are being missed, it’s therefore going to constitute a blow to team morale, potentially impacting how the rest of the team performs.
To combat this, involve your sales people in finding and engaging your next hire. They have the expertise, so use it: by getting them involved, you’ll also demonstrate your commitment to building a high-performing team, and to finding people who can fit in well and help the existing team hit targets.
You want to remain ahead of the competition
The sales industry is changing. Evolving client behaviour, the rise of technology and new ways of doing business all mean that sales teams need to adapt and upskill if they want to stay relevant in today’s market. This means that you need to be ahead when it comes to identifying the kind of skills you want to see on your team.
It pays to stay ahead of the curve, and part of that should involve engaging with top sales talent, as well as technologically-savvy millennials, both on social media and at networking events. Not only will this let you snap up the best candidates before your competitors get to them, but you’ll also be able to gather information about the market, and about the way in which your business is perceived by potential recruits. Given that 92% of candidates have admitted they would leave their current role for a role with a company that has an excellent corporate reputation, it’s an approach that’s well-worth considering.
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