In yesterday’s post we discussed how difficult it can be to achieve double-digit sales increases when you only retain 10% of your sales team.  The reasons for turnover in sales teams are surprisingly similar across all industries. Understand that 70% of all sales people entering the industry have the potential for success – but that success is dependent on a combination of their onboarding and training program, their work ethic, and their willingness to follow direction.  The part of that equation that is most within the control of sales leadership is the onboarding and training program.  So you must gear that toward the 70%ers.

The greatest challenge in building a training program that is geared toward the 70%ers is that most of us in sales leadership were in fact part of the 10% who would have been successful in sales with or without any direction from our company’s training program.  Thus, we may overlook the needs of those sales people who do not pick up techniques as quickly as we do – nor do we have tolerance for those sales people with lower activity levels due to call reluctance.  We tend to think, “Call reluctance my a**!  Just suck it up and go to work!”

Follow these 7 keys with all of your new sales people and watch the retention rate of your team double.

1. Effective Systemized Processes for Everything

  • Angels wing it, but sales teams need direction.
  • Creativity is great – as long as it is within the framework of a solid process.

2. Effective Onboarding

  • Observation of the sales process in live selling situations
  • Classroom and/or online education on lead identification, product knowledge, sales processes, tools, prospecting, and sales skills including a “presentation” built on asking effective questions, listening to understand client needs, and making solid recommendations.
  • Immersion in the sales and corporate culture of your organization

3. Effective Goal Setting

  • Personal goals – what do they want for their family?
  • Business goals – what sales level will provide the income to fund their personal goals?

4. Effective Activity Planning

  • Based on industry or company averages, set targets for leads, contacts, presentations, and sales closed that will yield their income goal.
  • Plan out their perfect week – when and how will the activities take place?

5. Effective Value Proposition and Communication Training

  • Where do you provide more value than your competitors when your products are similar or exactly the same? What value do you give to your customer that goes above and beyond what the basic transaction for your product would dictate?
  • How do you communicate your value proposition to your prospects?

6. Effective Mentorship for All New Sales People

  • Mentors should be committed to daily contact with the new sales person until they are meeting their sales goals on a consistent basis.
  • Mentors should be committed to being the “Tour Guide” in the field with the new sales person demonstrating the sales process and observing the “newbie” doing the same in live selling situations – not in the classroom
  • Mentors should be someone other than their sales manager – ideally a peer with whom the new sales person could confide.

7. Effective Accountability

  • Real accountability comes from the sales person holding themselves accountable for achieving their goals for their family – however, the 70%ers need more direction and accountability in the beginning .
  • Sales manager conversations each week to discuss activity levels, key selling situations, and specific accounts.

If you are a sales person who does not have a solid onboarding and training program provided by your company – you simply take on the responsibility of providing it for yourself.  Resources and people will be there if you seek them.


What would the net result be on your sales targets if your retention rate of new hires doubled?