The Great Resignation of 2021 has continued into 2022: An average of 3.95 million people quit their jobs every month in 2021, and businesses are still struggling to find, and retain talent.
Sales teams have been hit hard, and leaders are seeing increased turnover and competition for new hires. A recent search on Indeed turned up more than 800,000 open sales positions!
Many companies are caught in a losing battle of competing with each other to offer the highest salaries. It’s just not possible to keep paying more and more to entice new hires.
Instead, here are four strategies the smartest companies are using to hire and keep talented salespeople.
1. Investing in New Hires
While it’s tempting to want to hire the person with the most experience, smart companies know bringing in people with less experience can pay off.
Hiring someone who’s a bit greener reduces the initial cost of acquisition, enables quicker assimilation to your company culture, and gives your organization the opportunity to fully invest in training and development.
Teaching key skills and processes improves new hire performance and shows your company’s willingness to put time and resources into employee development, which increases retention.
2. Training Existing Staff
The most successful companies don’t waste their time chasing down the ideal hire (who’s being pursued by a dozen other companies making equally attractive offers!).
Instead, these companies are training people they already have. Ongoing sales development improves results and increases efficiency across the board. If your existing team can become even 10-20% more effective, that creates a meaningful impact on your results.
Some companies operate on a churn and burn model with their sales teams and don’t invest much (if anything) in sales training. That game has become a lot more costly recently, and investing more in the people you have produces a better ROI.
3. Focusing on Retention
Smart companies and leaders know the solution to turnover isn’t just hiring—it’s addressing why people left in the first place.
According to the Work Institute, pay is cited as a reason for leaving by fewer than 1 in 10 employees—while more than 1 in 5 leave due to career-related factors like development, training, advancement, and their managers (see 4 below).
Companies that invest in employees through training, caring environments, and better work-life balance see higher retention rates than companies focused on pay alone.
This is especially true for Gen-Z employees, who value ongoing, immersive learning experiences that provide a clear path for development and advancement.
4. Making Managers into Leaders
The saying, “People don’t quit jobs, they quit managers” is popular for a reason.
One of the most underappreciated assets for retaining sales teams is developing sales managers into sales leaders. Often, it's just a top performer who moves (or gets moved) into the role of manager—but selling and leading sellers are very different things.
Who would you choose to build your house: Someone who went to a great 2-day seminar on architecture, or an architect with years of apprenticeship and training?
Smart companies don’t just send a manager to a one-off training; instead, they create a thoughtful and deliberate development plan that turns a manager into someone who knows how to lead their team to success.
The smartest companies know investing in their leaders amplifies their return simply because of the number of people they impact.
There’s no easy solution to the challenges created by Great Resignation—but there are steps you can take: training new hires well, up-leveling existing people, focusing on retention, and developing leaders will all make a positive impact.
The good news is that these are not mutually exclusive and you can start making progress in every area. Which do you think makes the most sense for your organization?