It’s been said time and time again that the greatest asset of any company is its people. This is particularly true of sales people, who are pivotal in bridging the gap between the needs of consumers and what an organisation can offer to fulfil these requirements.
A star sales performer will motivate your team, deliver a consistently strong performance and be a strong cultural fit for your wider business. However, a disengaged sales person will be less productive and can lead to poor business performance. Business units with low employee engagement experience 21% lower levels of productivity than the most engaged business units, according to Gallup, which shows that sales people not invested in their work will not only struggle to hit their personal targets, but also to contribute towards the wider business goals.
Making your sales people feel valued is the key to employee loyalty. It boosts morale and your team will not only be motivated to hit targets, but they’ll also want to remain within your company for longer. Because of this, it’s vitally important to invest in the loyalty of your team members – here’s how you can do it:
Recognise the efforts of your team
Working in sales is a hard job. While it offers tremendous reward for hard workers, it can also be a high-pressure job where sales people often encounter more setbacks and refusals than they do successful deals. The job isn’t getting any easier, either – an Advantages survey found that 75% of industry sales professionals think their job has become more difficult in the past three years.
As a sales manager, you’ll be well aware of the struggles your team face in their jobs – and also the efforts they make to do the best job possible. Rewarding hard work generates loyalty, particularly amongst feedback-hungry sales people who thrive on recognition. And with 75% of workers saying they’re loyal to their employer, but just 54% saying they feel their company is loyal to them, it’s clear that more needs to be done to show your team members you appreciate their efforts. Boost productivity and foster sales employee loyalty by recognising not only the output and achievements – such as bringing in a new client or upselling a long-standing customer – but also the efforts put in on a daily basis. Different awards could be created to help promote this within your team, such as Top Performer of the Month, Above and Beyond, Team Player and Sales Person of the Year, with vouchers, personal travel, financial bonuses and meals out used as prizes.
Never stop training
Training and development are crucial tools to foster employee loyalty. In fact, employees who are given the opportunity to continually develop are twice as likely to say they’ll spend their career with their company, according to Gallup. Make the most of this by offering continuous training to all your sales people, regardless of what stage of their career they’re in.
Even the most tenured sales person will benefit from skills refresher courses and the opportunity to take on new tasks and responsibilities, adding new skills to your team and keeping people challenged and motivated. In addition, by focusing on the ongoing development of team members, you’ll show you’re committed to them as key members of your company and invested in how they progress in their careers. Regular one-to-one sessions, group training days, role play and external courses can all help. Focus on the key requirements of your sales people at the time, whether that’s developing negotiation skills, enhancing their consultative skills or improving their written communication.
Give sales people the chance to advance
Along with training, sales people crave opportunities to advance in their career. The top reason for leaving a sales job is a lack of career progression, according to our BMS Index, so if you want to hold on to your top performers, progression needs to be a main priority for you. All sales people should have structured individual development plans in place, not only to signpost to them that you’re serious about their future but also to map out where and how they might progress within your business. While not all team members can move into senior positions, think about other opportunities you can give them to grow their role – whether that’s by looking after new or bigger accounts, training and mentoring new staff, changing job titles or being given greater autonomy.
Provide – and highlight – company perks and benefits
Employee benefits are more than just ‘nice to have’ – they can have a profound impact on the level of loyalty your team members feel towards you as an employer. More than a third of employees say the benefits they are offered at work increase their loyalty to their employer, showing the impact non-financial rewards can have on how valued your team feels.
While sales people undoubtedly thrive on money and bonuses, added benefits can go a long way in increasing productivity and ultimately helping them to deliver more sales. Benefits can help your sales people perform their jobs more effectively and efficiently, as well as manage their work-life balance and reward them for hard work.
There is a huge variety of benefits you can offer your sales people, including company vehicles, health benefits, childcare support, flexible hours, paid personal days, social events and early finishes. What’s important is that you identify and promote these benefits to your team so that both potential hires and existing sales people are aware of them. Those who take advantage of your benefits programme will feel more valued and ultimately will be inclined to stick with your business for longer.
How we can help
The above steps can all help to improve the loyalty of your sales people – but how can you ensure you’re hiring the best team members in the first place? For more on attracting and retaining the market’s leading sales talent, talk to us here. If you’re looking for more tips on hiring and managing your sales team, check out our latest blogs.