How to attract and retain top sales talent is top of mind for CEO’s and VPs of Sales. Companies have made positive changes offering better compensation packages, flexible work schedules or the ability to work remotely. However, I believe that many organizations are not fully utilizing a proven strategy.
And that strategy is making sure your employees, your salespeople, have a friend at work.
Gallup is an American analytics and advisory company that provides management consulting and data to organizations throughout the world. One of their consistent findings over the years is that employees who feel like they have a best friend at work stay at work. They are engaged, more productive and, as a result, the company reaps the reward of higher profits and a happier workplace.
What can sales leaders do to improve work friendships? Start with these three strategies.
Strategy #1 to Attract and Retain Top Sales Talent
Get very intentional about creating a business environment that encourages the development of friendships. In a world gone remote, keep scheduling in-person meetings because nothing replaces face-to-face conversations in building friendships and relationships.
You might be thinking you can’t afford the expenses associated with face-to-face meetings. I encourage you to do the real math. How much is turnover or lack of engagement costing you? The time, money and effort for recruiting people that leave your company. The time and training investment to ramp up new hires. The opportunity costs because you’ve got an open sales position. Do the real math on what it takes to build work friendships and retention of top talent.
Strategy #2 to Attract and Retain Top Sales Talent
Model friendship building behaviors. During group sales meetings, recognize birthdays and personal milestones. For example, if you have a salesperson that just completed their first 5K race, take time during the sales meeting to recognize this accomplishment. Hold a baby shower for the expectant Mom and Dad. If a member of your team has a child graduating, take part of your sales meeting to congratulate the parent on a job well done.
When I was a Vice-President of Sales, we would wrap up a full day of meetings with a walk. We’d change out of our work attire and put on our workout attire. It was a wonderful day to wrap up the day. It was also one of the key ways that our management team became really good friends.
Strategy #3 to Attract and Retain Top Sales Talent
Engage in adult recess. Remember when you were a kid and recess was part of your school day? You went outside, played with your friends and had fun! Many sales leaders are planning their sales kick-offs for the next year. In that planning, they will make sure they are sharing great product knowledge, sales training and motivational speakers.
Add fun—adult recess—to your sales kick-off. Take the time to hold contests, play games, conduct skits. At one of my sales kick-offs, we held a talent show by region. All of these activities had adults playing together, having fun together and building friendships.
As you look at your strategies on how to attract and retain top sales talent, remember to incorporate strategies that help your sales team have a best friend at work.