Sean is a principal at FitzMartin, and our leading mind and voice on sales and marketing strategy. Sean is particularly adept at applying the science of behavior change to the art of sales and marketing.
Today’s conversation offers three sets of ideas about sales culture, and specifically about how to attract, develop, and retain talent. Luke Allen is the CEO of OHD, an international company with inside sales, outside sales, and sales reps as well.
Building a great sales culture:
- Proactive attraction of talent is key. It may seem easy but most companies don’t do it. Even if you have a sales force in place right now, it’s a future fire. What if you lose someone who is a key player on your team right now? How do you replace that person without it impacting your business?
- Particularly for sales teams, if one of your members has deep expertise in a subject matter, that person’s departure can create a single point of failure.
- Single points of failure are a massive risk. Even if you have a team in place, take a second to identify where your single point of failure exists.
- Assess your team to determine the different roles and then proactively build a network of other key people that fit your culture and your expectations.
- Begin the work of courting those people even when you don’t have openings.
- The conversation can sound like this: “Sean, you seem to be very engaged in this work and you really fit what we value in our company. What is your vision for your career and how do you want it to be developed? Where do you see yourself going?”
- Most companies wait until they have an opening to begin the search, and it’s a terrible way to hire really good people.
- Consider, too, staying in touch with people you interviewed but couldn’t hire. Court them and develop relationships.
- Find out what is important to that person. For some people, money is important, but they might be able to demand money at a variety of companies. Culture is a major part of this. How can you help this person develop and grow? You can set yourself apart for those A players.
- Identify the financial, personal, and strategic pains that people have and use those in your hiring. Focusing so much on financial pain can be a mistake.
- People want to know before they sign on how you’re going to develop them, so you have to communicate that upfront.
- If your people don’t talk to you about what’s going on in their lives, you have a blind spot that you can’t protect your business from. That is a huge weakness.
- When you anticipate these changes, you can avoid significant hiring costs, consultancies, and downtime as a result of vacancies.
- Develop your direct-reports to do this with their people, and it will strengthen your organization.
- This process will never be perfect, but we’re trying to limit last-minute scenarios.
“Proactively Seek Great Talent” episode resources: