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As we approach two years of the Covid pandemic, we’re in the midst of unprecedented levels of adversity. Every time it seems we’ve gotten ahead a few steps, something comes along that sets us back. During such times of adversity, managers have to know how to retain top talent. 

The hunt for top sales talent is at an all-time high. The great resignation is real. Employees are leaving their employers at record highs, and managers need to stop the flow out the door. Sales managers have no choice but to get involved in retaining their top people.

Three ways to retain top talent

Gone are the days when the bottom line is the top priority of the manager. Employees today need more than PTO and a bonus check.  Here’s how you retain top talent.

Focus on personal development

When you focus on the personal development of your team members, you go beyond developing them for the company’s benefit. Find out their personal goals and help them reach them– even if it doesn’t directly impact their work.

  • If you have a rep who is interested in real estate investments, introduce him to someone you know who is  a real estate expert. 
  • If you have a rep who is interested in travel, share the itinerary you created on your last incredible vacation. 
  • If you have a rep who is expecting a child, share a book with them about balancing career and family. 
  • If you have a rep who is interested in NFTs, share a podcast you just heard about how NFTs are shaking up the art world.

You get the idea. Find out what matters to them personally and help them develop that interest. When a recruiter comes knocking on their door, those sales reps are going to remember that you were committed not just to their professional development, but to their person as well.

Tell them that they matter

Let’s be honest here. Your sales team is on the front lines. They’re the very first interaction the customer gets with your brand. They deliver the good news and are the bearer of bad news.

The reality is that they are in such a vulnerable position, with high turnover and difficult-to-reach goals, so they need to know you appreciate them.

Don’t assume they know you appreciate them because they get a paycheck. Take time to connect with them regularly to explicitly tell them they matter. When you walk the walk (by helping develop them personally) and talk the talk (by telling them you care), you retain your top talent.

Paint a vision of success

During times of adversity, the management cream rises to the top. The best managers really shine when they acknowledge that uncertainty is taking place.

To retain your top talent, acknowledge the adversity and then paint a picture of what success will look like after you emerge from it. Include every member of your team in that vision for a brighter future for your organization. 

If you’re not doing that, someone at a different organization will do it for you. Recruiters that come after your top talent paint an idealistic picture of what it looks like to work for their organization. That will be a seed of doubt that will grow into your top talent looking elsewhere for a brighter future.

As a sales leader, it is your responsibility to be the best version of yourself. To do that you need to focus on the personal development of your people, reassure your salespeople they’re the most important asset on your team, and paint that vision of what success looks like with them on your team.

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