how to retain top performing sales people

Sales Hiring 101: How to Retain Top-Performing Salespeople

Everything you need to know to keep top-tier sales talent working for your business.

Your sales team is one of your most important resources, and they deserve to be valued, treated right, and kept happy. Salespeople are the lifeblood of any business. Without them, there’d be no sales and no revenue. And we all know what happens when there’s no revenue… 

But in a competitive marketplace, where the best salespeople have their pick of employers to work for, how do you retain your best-performing salespeople – and keep them from working for your competition? 

This article will show you how! 

It outlines the best practices for retaining your top-tier sales talent, and starts at the very beginning: before you even hire them. If you’re ready to maximize the potential of your sales team and keep the best of the best working for you, it’s time to read on.

How to make your business attractive for top sales performers.

For high-performing sales professionals, it’s vital you understand the psychological motivators they respond to. That’s because you’ll need to align your company’s culture and policies with what works for them in order to make your business a place they’d feel comfortable and happy long-term. 

Your sales leadership team needs to recognize the skills, attitudes, and behaviors required to succeed at your business. As the business owner, you need to provide opportunities for people to set high expectations, and reward the team accordingly when they meet them.

Start by discovering what motivates high performers. While there is some variability, the things I see most often are a combination of the following:

  • High performers want to achieve goals with whatever work they do. 
  • They enjoy helping others reach their goals. 
  • They are motivated by recognition. 
  • They are motivated by money.
  • They are motivated by prestige, titles, and validation of their accomplishments. 
  • They are motivated by a sense of altruism to make the world a better place for others and see their work as a means to do that.

In order for the employees to become motivated and feel valued, you need to ensure that you reward them, in a way that is meaningful and motivational to them. It’s important to give them the recognition they deserve. 

Often you’ll find when you work with high performers, they’ll motivate you and the entire sales team to be more productive…that’s just one of the reasons why it’s so important to do what you can to keep them around.

What to look for in a sales candidate.

When hiring salespeople, first you need to understand exactly what position you’re hiring for so that you don’t waste your time and effort finding, hiring, onboarding, and training the wrong candidates. 

We also suggest asking open-ended questions during the sales interview process. These questions give you insight into a potential new hire’s approach and sales style, while giving you a window into their sales process and capabilities. 

I may not be able to tell you in a blog post exactly what to look for in a candidate that will sell for your unique business, but my best advice is this: treat the entire interview process like one extended sales call, and allow the candidate to “wow” you the same way you’d expect them to do with a client of yours. If they can sell you on the prospect of hiring them throughout our data-driven and scientifically backed hiring process, chances are good they’ll be a winner for your sales team,

How to build a high-performing sales team.

A big part of building a high-performing sales team is recruiting the right people. When you’re looking for sales talent, make sure you have answers to the following questions:

  • How does this person think?
  • What steps do they take to build rapport with their audience?
  • What motivates this person to work hard?
  • How do they solve problems?
  • Will their personality be a fit for our current team?

Building a top-performing sales team is the first step in building a highly effective sales department. Once you have the right people in place, they must be onboarded, trained, coached, and managed appropriately, just like any other group of employees.

Why top sales performers leave.

Sales managers often don’t have a good understanding of the factors that drive a salesperson to leave their current position or company. But when you know you have a problem, you have a chance to fix it before it becomes a larger issue. 

That’s why it’s so important for sales leaders to develop a personal interest in the lives of their sales team (while still respecting boundaries and the wishes of the individual salesperson). Rather than managing with a top-down approach, I find that when sales leaders work with a collaborative and consultative style it yields the best results for themselves, the sales team, and the entire company.

As a business, you want to be certain you and your employees maintain a level of mutual trust and respect. This enables your employees to know you’ll deliver on the products and services they sell so they can confidently do their job of growing and expanding your market reach. 

If your business can’t make good on the contracts your salespeople bring in, they’ll quickly lose confidence in you and your mission…the result being that you part ways, usually on poor terms.

Yet another major reason top-performing salespeople leave companies is they’re not being treated well by the organization. A scarcity of appreciation, especially if it comes from managers who lack a basic understanding of their team, is a driving factor that leads to high turnover.

Then there’ll be Sales Superstars who didn’t leave your company because they thought you were a lousy boss, or even because they were unhappy in their current role. They left because they weren’t challenged. When they’re no longer given the chance to grow professionally, they feel stagnant, get bored, and want to move on as quickly as they can.

But, there are things you can do, changes you can make today that will help your business keep those top-performing salespeople working for you!

How to retain top-performing employees.

For any organization, retaining top performers is essential. Hiring the right person, as well as providing the right environment and culture are the two main ingredients for long-term success. 

So, step one is to recruit someone who already fits the profile of what you want your company to be. Then, surround them with supportive peers and a strong leadership team that can help guide them down the right path. Provide them the tools, skills, and opportunity to grow…and keep up with them! 

Give them sales managers who lead and help them succeed. Provide them with direction and feedback. Show an interest in their development as sales professionals, and as people. Don’t micromanage them, and constantly seek ways to improve their experience of working with your company.

Finally, remember to always demonstrate in a way that is meaningful to them that they’re a valued member of the team. Seek to reward and motivate them with the recognition that is personally targeted and meaningful.


There are a variety of reasons why top-performing salespeople might leave their position with your company. Sales hiring can be a daunting task…and keeping top-tier Sales Superstars around can feel like a huge challenge. 

But don’t let the fear of what’s required to get it right deter you from making smart decisions to keep your top sales talent around. When you hire the right candidates and cultivate the right culture, it’ll lead to the kind of success you’re looking for.

If you’re struggling to retain top-tier sales talent, contact us today for your free 30-minute sales hiring analysis. You’ll discover how Improve Growth’s data-based hiring and sales recruitment process can help you find, hire, onboard, and retain the type of top-tier Sales Superstars who create a big impact on your sales team, and your revenue.

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