sales enablement

Why Modern Seller Retention Requires Sales Enablement

With seller turnover rates hitting around 30% these days, companies that don’t pay enough attention to sales reps’ retention rates can end up paying a hefty price. According to a recent study out of DePaul University, when you add recruiting and training expenses to the cost of lost sales, the average turnover cost per sales rep is $97,690. That’s nearly $100,000 lost every time a rep leaves a company!

Recruiting new sellers is no easy or inexpensive task, either. In many businesses, onboarding new sales reps takes about seven costly months. Businesses don’t just use their time and money to recruit and hire new reps; they have to pay for their training, too.  

It’s clear that there are plenty of problems that businesses have to handle when members of their sales team decide to leave. In a time when only 19% of sales reps say they have no immediate plans to leave their companies, how can a company keep their sales team happy and effective?

Sales enablement offers one solution.

Sales enablement, or the process of equipping sales teams with the content, guidance, and training they need to effectively engage buyers, gives reps of all experience levels access to frequent, meaningful sales training resources and onboarding materials. Sales enablement meets the actual needs of reps and helps them improve their performance. When done well, it can also increase job satisfaction and help with onboarding new sales reps. All of these factors make a company more desirable and can help keep sales reps on the team.

If all that sounds great, here are four actionable steps that will help you implement an effective sales enablement strategy and increase seller retention.  

1. Formalize Sales Training and Coaching

Sales reps need trainings that are polished and professional. They don’t want something that feels like it was put together quickly. If the company treats training seriously, it will set a standard for the reps to treat their jobs seriously, as well.

Take steps toward putting a structured, systematic sales training plan into place by setting clear goals and expectations for each new sales rep. Provide them with the sales training resources that they need in order to excel. A simple strategy may include keeping a documented account of each rep’s skill level and where they need to be to stay on track. Having formal documentation like this makes it harder to overlook problems that need correction. Businesses may want to develop a sales training checklist in order to keep each rep accountable.

At the end of their training, reps should feel fully equipped to go into the field. A formalized sales training strategy can help make that happen.  

2. Digitize Your Sales Playbook

Now that it’s 2018, it’s time to get rid of the thick-bound, paper playbooks. Most of these end up left in the back of a car or at the bottom of a desk drawer, anyway.

Don’t get rid of the sales training content inside the playbook, though — make it more accessible by going digital! The pen and paper strategies of old are no longer the best option. Reps want sales training resources that they can access quickly and search through at any given moment. Digital material makes truly modern sales playbooks possible.

Later on, when your sellers are on calls and something comes up that the playbook addresses, they can pull up the material right on their computer or smartphone, do a quick document search, and have the answer. It beats digging around for a physical copy and having to flip through pages while trying to stay focused on the call.  

3. Deliver Training “In-Context” with Sales Engagements

Once a rep is in the field or on the phones, are they equipped with the proper tools and training to actually engage with a customer or prospect? Too often, businesses stop providing reps with sales training content once the formal training is over. But effective sales reps need frequent refresher courses to keep them sharp and ready to deal with any new situation that arises. They also need the necessary tools to engage any prospect and deliver the right sales content to close the deal.

Having the right training in the context of sales pitches and engagements not only helps reps with their specific deals — it also motivates them to learn more. When they see that in-context training helped them get results, they’re more likely to lean on it in the future. Making these types of sales training moments more available, then, is better for the rep and, in turn, better for the business. Reps who grow their skills as they continue to learn will ultimately become better salespeople who make more sales for themselves and for the business.  

Provide Continuous Training, Content, and Best Practices

What does your company do when sales training events are over but a new product is coming out? What about when there’s a competitive update or pricing changes in the market?

All of these situations illustrate the need for businesses to offer continuous training to their sales reps. The sales training content they receive once a year at a large training event is just not enough to account for all the changes that happen throughout a year.

Companies that choose short, frequent trainings have the flexibility to adapt to the naturally changing sales environment. With every adjustment to a product or advancement in the market, it’s important to have an effective plan in place to train the sales team under these new circumstances.

In the ever-changing field of sales, modern sales enablement strategies can help bring consistency to a company. By implementing these few steps, a business can transform into a desirable place to work, which can increase job satisfaction and rep performance. After all, highly engaged sales reps are 87% less likely to leave a company. Happy reps who are eager to perform well will find more success when provided with sales training content that is formal, accessible, contextual, and frequent. These modernized sales enablement practices will give reps what they need to succeed and stay with your company.

Shawnna Sumaoang

Shawnna Sumaoang is the Director of Marketing for Highspot, the industry's most advanced sales enablement platform, helping organizations close the loop across marketing, sales, and the customer.