Change the Game by Hiring and Retaining Top Talent


The Sales Game Changers Podcast, sponsored in part by the Institute for Excellence in Sales, has become one of the fast-growing sales and business podcasts on iTunes. The Podcast features interviews with top sales leaders about their career journey and offers tips for emerging sales leaders. The community of Sales Game Changers will be coming together regularly to discuss topics raised on the Podcast more deeply. On March 12, the community gathered to discuss challenges sales leaders face when hiring, retaining and motivating top-tier talent.

Sales leaders encounter a number of challenges in their day-to-day roles. Hiring, retaining, and motivating top-tier talent is at the top of those challenges. In fact, it’s so prevalent that 70% of the sales leaders profiled on the Sales Game Changers Podcast have cited it as one of their top two concerns.

At the first of many Sales Game Changers events to come, a group of leading sales professionals came together to discuss the ins and outs of how organizations can acquire and retain top sales talent. Tom Snyder, co-founder and managing partner of Funnel Clarity—a professional training and performance improvement company with a focus on transforming the sales training experience—provided insight into the topic and guided the open discussion.

Tom Snyder, co-founder and managing partner of Funnel Clarity

Tom Snyder, co-founder and managing partner of Funnel Clarity

According to the sales leaders in the room, challenges to hiring and retaining top talent include:

  • How to hire talented young sales professionals and retain them for the long-term

  • How to hire quickly

  • How to develop a strategy and direction that attracts top sales talent

  • How to identify top sales talent

At the end of the day, a question that puzzles most hiring managers is, “Why is top sales talent so rare and so hard to keep?” To begin understanding the answer to that question, we must understand what constitutes top talent.

Top talent looks like “_________”

Most experienced sales professionals will agree that there are numerous characteristics that make up top talent and they range from those who are self-directed to those who are knowledgeable about their clients. Other indicators of top talent include those who:

  • Have a natural curiosity to learn and succeed

  • Genuinely care about their roles

  • Use their resources to reach their goals

  • Have less in their pipeline because they are sensitive to where true opportunities lie

While many of these characteristics carry from industry to industry or vertical to vertical, sales leaders agree that the context of any given sales position has an impact on what a person must possess in order to be considered top talent. Since there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to top talent, hiring managers must understand the other factors that affect the acquisition and retention of top talent.

Provide task clarity to attract and retain top talent

One of these factors is the structure of the organization, suggested Snyder. More often than not, the organization is the problem when it comes to hiring top talent rather than a lack of individuals who possess the necessary skills.

There have been numerous studies that analyzed the factors that are most closely associated with satisfaction for sales professionals. The top factor is task clarity. In the world of sales, there is a heavy emphasis on outcome clarity (the end goal), but a lack of clarity when it comes to the tasks that need to be done in order to accomplish the end goal.

Equipping employees with clear direction will allow you to cultivate a team filled with top talent and achieve the results you are looking for. Creating a culture of clarity is just one way organizations can attract, hire and retain the best sales talent.

Build it and the top talent will come

Just like your team wants to hire quality talent, the best sales professionals want to work for quality organizations.

Top talent seeks an environment where they are challenged and can be a part of something larger than themselves. Brands such as Amazon or Google do not struggle to hire talent because they clearly communicate their promise—they’re the best and most innovative around and they want you to help them stay that way.

The best salespeople are not only seeking organizations with a clear mission, opportunity and cultural buy-in, they are also looking for a number of motivating factors, including:

  • Awards and recognition

  • Stability

  • Customer confidence in their service or product

  • Access to resources

  • Harder tasks with greater associated personal ROI

When it comes to hiring and retaining top sales talents, there are myriad factors that affect the process. Hiring managers must understand what they are seeking in their talent acquisition and the characteristics that will lead to success in each job context.

There must be unparalleled of clarity at the tactical level, because a salesperson with clear direction can generate top-tier results. And sales teams must understand the motivating factors that drive top performers to consistently deliver results that drive your organization forward. 

The Sales Game Changers Podcast and community was created to establish a community of highly-successful and innovative sales professionals who share a mutual enthusiasm and passion to exchange knowledge and insight to further the field of sales. Listen to the Podcast now!

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse.


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X-SageJim McIntyre