Your Sales Team Needs More Veterans. Here’s How to Find Them.
Sales teams are the heart that pumps blood, energy, and profit through the veins of your company. So when your sales team is failing, all operations will begin to fail along with it. Sales is also one of the toughest departments to manage, motivate, or work in. There is notoriously high-turnover. VPs and directors of sales are feeling the burn — the average job tenure of a Sales VP has fallen from 26 months to 19 months. This SOFX series will review the common pitfalls when building a dream sales team and the untapped resource of veterans in sales roles.
What’s Wrong with Your Sales Team
The stats on sales team turnover are dismal and you can see EXACTLY where profits are being lost:
● Roughly 70% of companies FAIL to meet or exceed revenue targets
● There is a minimum 20% annual turnover in sales
● 26% of rep turnover is due to missed quotas
…And the average cost per turnover is $97,690.
This is why finding and keeping high-performing sales reps is essential. When your sales reps aren’t performing and your turnover is sky-high, the company’s profits are at immediate risk.
Retention and performance problems are twofold. First, you’ve got to make sure your pulling from a candidate pool that has what it takes to succeed in sales. Next, you as a manager or company head need to create an environment that encourages not only retention but outstanding sales performance.
Identifying Sales Superstars
As we review the characteristics of individuals who are truly and consistently successful in sales you’ll see how closely these traits align with those gained throughout a military career.
5 traits of highly successful salespeople:
- Disciplined: to succeed in sales, you have to be in it for the long haul. Many sales take months or even years to win — a lengthy commitment of time and energy.
- Hunter Mindset: sales is, at its core, is a hunt. Goal-driven people who wake up in the morning with a drive to catch the ‘big fish,’ and stop at nothing to get it — those are the salespeople you need.
- Preparedness: the best salespeople not only know their product and process inside and out, but also know everything relevant about their target company and their contact. Superstar salespeople prep for every scenario.
- Teamwork: the idea of the ‘lone salesmen’ has become outdated. Sales departments that make cooperation a priority are consistently seeing higher performance than organizations with a super competitive atmosphere.
- Leadership: working in sales requires the ability to lead not only within peer groups (e.g. training new hires), but also in client meetings with executives. Sales Reps must be confident to lead potential customers through the process.
Now if you go over this list and consider what traits apply to veterans, you’ll notice a point-by-point overlap.
Leading the Way
After identifying what you need from your sales team, it’s time to pin down what your sales team needs from their leader in order to succeed. Leadership is practically tied for first as far as the most influential contributor to sales department success. Sixty-nine percent of salespeople who exceeded their annual quota rated their sales manager as being excellent or above average.
Sales managers, directors and VPs must: possess a command instinct (also innate to vets who have achieved a high rank), ability to strategize, be transparent, and put in individual work with each member of their team. More on veterans as sales leaders in the second part of this article.
Finding The Best Candidates
It’s clear why veterans find so much success with careers in sales, and why you need them on your team. The difficulty can be connecting with veterans who have experience in sales. We know exactly what career fields in the military are sales jobs. We know where to find and engage veterans who are already proven successful as sales professionals in industry, and we know exactly how to engage them to come work for you. As stated, sales is an underrated career path for this group and may be the last to cross a vet’s mind.
SOFX Talent specializes in connecting companies with high-impact talent, veteran or otherwise. We employ former special operators in a corporate recruiting role. Our recruiters possess decades of experience of finding people in the wild. Our in-depth and proprietary candidate vetting process ensures optimal candidates are connected with our corporate clients. To schedule an opportunity to discuss how SOFX talent can serve your corporations’ recruiting needs, please drop me a note: [email protected].