Staying Power in Sales: How to Hire for Longevity

Not only is employee turnover disruptive to a sales team, but it’s also costly. According to research conducted by Manulife, it costs roughly 40% of an employee’s annual income to replace them. To replace a sales manager making $70,000 would therefore cost a shocking $28,000.That includes the costs of departure, hiring and on boarding, as well as costs associated with productivity disruption.

The startling cost of turnover makes one thing very clear: You need to hire for longevity. Mitigating employee turnover starts with the hiring process. No hire is ever 100% likely to result in a long and fruitful relationship, but there are certain tips you can keep in mind if you want to raise your chances of employee retention.

Here are a few ways to hire for longevity. 

Work with a Sales Recruiter

Perhaps the best tip is to partner with a sales recruitment agency. In-house hiring often relies on casting a wide net through listings, ads and website forms. What you get in return are “applicants,” but not necessarily “candidates.”

One of the benefits of working with a sales headhunter is that you get access to passive candidates – top sales professionals who aren’t actively looking for new employment but who would move for the right opportunity. Further, a great sales recruiter knows your business and can get you in touch with candidates who are the right cultural and professional fit for your company. The better matched you are from the beginning, the more likely you are to retain the employee. 

Be Transparent and Ask Probing Questions

When it comes time to interview, be as transparent as possible about the position, work culture, salary and career prospects. Hiding this information to net a great candidate is a short-term strategy that likely won’t pay off in the long run.

As for questioning, be sure to include cultural fit inquiries like the following:

  • Who was your best boss, and what qualities made them great?
  • Describe what you believe to be the most effective management style.
  • What does your ideal work environment look like?
  • And how would past co-workers describe you?

These questions help you get a sense of what the candidate values in a workplace. If their answers align with your company culture, there’s a good chance they will prove to be a lasting fit. 

Look Inward

Sometimes, it isn’t about finding a candidate that fits neatly within your existing company culture. Especially if you have recently experienced several departures, it may be time to reflect on how attractive your company culture actually is, and what you can do to change it.

For instance, if you want to hire a sales rep who’s a team player, ask yourself whether you are fostering a team atmosphere, or if competition and in-fighting dominate your sales team. If your perfect candidate for sales manager happens to have a family they care for, consider working flexibility into your company culture. Tweaking your culture to get and retain talent is a win-win for everyone. Hiring shouldn’t be an annual event. With the help of a trustworthy headhunter, a transparent and forthcoming approach to interviewing, and some self-reflection on company culture, you can turn turnover into a problem of the past.