“War for talent” is a phrase coined by Steven Hankin of McKinsey & Company in 1997. It refers to an increasingly competitive landscape for recruiting and retaining talented employees. Sales organizations are in the midst of a war for talent. Companies that can attract, retain and develop the best salespeople will win the market.
In this article, we explore some of the key activities that will help your organization win the war for talent and also develop a culture of learning to retain great people. So, to help you get a leg up on your competition, I recommend implementing these four important components :-
Incentive compensation is a tricky subject. Get it right, and you can provide strong motivation for your sales team. But get it wrong, and it can create friction and cause resentment among your team. Paying commissions is one of the most common ways to motivate salespeople, but you need to make sure you’re compensating your salespeople fairly for their efforts.
Here are tips to help keep things positive:
- Compensation should be competitive with industry standards. You may think that paying a commission rate higher than the industry standard will motivate your salespeople to hit their targets faster or harder, but in many cases, this isn’t the case. A higher commission rate may actually cause them to sell less if they can achieve the same income by working elsewhere.
- Commissions should be paid on a regular basis based on a predefined schedule. The more frequently your salespeople are paid out their commissions, the more motivated they will be to earn them. Make sure you are paying out commissions at least every two weeks and communicate this schedule so that there aren’t any surprises — especially when payday rolls around!
- Pay vs. earnings. There are two sides to every compensation plan: fixed pay and variable pay. Fixed pay is what salespeople receive regardless of how much money they make for the company. Variable pay is based on performance and earnings levels. The ideal compensation plan should strike a balance between the two.
2. Career development
The most successful businesses recognize the long-term value of investing in their people. Talent is the lifeblood of your business. It's what keeps you running. But beyond base pay and benefits, you can't expect to attract and retain employees without a clear learning and development strategy.
Learning and development strategies are especially important for sales teams, which have an outsized impact on your bottom line. Regardless of industry, salespeople face increasing pressure to meet targets, cultivate new deals and drive revenue. However, many companies leave their success up to luck or gut instinct.
When you invest in your sales team's learning and development, they're able to take on more responsibility while gaining the skills they need to be more successful in their roles and future career paths. This means better results for everyone.
Sales are one of the most demanding departments in any company. It is also the most important department because if the sales team isn’t performing well it will have an immediate impact on your revenues. Your sales team members are always under a lot of pressure because they have to meet their targets and have to deal with rejections and tough customers on a daily basis.
Therefore, it is very important that you create an environment that is friendly and motivating for them, so they can work to their full potential. A lot of times companies don’t pay enough attention to their employees working in non-core functions like HR, Marketing and Sales. If you want your business to run smoothly, you must ensure the happiness of all your employees including those working in non-core functions. You can create a better work culture by using these tips:
- Respect each other
- Be open about everything
- Celebrate Birthdays and Festivals together
- Create some fun activities for employees to participate in
- Make sure that everyone feels safe at your workplace
- Organize training sessions for employees to improve their skills
4 Continuous Coaching and training
Once you've decided how many rungs there are on the ladder to success, create a clear path for sales reps who qualify for the promotion. Each step should include specific training requirements and milestones that must be met before advancement. Many salespeople are motivated to succeed, but they struggle with a lack of direction and a sense of being left behind. Salespeople need coaching especially in an era where the pace of change is increasing.
Here are three key ways that sales leaders can help their people to develop.
1. Coach for growth: Help your people to be the best they can be by helping them to identify and capitalise on their strengths. Rather than focusing on weaknesses, spend time building on strengths and finding ways to work around weaknesses.
2. Create a plan for learning: Salespeople need development plans that focus on both technical skills and competencies such as communication and leadership. Technical skills might include product knowledge, market knowledge and understanding of the buying process of different types of buyers. Each person should have a roadmap for their development that includes learning activities like webinars, sales training courses, or partnering with more experienced peers or coaches to learn by doing.
3. Provide mentoring programs: Both formal and informal mentoring programs can help salespeople grow into more senior roles in sales, marketing or management. Mentoring programs match mentors with mentees and provide support so they can establish trusting relationships in which learning is naturally embedded in the partnership relationship between mentor and mentee.
So, if you’re an enterprising company leader who wants to build a world-class sales organization and develop a culture of learning—one that could help your organization win the war for talent—the four important components are the first step in your process.
Implementing this simple framework can help ensure that you’re attracting top sales talent, and creating a culture of coaching and training so that your team is firing on all cylinders.
In the end, the four components will give your organization a leg up on the competition and enable you to launch your sales force into ultimate success.