As a business owner, retaining your top salespeople is important for consistently hitting your sales targets. After all, recruiting is a costly and time-consuming process, and when you hire someone, you want them to stick around for the long haul to minimize disruptions to productivity.
As a Fractional VP Sales, I’ve seen how common it is for the resumes of salespeople to show a pattern of job jumping. So, how can you ensure that you hold on to your top salespeople? If you’ve ever had salespeople jump ship and found yourself wondering why, or if you simply want to avoid this from happening in the future, keep reading.
How to Find the Right Management Mix to Keep Top Performers
Retaining your top talent needs to be a purposeful exercise, and you shouldn’t manage all people in the same way. If you try to take a one-size-fits-all approach to management, there are going to be people who don’t respond well and often they will speak with their feet by walking out the door. Here are four ways to ensure you’re finding the right balance to keep your top performers motivated.
1. It All Starts With Your Company Values
To address employee retention, you first need to have a clear understanding of your company’s fundamental values and principles. A strong values-based management foundation is the toolset from which you, as the business owner, and your managers can draw from to help manage your employees.
It’s worth noting that it’s not a matter of completely different management styles for different employees. The magic lies in the nuance of how you apply your company values and principles to manage and lead your people from day to day.
2. Recognize That Top Performers are Always Different
In any team, you have top performers, middle performers, and some at the bottom of the pack. Whatever makes your top performers different from the rest of your staff is typically what makes them successful in their roles. These differences are precisely the reason you need to take a different management approach with them than with other staff.
Understanding exactly how top performers are different will help managers and other leaders figure out which leadership style or approach to take to keep them motivated, and ultimately, loyal to your business.
3. Understand What Motivates Your Top Performers
Different people are motivated by different things – that’s as true in business as it is in life. Top performers often value different things than your lowest performers. That’s why if you want to hold on to them, you need to be able to recognize what your top performers are motivated by, and to what degree.
When it comes to sales success, top performers are typically more motivated by money. If you set up a compensation plan that does not richly reward those who are motivated by money, they will go elsewhere to find a plan that does. For people motivated by money, financial incentives like commissions are important.
Another trait typical of top performers is a high degree of initiative. Top performers who value freedom and independence will not respond well to micromanaging. If you try to make them always stick to rules, they are likely to feel restricted and leave.
Similarly, you need to consider whether your top performers are motivated by teamwork before setting team-based sales goals. A top performer who is a team player and feeds off team motivation may prefer this, but someone who is more of a lone wolf motivated by independence won’t want their performance tied to someone else’s. If a top seller who prefers to work alone has their income tied to something they can’t control, they’ll leave.
4. Inventory the Traits and Characteristics Needed for Success
Just like there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for how to manage top performers, there is no blanket solution for retaining talent across industries. As a business owner, a manager, or another leader, it’s necessary to inventory the traits and characteristics needed when it comes to success in sales for your industry, with your products or services, and in your market.
Then, you need to provide those motivators for your top performers to keep them happy so that they can be as successful as they want to be. This may involve doing it in a slightly different way for different salespeople – as mentioned above, the magic is in the nuance of the day-to-day application of your values to how you manage your people.
After reading this, the steps for holding on to your high-achieving staff may seem fairly obvious. Yet, the loss of key talent is something I see business owners struggling with all the time in my role as a Fractional VP Sales. Maintaining a stable, productive team depends on your ability as a leader to identify, understand, and apply different motivators in your management of top performers.
Once you can successfully do so, you’ll not only be able to hit sales targets and reduce staff turnover but also create a more appealing environment for recruiting new hires. I’ve given you a lot of ideas here, and there are a lot of layers to consider. I’d be happy to help you think through how to apply these tips to keep your top performers. Contact me today to start a conversation.