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How to Attract - and Retain - the Highest Quality Media Sales Staff

26 SeptemberBy Rob Forsyth

It really doesn't matter how great your team, products or services are. If you don’t have the right sales staff, then your business is never going to reach the heights it deserves. 


The strongest sales staff can take their pick from some seriously tempting roles and equally persuasive packages. Once they’ve found their perfect environment, they’re unlikely to budge. So how on earth are you going to make sure that you can attract - and retain - the high calibre sales team that your business needs to thrive? 

If these are questions that leave you glaring at the alarm clock in the small hours, then be of good cheer. You CAN attract and keep them.

The following are some key points in ensuring that your business will stand head and shoulders above the crowd when it’s time to source your media sales staff. Follow our advice, and you’ll have great salespeople queueing up to join your firm - and wanting to stay with you for the long haul too.

Take control of your employer branding

Does your business have an active and engaging online presence? Thanks to the dominance of social media, we expect to be able to find out more about the brands we interact with. This requires active management, ensuring that your business has a visible presence that lets potential candidates know just how great it is to work for you. 

Where social media may have initially been seen as an additional means by which to vet potential candidates, the tables have now been turned. The best candidates will research potential employers fairly thoroughly before engaging. 

So what does this mean?

Encourage your staff to air their - hopefully positive - opinions. This is particularly important if you need to counter any negativity. If disgruntled ex-employees have been lying on LinkedIn or fretting on Facebook, make sure that there are positive reviews to present a balanced picture. 

No-one expects utopia and the same 80/20 rule applies to employer reviews as it does to any other review: people are far more inclined to hit the keyboard when they are incensed. Smart candidates know this. But do make your employer branding shine across your social channels insofar as you can.

Actively manage staff retention

So you've managed to attract some great new sales staff. But what if you can’t persuade them to stay with you for more than a few months? We all vote with our feet and your staff retention rate is the true measure of what your team really thinks.

Do you know what the issues are? Shockingly, many employers haven't got a clue. If you want to fix the issues, conduct exit interviews with everyone who is moving on. Take their comments and suggestions on board and make the changes they suggest. The drivers behind attrition are as diverse as the workforce. Your hiring strategy may be off; you may have some rogue line managers; or your compensation may have fallen behind. 

Employee perks raise morale and foster long-term relationships. Your employee reward scheme can be tailored to your organisation’s precise needs. Salespeople don't just enjoy being recognised and incentivised for their hard work - they NEED to be. But design your employee rewards carefully; nothing is more demoralising for a sales team than repeated recognition of a few "stars" to the exclusion of the hard-working mainstream of the group. Employee retention requires a creative and inclusive approach.

Work with the right sales recruitment agencies

Of course we're going to say this, but it's vital. There may be plenty of apparent choice out there when it comes to sales recruitment agencies, but that doesn’t mean that they’re all created equal. Really do your homework and select a recruitment partner based upon a glowing track record in YOUR sector.

Do they really understand the roles that you have on offer? Short sales cycle, one-shot ad space sales are a far cry from strategic partner engagement in a global clickbait network. Does the recruiter have the track record to really understand your business? Do they invest time in getting a handle on corporate culture? If they don't, offer acceptance rates will be low and you'll be back to worrying about attrition rates and re-hire costs. (more about this to come next week)...

At NinetyThousandHours, we know EXACTLY what it takes to make a great salesperson, and we can source the best candidates (active or passive) for every role. You have unique positions to fill that require exceptional sales talent. Why not give us a call?

The first thing we'll do is listen.

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