To attract and retain talented salespeople, build an environment where winners can thrive.
I hung up the phone and barged into my manager’s office. Without any explanation, I announced, “Get out the suntan lotion.” He looked puzzled for a minute, and then a huge smile spread across his face. He got up from his desk, shook my hand, and congratulated me for making Club.
I’d just closed the last deal I needed to exceed quota and get to Club. The trip that year was to Grand Cayman, and I’d been ready to go since the location was announced. A month later, I was in the balmy Caribbean. We ate dinner as a group every evening, and on the last night, we had a ceremony to celebrate our successes throughout the year. Everyone received a special acknowledgement and a trophy (which fit perfectly in my luggage for the return flight).
I was surprised by how much that recognition meant to me. After all, I’d only done my job (very well, of course). Management had announced the winners to the entire company, and I’d been on an amazing trip. But I was a seasoned sales pro working with a winning sales team, so how much acknowledgment did I really need?
Yet, something strange happened: That little award at dinner cemented my loyalty to the company. I suddenly understood why everyone craves recognition—because it feels good to be a winner.
How Sales Executives Keep Rainmakers Happy
How do you create an environment that inspires and celebrates the success of your sales team? Nick Hedges, CEO of Velocify, shares his strategies in his Entrepreneur.com article, “The Secrets to Building a World-Class Sales Team.” He writes:
In a study last year conducted by University of Southern California business professor Steve W. Martin that was sponsored by my company, Velocify, 71 percent of sales leaders cited as a top concern their ability to hire and retain sales talent.
This year, the Miller Heiman Research Institute found that that only 8.5 percent of the sales professionals surveyed in its annual “MHI Global Sales Best Practices Study” could be considered “world class.”
Drawing on the research and his own experience, Nick lists five ways sales executives can attract and retain the best of the best. These include:
1. Strike the proper balance between inside and field sales.
2. Reward great sales performance.
3. Ensure quotas are aggressive but realistic.
4. Create a culture that celebrates sales success.
5. Wear the company’s competitiveness with pride.
Read the rest of Nick’s article for more on these top sales tips.
Want Winners? Reward Success
I still have the trophy I won on that sales trip. I’ve moved my office several times over the years, but that little statue always moves with me. It continually reminds me to work hard, do what I love, and stay focused. I won that trophy because I developed long-lasting relationships with my clients and earned the right to ask them for referrals. With new prospects, I asked probing questions, didn’t take the first problem I heard as gospel, and wasn’t afraid to push back and explain what needed to happen for my clients to get sustainable results. The trophy reminds me these are the secrets to sales success, and I should continue doing what works.
Yes, all of that inspiration comes from a trophy I received decades ago.
Recognition goes a long way. Winning sales teams won’t continue to excel without ongoing recognition—every day, every week, every month. Sure, we all want to earn lots of money and we thrive on competition. But if you want loyal and exceptional salespeople, you know what to do.
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