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How to Attract and Retain Top Sales Talent

Aug 25, 2021
2 min read
It takes nearly three times a sales rep's salary to replace them. Learn how you can attract and retain top sales talent with sales compensation in today’s competitive sales markets.

​More than half of organizations (58 percent) had increased sales turnover over the past year, according to the Xactly State of Global Enterprise Sales Performance study. And throughout 2021, companies are continuing to see more salespeople leave.

Sales rep churn is something businesses are familiar with. HubSpot says that the average turnover rate is 35 percent. But remote work environments have opened the door to new opportunities for sellers across the globe. As a result, competition and recruiting have increased tremendously.

To stay ahead of intense competition, today's top sales organizations must attract and retain top sales talent. Your best weapon to do that is your incentive compensation plan. But that’s only part of the equation. Here are four best practices to help you attract and retain top talent. 

4 Best Practices to Attract and Retain Top Sales Talent

The average sales turnover rate is 35%

1. Create Competitive Compensation

Compensation is your biggest driver of sales behaviors. It’s also one of the top reasons salespeople leave for another job. SiriusDecisions reports that 89 percent of reps leave for higher pay. Needless to say, competitive compensation is critical to attract and retain top sales talent.

The best way to ensure your compensation is competitive is to benchmark against industry and peer data. Comparing your existing incentive plans against other businesses allows you to use data to ensure reps are fairly paid within your industry. That helps keep them on your sales floor instead of your competitors’.

2. Communicate Incentive Plans Clearly

Communication plays an important role in sales retention. Transparency around company changes and new sales plans builds trust between leadership and reps. This is especially true for implementing new compensation plans.

Getting your compensation plan rollout right is critical. Reps need to understand their compensation plans and how changes benefit them. When sharing new incentive strategies, aim for simplified compensation structures and emphasize how sales reps benefit. This ensures reps know exactly what they need to do to hit their quota and earn more.

3. Provide Clear Career Paths

Another top reason salespeople leave is a lack of career development and advancement opportunities. Xactly data shows that seller performance peaks between two and three years in a role. After five years, performance begins to drop off. This is the ideal time to think about your team’s individual career goals. 

Take time to discuss each rep’s goals and create a path for them to succeed. Providing educational opportunities improves seller skillsets. In the end, this makes the rep and your entire team stronger. 

4. Take Action Sooner

Sales rep performance can provide a lot of insight into how reps are doing. But it’s often hard to see engagement dropping before a seller quits. Technology like Xactly Insights provides an in-depth dashboard to look at overall, team, and individual performance. 

Its artificial intelligence uses your data to learn performance patterns. Then it can alert leaders of reps who are likely to leave the company. This gives you more time to talk with reps and create plans to keep them engaged and motivated.

Learn more ways to attract and retain top sales talent in the guide "How to Build and Retain Sales Reps to Drive Top Performance."

  • Benchmarking
  • Incentive Compensation
  • Sales Coaching and Motivation