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How to Recruit, Train, Motivate and Retain Sales Managers

Sales-team-training-2A great sales team is critical for any company that wants to grow, but teams like this don’t happen magically. They’re built from the ground up by leadership that understands not only the ins and outs of sales, but also the nuances of recruiting, training, motivating, and retaining the best people for the job.


Strategies for Recruitment

Recruiting excellent sales managers means setting out to attract the best. This means approaching your talent search from a place of respect; the best people for the job are likely to have few difficulties finding work, so it behooves recruiters and hiring managers to extend themselves for strong candidates.

This means being upfront about the position, including salary range, the nature of the work, and anything unusual about the position, such as extensive travel. The best candidates will tend to balk at an application process that is too opaque, leaving you with applicants who are willing to take any old job, regardless of whether the position is a good fit. It’s important to remember that, while you may be the expert on your needs, candidates are the experts on their needs. Finding the best match between the two is more important than a perfect-on-paper candidate who knows they don’t function well in an environment like the one you provide.


Strategies for Training

Training, especially that critical initial training for new hires, can sometimes feel to employees like attempting to drink from a fire hose. With so much information presented in so little time, it can be tough to absorb it all, or even discern what is the critical information to retain, and what can always be looked up when the need arises.

The best way to take in knowledge is to actively produce it. Rather than passively reading or listening to information as it is presented, active learning can include:

  • Making guesses about the information based on prior experience
  • Recalling and sharing information after it has been shared
  • Connecting new knowledge with previously learned information
  • Working with and actively using new information or processes

When training a group, audience response systems are a fantastic way to engage in active learning. Yale has found that audience response systems are especially useful in the classroom for:

  • Assessing prior knowledge of students in order to adapt teaching to their needs.
  • Engage students in problem-solving activities as determine their progress.
  • Promote social learning through learning games and other group activities.
  • Check student understanding in real-time.


Strategies for Motivation

In order for your sales team to do their best, they need clear benchmarks and a straightforward understanding of what success looks like. Nothing is more de-motivating than fuzzy goals, inconsistent messaging, and favoritism. A part of this means providing productive and specific feedback.

If an employee needs to make a change in their work, providing them with the knowledge and the opportunity to do so (in a way that is practical, rather than threatening) can actually be a motivator. In contrast, employees find it difficult to dredge up feelings of motivation when they don’t know how well they are doing, or don’t hear about the quality of their work until it is deeply problematic.

If there are specific metrics that can be measured (and there usually are, in sales), a healthy sense of competition can also be used as a motivator. But competition should never be relied on as the exclusive source of motivation for employees, as it can discourage collaboration and helpfulness. Occasional contests are fun. Pitting team members against one another is not.


Strategies for Retention

Retention is deeply tied to motivation, but is more concerned with the long term. What opportunities for growth can you provide for valued members of your sales team? If promotion is a possibility, communicate that clearly to your team, as well as what habits, skills, and results you are looking for in those who will advance in the company.

If opportunities for promotion are limited (and for employees who aren’t interested in vertical promotion), find other ways in which you can encourage team members to advance in their careers. This could mean training, taking on more responsibility in an area that interests them, or being given increased autonomy over certain aspects of their work. For those who need to focus on family for a time, retention strategies include robust parental leave policies and flexibility in managing time. Growth may not look the same for every member of your sales team, but everyone appreciates the opportunity to grow.


The key to each of these is communication.

Whether checking comprehension in a meeting or surveying your entire company at once, Option Technologies has the tools to enable you to communicate effectively with the click of a button. Get in touch today and start building the team you’ve been dreaming about.

Sales meeting planning

Posted by Mark Fite

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