The Right Things – How to Find, Develop and Keep great sales people?

Clients do not come first, employees come first. Take care of your employees and they will take care of your clients.
Richard Branson

I have been talking to a number of people over the last few months about my upcoming book  “Building People – How to Find, Develop and Keep Great Sales Teams” and the conversation invariably questions “What are the Right Things to do?”

The choices we all have after nearly 50 years of economic prosperity and “the war for talent”, have created an environment where good people are hard to find. All leaders and managers need to work consistently and diligently on staff engagement to ensure they avoid the high cost of replacement, but even more importantly enjoy the benefits of a better ROI in the medium to longer term.

When you find the right person, developing them and keeping them for long enough is like hitting a sweet spot. The reality these days is that we have so much information on sales by categories, sectors, margins, stock turns, debtors days outstanding, DIFOT, market share, productivity reports, demographic information – the query list is endless.

In most traditional businesses it is almost impossible to make money in the shorter term, sustainability is the key. It takes a while to find good people and even with comprehensive onboarding it can be at best 12 months before they understand how your business works properly from processes, practices and politics. It usually takes another 12 months for them to form strong (like really strong) relationships internally / externally before they get some momentum. If the first 24 months goes well they should have started to build a solid industry reputation for reliability and performance, and loyalty will be rewarded.

This foundation where companies consciously develop loyal, hardworking employees who develop relationships with customers fitting strategically into the company’s vision, will set up your business for significant gains at around the 3 – 5 year mark.

The benefits of your hard work to ensure your employees understand what is expected of them and how to achieve this is significantly amplified in this sweet spot where profits and ROI soar.
The Right Things to do come down to these three key areas:

i. Finding – Identify, Locate and Attract
ii. Developing – Capability (skills, attitude and potential), Strategy and Systems
iii. Keeping – Foster, Motivate and Stimulate

You do of course have to do these things at the Right Time and in the Right Way which will be covered in future posts.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, please feel free to leave your comments below as I’d love to know what you think.

Keep your eyes out for my new book which delves a little deeper into the above.

Charlie Pidcock