Three tactics to beat the B2B sales talent crisis

Great salespeople are hard to come by. They are built, not created. In today’s age of the ‘empowered buyer’, sales roles have become far more consultative in nature and the sales toolkit has shifted to include a plethora of sales enablement and sales intelligence platforms. So, how can you keep onto your employees?

Employee retainment is at a low. 44% of millennial salespeople say they plan to leave their job within two years. To add fuel to the fire, the number of sales positions are on the rise - there’s been increase of 65% between 2020 and 2021 as a result of the pandemic. But why has the pandemic increased job vacancies within the sales industry?

Much of this shift can be attributed to flexible working. With hybrid working, many people have suffered from a lack of contact with their employer with 52% of employees reporting that they did not receive any training during the height of the pandemic. This can be detrimental to the development of effective sales teams in 2022.

Traditionally, sales roles have involved minimal training and a reliance on the traditional ‘sink or swim’ approach to onboarding staff. However, when we consider the fact that sales are becoming increasingly scientific with the rise of tech enabled systems, minimal training is no longer an option. Sales leaders need to completely restructure their outlook on building and investing in an effective sales team. Here are three tactics for sales leaders to deploy to effectively recruit, train, and retain top B2B sales talent.

1. Invest in continuous training and mentorship programmes

Research shows that 45% of employees would be more likely to stay with their current employer if they offered more skills and training. Amid the current sales labour shortage, continuous training and mentorship programmes are key to developing and retaining a successful sales team.

Many sales leaders stop training after onboarding whether it be because they don’t see the value in it or if it’s failed in the past. This is often because they haven’t devoted the correct amount of time necessary to train representatives. It may seem costly to take representatives off the phone and place them into training sessions, however it will be beneficial in the long-term for business revenue if sales representatives are well trained and better at their roles.

One-to-one coaching is a great way to personalise training. Looking at the needs of each individual representative rather than taking a blanket approach allows for better individual results. Leaders should also be coming up with a training plan that empowers the representatives and creates buy-in. Avoid simply telling team members what they need. Instead, reflect on their personal skill gaps and address how to fill them.

2. Use KPIs to measure the efficacy of sales team development programme

Data has become an invaluable business asset: 95% of c-level executives say data is an integral part of developing their business strategy. In order to fix ineffective recruitment, identify challenge areas and develop targeted solutions, businesses should be regularly measuring KPIs to ensure team members are the right fit for the business.

The focus should be on leading indicators; those inputs that drive those results, rather than measuring outcomes through lagging indicators. The basics are obvious:

  • Employee churn rate.
  • Sales eligible lead delivery.
  • New business win rate.

However, sales leaders should look outside the box and also consider:

  • Methodology and technology adoption.
  • Employee engagement rates in training and coaching programmes.
  • Average time to platform proficiency.

While there are infinite metrics that sales leaders could track, looking at KPIs beyond the sales cycle are those that are critical to driving growth and efficiency. Monitoring the development of the sales team will allow for leaders to understand the efficiency of the team alongside any weak spots.

3. Take a data-driven approach to assessing sales talent

If businesses are to have high revenue, there needs to be a measurement system in place for monitoring employee progress. Without visibility of what sets the high-performers apart from low-performers, how can sales teams improve on their work? The ideal salesperson should be measured against three key areas:

1. Sales execution

Successfully executing sales is arguably the most important and exciting aspect of all sales cycles. Understanding the completion rate of sales representatives is crucial to creating a repeatable sales process based on the work of the strongest members of your team. This visibility allows sales leaders to develop a training scheme that is focused on the most effective methods of executing sales amongst the team.

2. Technological skills

Tech-enabled sales systems have grown in popularity in the past few years – it’s estimated that the highest-performing sales teams now use between three and eight tools in their day-to-day operations. The right solution can empower teams to effectively collect and analyse data, make informed decisions, and automate tasks. With so many tools at the disposal of sales teams, it is vital that representatives can use all technology to its maximum potential. When assessing the progress of team members, assessing their technological skills is paramount to understanding their success as a sales representative.

3. Administration

Administration is key to all sales roles with it underpinning the success of most sales. Sales representatives that have an organised administrative process in place often drive the best results. Monitoring time management, CRM hygiene, organisation and team communications will highlight those sales representatives that take care with their administrative responsibilities, which in turn will likely complete the most effective sales.

If businesses are to beat the current B2B sales talent crisis, more needs to be done to measure and aid the growth of sales representatives in the increasingly tech-enabled industry. No longer can sales leaders avoid training their representatives if they want to retain team members when demand and opportunity is so high. Continually training team members, using data to assess talent, and measuring sales teams against KPIs will allow for increased employee loyalty and successful sales.

Want to learn more about keeping hold of your talent?

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