A 2018 sales leadership study by Growth Dynamics revealed that 58% of companies were experiencing unique challenges with new business development, technology advances and long-standing sales teams... although 82% had one BIG common challenge... finding and keeping the right sales talent. In the March 2019 Industrial Distribution article, “Cutting Tools: From Auto to Oil to Aerospace, Disruption Lies Ahead,” by Contributing Editor, Mike Botta, he reviews challenges and disruption in the cutting tool industry. Not surprisingly, this includes, “Finding and Retaining Talent.” While every industry is facing similar challenges in attracting and retaining top talent in key production, engineering, operations, or leadership roles, having a top performing sales organization is most crucial for company growth and success.
With the disruptions occurring in the marketplace today, leadership of top performing companies recognize their competitive advantage lies in the strength of their sales organization...success is not optional; revenue must occur. Therefore, no longer can a company risk future business, profitability, or customer retention on a bad hire. So what is the solution?
Solution for Success
The solution is to provide your leadership team and hiring managers with a targeted comprehensive methodology and process to attract, interview, qualify, select, develop, and retain the right sales professionals. Attracting, selecting and retaining the right sales force is different from any other role in your company. When you consider that the sales professional will be representing your company in the marketplace, interacting with your customers AND will be responsible for driving revenue into your company, it is critical that the job ad effectively markets the role so you can attract and screen qualified sales candidates that FIT.
This is accomplished by helping your sales leadership team, not human resources, define the “picture” of top performance in the role (or roles) of sales for your company. The resulting picture (what GDI calls a sales benchmark) should clearly detail the experience, attributes, skills, motivation, and FIT required for top sales performance. Armed with this picture, or sales team benchmark, your leadership team can effectively attract, interview, and select the “right” candidates who fit the role criteria.
Sales Force Performance and Retention
And…the same information can be used to lead, coach, and develop your existing sales team, helping them adapt to the complexities of selling today. Successful top performers will expect strong leadership that can help eliminate obstacles, will want to be held accountable and challenged to succeed, and will want to be armed with the tools, training, and support to develop new business and new customers for growth and success. Equally important, they seek compensation and rewards that fit the role expectations and performance accountability.
Given the complexities of the roles of sales in diverse selling environments today, defining the role of sales and establishing the metrics of top performance at your company is crucial to attracting and building a top performing sales organization. By building the right sales force, leadership can focus on advancing and retaining top performers to optimize sales efforts — resulting in increased revenue and customer retention.