Building Sales Teams: How to Attract, Develop and Retain Top Talent, with Wendy Mitchell-Covington, Episode #145
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The average tenure of a sales rep is 15 months and according to a report by DePaul University replacing a sales rep costs organizations $97,690 on average. That’s why when building sales teams, sales leaders must know how to attract, develop and retain top talent.

My guest in this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast is Wendy Mitchell-Covington, National Vice President of Sales Success at TriNet. She is a strategist who has successfully built and scaled sales organizations. Throughout an extensive sales and leadership career, she has been committed to attracting, developing and retaining top talent. She believes top performing sales professionals are the engine that drive every flourishing company.

Listen to this episode as Wendy shares her experience building sales teams and tips on how to build your own successful team.

Helping Sales Reps Through Tough Times

Many sellers are finding it hard to stay engaged and maintain productivity during the current health crisis. Not only have their working conditions changed but in many instances their target customer is not buying.

Wendy says that it’s important for sales leaders to understand what’s going on with their team. Are they isolated at home and feeling depressed? Or are they trying to homeschool their kids while prospecting and attending virtual meetings?

Once sales leaders understand the daily reality of their team, they can take actions to alleviate their pain. For example, at Trinet, they implemented a very detailed communication plan to address these issues and provide help. As a result, they established virtual meditation and exercise sessions, and began celebrating small wins more often to keep sellers motivated.

Lessons in Building Sales Teams

Wendy explains that there are three key ingredients sales leaders must have to build a great sales team:

  1. Attract top talent.
  2. Develop top talent.
  3. Retain top talent.

To attract top talent leaders must identify the characteristics and past experiences required for success in the role they’re hiring for, whether it’s B2B or B2C experience, long sales cycles or transactional cycles, in-person selling or remote selling -- whatever the needs are for your organization.

Wendy says one of the most important skills a sales leader needs is knowing how to conduct behavioral-based interviews. Listen as Wendy shares three fundamental questions you must ask every candidate.

Once you hire top talent you must develop and retain them, starting from day one. Wendy says sales leaders must challenge their sellers constantly so they won’t feel stuck. You can do this by working together on a development plan and helping them improve their craft every day.

Top talent will stay with your company if they feel they’re part of something bigger than themselves, so communicate your vision continuously. And, of course, you must be financially competitive if you want to retain them.

Teach your Sellers to Think Like a CEO

One of the keys to make your team feel part of something bigger than themselves is to teach them to think like a CEO. That means helping them understand and feel how they fit within the organization, and the impact and contribution of their work.

Listen to my conversation with Wendy as we share some real life stories on how we accomplished this with our sellers and more tips about building your sales team.

Outline of This Episode
  • [2:13] From Dance to Sales: Wendy’s sales career.
  • [7:13] How to help your team to stay engaged and productive when pipelines are frozen.
  • [20:23] How Trinet is helping businesses to thrive during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • [24:24] Lessons in building sales teams.
  • [38:04] How to retain Millennial sellers.
  • [42:09] The mindset needed to stay motivated as a part of a large sales team.
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