One of the biggest costs to any online brokerage business is the churn rate of sales and retention staff. In the world of online trading, this is perhaps second only to client churn. You all know the deal, you spare no expense at recruiting and training a team of sales and retention people. Then, nine months later, they start leaving for greener pastures and you’re left constantly trying to hire and train new staff.
It’s one of the bigger catch-22s in our industry. If you don’t invest in building the best sales and retention teams, it will affect your bottom line; if you do, those new sales monsters you’ve created will eventually use everything you’ve taught them to get a better position that pays more elsewhere. So, what can we do to keep our best people?
1. Get Hiring and Training Right
One of the major reasons that so many newly hired salespeople drop off so quickly, is that they were unsuitable for the role to begin with. The numbers vary, but anywhere up to a third of the churn in your sales and retention departments is due to people who made it through the recruitment process not being able to cut it on the job and having to be let go. This is often due to there being such a hurry to get those seats filled, that HR and management rush the job at the selection process.
The boiler room approach to sales still dominates in many areas of our industry. The idea that steel sharpens steel, that everyone’s expendable, so just throw them in there and see who can stay afloat. However, as you’ll see below in point 2, this isn’t the approach that’s most conducive to building a long-term corporate culture.
Your hiring stage should be able to filter out the applicants who cannot deal with the pressure, the targets, and the competition of the sales and retention workplace. However, it should also be designed to privilege the hiring of team players over lone wolves. The lone wolves are the ones who will shine for a season or two, and then leave you high and dry when they move on.
2. Keep Things Interesting
Dealing with a team of fiery sales and retention people can be a real headache for managers. Many of whom have just accepted the churn rates of our industry as almost a law of nature. Remember, it takes at least six months to train a new hire, and it can take the best part of a year for them to start yielding anything significant for your business.
Many salespeople cite boredom and lack of opportunity as the main reasons they move from one company to the next. Money goes a long way, however proper leadership and career development goes even further. Make sure you provide your best sellers with fresh challenges, such as the opportunity to lead the launch of a new product or to manage the training of a new batch of recruits.
For everyone else, ensure that you find time to celebrate their smaller wins, not just the huge deals. Keeping them encouraged and aware that you’re paying attention to their efforts, as well as helping them close deals that could use the benefit of experience, really creates a culture of mutual support and growth that keeps people loyal.
It might seem counter-intuitive in a sales environment, but it’s a good idea to encourage friendship and camaraderie between your people. Many studies have found that work friendships are central to a happy workforce and that most people will choose colleagues they get along with over a higher wage elsewhere. Creating a good work environment staffed by people that actually like each other can make all the difference.
3. Give Them the Tools to Succeed
Last but certainly not least, we come to the tools that actually help your teams to get the job done. You can staff your brokerage with the best and the brightest, but if their time is spent wrestling with annoying interfaces of dated software, or performing dull and repetitive administrative tasks, then you’re not making the most of them and you’re giving them more reasons to get bored with the job.
Good software isn’t just about keeping your teams happy, when constructed correctly it should not only help them work more efficiently, but it should also allow your management to monitor, engage and incentivise them to perform even better. This is a subject our engineers could wax lyrical on for hours because we’ve made it central to our development process.
Our Panda CRM has been designed to do just this. It allows your people to track incoming leads at every stage of the conversion funnel and create workflows for different teams and members of staff. It can also record every interaction they have with clients, keeping everyone in the loop, but also allowing your superstar sales pitches to be kept for future reference and used for training purposes. Finally, it allows management to create a healthy sense of competition with public leader boards for sales and retention teams that list top 3 and top 10 agents by day, week and month with customisable metrics.
For further information on what Panda can do to optimise your sales and retention efforts, please get in touch with one of our success managers.
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