3 Essential Strategies for Retaining High Performers in Sales

Employee turnover is costly, and it is magnified when you lose a great employee, or one of your “high performers”. Not only do you run the risk of disrupting customer relationships, high performers are not easily replaceable. They have built strong relationships with your clients, they know how to best sell your products and services and they are driving significant revenue for your organization. You can’t simply hire someone new and expect them to perform the same way within 6 months – this takes time. This is why retaining high performers is critically important. Yet, too often we demand retention instead of creating it.

Retaining High Performers Is an Outcome Not an Activity

To hire great people, you need excellent recruiting, strong and thorough onboarding and disciplined ongoing management from day one. If you get these three right, you get retention. This is what we call ROOMr:

  • Recruiting: strive for great only and be patient for the right person who is the right fit.
  • Onboarding: ensure vigorous support to help new team members learn their jobs – too often onboarding is not robust enough.
  • Ongoing Management: once onboarded, do not assume high performance, and once high performing, do not assume it will always continue. Everyone needs to be managed on a consistent basis. Ongoing management is the most involved and time-consuming component, yet making positive steps in this area will help create high performers who won’t want to leave your organization.
  • retention: strong recruiting, onboarding and ongoing management leads to retention. We’ve all heard it before… “people leave managers, not companies”. This is because they are not coached and developed to perform at their best.

ROOMrHigh performers on your sales team are your biggest asset. Follow these 3 essential strategies for retaining high performers and avoid the high cost of turnover:

1.  Keep Them Engaged

Recent Aon Research shows that the following steps should be considered to engage and retain high performers:

  • Let your high performers know just how important they are to the business – consider not just how they are bringing value today but also how you see them contributing in the future
  • Help your high performers understand where they fit into the company long term – work with them to map out their goals and take an active approach in helping them plan their growth
  • Make sure your high performers are enjoying their day-to-day work – ensure that one-on-one meetings are both business and person focused to measure engagement levels

Managers play an essential role in creating highly engaged teams. If high performers are essential to run an exceptional business and stand out from your competitors, managers are essential to finding and keeping your high performers.

Are you investing in your managers enough to ensure they are creating highly engaged teams? Do they have the tools and processes they need to build exceptional teams and retain their employees?


2.  Adapt Your Management Approach

Every high performer is different. It is risky to assume everyone is motivated by the same thing. Therefore, it is important to deepen your understanding of each high performer on your team to uncover what makes them “tick” and adapt your approach to make it individually relevant.

Consider the following questions to deepen your understanding of your high performers:

Their personality - Who are they? What is their personality? How do they communicate? Do they have a sense of humour? Are they quiet and reserved or more outgoing? Do they prefer to write or to talk? Consider adapting your management style to their personality.

What are their values and goals – What do they care about? What is important to them? What personal and professional goals do they have? Knowing this will allow you to connect on a deeper level with your high performer, and build a stronger relationship with them.

What is their skillset - What do they do well in their role? What are their strengths? What skills do they bring that add value to their role, your team and your organization? Alternatively, where do they still need to further develop and grow? What skills would bring more value? High performers need to be recognized for what they do well and more importantly, need to be challenged in order to learn and grow. Make sure you understand where and how you can support them.

Their motivation – What drives them to take action? What inspires them to do something? Understanding what motivates your high performers is critical to managing coaching them effectively.

Once you deepen your understanding, focus on it. Incorporate these aspects in your coaching conversations, your one-on-ones and your daily interactions to help them reach their personal and professional goals.

3.  Improve Their Well-being

Money isn’t always everything. When a high performer is doing well, he or she will inevitably be compensated accordingly. By improving employee well-bring in areas such as purpose, social, physical and community, leaders can help employees lead better lives. Gallup Research also shows that employees who are engaged and are supported by their company in at least four well-being elements, they are 59% less likely to look for a job with a different organization.

Some ideas to consider:

  • Flexible work schedules
  • Monthly gym benefits
  • Corporate wellness challenges

When it comes to retaining high performers, keep them engaged, adapt your management approach and improve their well-being. Reach out to us to find out more about supporting the development of your high performers.