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The battle for sales talent is never-ending and always challenging. The frequency of transition for sales professionals between companies makes the job of recruiting and retaining top salespeople a critical skill for today’s sales managers.
 
Choosing the right people and keeping them with your team requires a focus on some key areas of management. Here are some strategies that can be employed for finding and keeping talent for your organization:
 
Make recruiting an ongoing process.

The worst time to look for talent is when your salespeople decide to leave. The time constraints and urgency of replacing lost talent can force you to compromise and take on convenient talent rather than ideal candidates. Having to live with a compromise can cost you heavily in terms of lost opportunities, skill development and revenue.
 
Instead, create a system that attracts sales talent. Work with your marketing team to build pages on your website that promote your culture, values and rewards for the type of people you would like to recruit. Ask that when people apply, they also submit information such as their sales results in other organizations and stories of winning hard accounts. Keep an eye out for the high achievers who show a record of winning and would fit well into your organization.
 
Furthermore, provide incentives for your current staff with handsome recruiting rewards as part of your human resources efforts. For instance, providing cash incentives to friends of current employees who join your sales team could keep everyone focused and on the lookout for the next sales rock stars. Your people know who would fit in your culture, and the incentives are much less costly than trying to hire recruiters. Everyone wins!
 
Use sales assessments to profile strengths.
 
Not everyone is cut out for sales. A sales assessment profiler like The Canadian Professional Sales Association’s Profile Sales Assessment can help measure sales behaviours and potential in a quantitative fashion. By utilizing this kind of testing, you can predict the success factors (or lack thereof) within your candidate pool.
 
For those candidates whose profiles show a propensity for success, there is a way to filter out the ones who are less likely to be successful and prioritize the select few who possess qualities that will allow them to excel.
 
Furthermore, you can see the gaps in training and assess the costs of filling in the needs required by each person in areas such as prospecting, relationship-building or closing. Testing puts everything on the table for discussion with a candidate and allows for a measured way to hire and develop candidates before trying them out on the job.
 
Post on current positions and monitor job boards.

Job boards are continually filled with job seekers and employers. They are a ready source of sales professionals who are eager to make a change in their careers. Post your vacant positions and watch what kind of talent responds over time. SalesJobsCanada.com a great resource for this, as it creates a marketplace to connect job seekers with employers.
 
It is important to become familiar with the filtering rules on the job boards and continually refine the job descriptions to attract the right candidates. These online spaces are also a great place where employers can proactively find and peruse candidates based on their experience and résumé information. This is especially useful if you are recruiting for a position that requires extremely unique technical skills. It is crucial to remember to use these job boards as a resource to connect and filter talent regularly (once every couple of weeks minimum).
 
Provide ongoing training and development.
 
No matter how adept your sales team is, there is always room for improvement. Identifying where progress can be made and helping your salespeople overcome their weaknesses not only improves results, but it also creates a motivating work environment. Sales team retention can be kept high with driven staff members who feel they are being adequately challenged and are continually growing.
 
Training can happen in one-on-one mentoring relationships, e-learning systems or offsite sales seminars. Helping team members develop communicates that they are important and worth investing in. Your sales talent is an asset, and growing your assets by improving their performance not only creates a return in the form of loyalty, but also in the ability to develop sales opportunities.
 
If you are facing budgetary constraints, get creative by coordinating peer training. Allow for senior salespeople to work closely with junior team members. This reinforces a culture of learning and provides camaraderie for both parties. There are always areas in which a salesperson can improve. Diligent management will make training and development a core strategy for retaining your best salespeople.
 
The Game of Professional Sales
 
Professional sports leagues are all too familiar with the game of talent. Millions of dollars are exchanged and negotiated to identify and keep talent on teams or to build the right combination of players for success.
 
Likewise, today’s sales managers must behave much like talent scouts and head coaches. All talent is not the same. Being systematic and intentional about your sales recruiting process ensures a continuous pipeline of candidates.
 
Ensuring your training and development programs help people grow is a strategy that requires hard work and organization, but it is well worth it.
 
The key is to build your talent management system with care and attention to detail. It protects companies from the volatility of the talent market, and it is what winning teams benefit from over the long term.
 
 
About the Canadian Professional Sales Association
Since 1874, we’ve been developing and serving sales professionals by providing programs, benefits, and resources that help you sell more, and sell smarter. 
Contact us today at MemberServices@cpsa.com or 1-888-267-2772 to see how we can help you and your team reach new heights in sales success.
Copyright ©2013 by The Canadian Professional Sales Association
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