Sep 1 2016

Written by The Allemano Group,


Everyone involved in hiring new talent knows how much work it can be to find the best possible candidate. From sorting through hundreds of resumes – many from not-at-all qualified applicants, to the multiple rounds of interviews and the final vetting process, it can take hours and hours of a hiring manager’s time.


That’s not even considering the necessary financial investment in hiring: “… even an $8/hour employee can end up costing a company around $3,500 in turnover costs, both direct and indirect.[i]” Then once you have found the perfect candidate, he/she needs to be trained, which can be a significant expense; according to a report from Training magazine, companies spent an average of $1,200 per year, per employee”[ii] on training. Once you have invested the time and money in a new employee, you may be thinking that the hard work is over; unfortunately, “one third of new hires quit their job after about six months”[iii]. All of these (worrisome) facts illustrate the importance of employee retention for a business’ bottom line.


If your company’s employees are not sticking around as long as you’d like, implement these four tips to retain your top sales talent:


1 - Choose a candidate who will thrive in your company’s culture

As well as considering a candidate’s skills and experience, it is important for hiring managers to consider whether the person’s norms, values, personality and work style will be compatible (or complementary) to the company’s culture. It is also important that the new hire be a good fit personality- and work-wise for the other employees on their team and their direct supervisor. Why is this important? Employees that are compatible with the company culture will often report feeling more competent at work, which will make them feel more fulfilled and inspired to work as productively as possible – a win/win situation both for the employee and the company’s bottom line.


2 - Re-evaluate your compensation plan

There are many different types of sales compensation packages. If you are finding that your sales team is not motivated or that you have a high turnover rate, consider updating your compensation plan to better motivate and retain top-sellers.


        A. Salary only: This is one of least effective sales compensation packages as it offers very little in the way of incentive to close sales. If you are using this compensation package, consider switching to one that is part commission to encourage your employees to “always be closing”.

        B. Salary + commission: This type of compensation plan is effective as it does offer incentive to close deals, while also ensuring that the salesperson is comfortable knowing that their basic expenses will be covered (by the salary component) if they have a slow sales period. One thing to consider when implementing this type of package is the ratio of salary to commission; most organizations choose to structure the commission as the larger component of the compensation, as it will offer the optimum incentive for the salesperson’s performance. Don’t forget that it isn’t just the percentage of commission that you offer; it is also important that you offer timely payment schedules. Employees are always more motivated when they can see the results of their hard work (commissions!) paid out within a reasonable time period. We normally recommend monthly or quarterly, depending on what works best for your company’s revenue model.

        C. Profit margin/revenue-based: This type of commission package is mostly used by start-ups that don’t have the funds to cover an employee salary. This type of compensation structure is best combined with other types of incentives, such as stock shares, flex time, extra vacation time, etc. Keep in mind that this type of plan is best suited to highly motivated salespeople who have another source of income to help cover their basic expenses until their sales efforts have paid off.

        D. Territory volume: With this compensation package, the total sales within a region are calculated and the commission is split amongst all of the salespeople (usually equally). This package is best for a team-based corporate culture, which has very target-rich territories (enough to support sales for an entire team, rather than a single person).


3 - Update your management style

Salespeople thrive when they have a manager who is supportive, who motivates them and who values their hard work and productivity. If you have a high employee turnover, consider evaluating your sales manager’s management style and, if it is found lacking, offer the manager leadership training that will cultivate these skills in him/her.


4 - Invest in training & ongoing personal development opportunities for your sales team

An important part of making salespeople feel productive and successful in their role (and therefore, improving employee retention) is offering a comprehensive personal development and training program on an ongoing basis. Successful salespeople are motivated to excel and by providing opportunities for growth, you are providing them with the skills necessary to increase their earning potential significantly.


One bonus tip – While all four of these tips are important to implement to retain your best sales staff, your company’s compensation plan is the one that will have the largest impact because sales reps are especially motivated to excellence based on financial incentives. After all, we are all working to pay the bills!


As you can see, employee retention is an issue that can directly impact your bottom line – and that should be a huge priority for hiring and HR managers. Have you found success with any of these tactics? Do you have any other ideas for employee retention strategies that we haven’t discussed here? We’d love to hear from you at







The Allemano Group is an executive sales recruiting company that specializes in the recruitment and placement of Industrial and Business-to-Business sales professionals. Sales teams are the most critical component of every organization, and hiring great salespeople is challenging. We help companies save time and money by finding the right sales talent quickly.

To begin your search for the next great sales organization,
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