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It’s Time to Change the Perception of Sales Jobs: Part III

Posted by James Patrick Kahler on April 21, 2016


By now you should have a better idea of how to alter the way job seekers view your sales jobs. It’s feasible goal that every company should go after when hiring for new sales positions; but why?

For one, we know that the millennials entering and already embedded in today’s workforce view sales jobs as less than favorable. According to a recent article from The Wall Street Journal:

“There’s a huge stereotype that sales isn’t really a career—that either anyone can do it or you’re born to it,” said Suzanne Fogel, chair of the marketing department at DePaul University’s Driehaus College of Business. Parents share some of those misconceptions, and often dissuade their children from pursuing sales careers, she added.

On top of the sales job stereotype, we also know that there’s a need for companies to improve the way they onboard their sales employees, which can be costly. The same WSJ article goes on to quote professor Alan Benson from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, who said:

“To get someone through the door means you also have to train them, and that can be extremely expensive. There’s usually a ramp-up of six months before they’re productive, so you can’t really take a risk.”

In part two of this blog series, we discussed how adjusting job requirements and responsibilities can help improve the way job seekers view your sales positions. To continue building on this idea, it’s important to focus on what you do after hiring an employee that’s really going to advance the perception of your company’s sales jobs and therefore, help increase retention.

Part III: Employing Career Paths & Culture Cultivate_Culture_Sidebar_CTA.png

More likely than not, your young sales employees have probably imagined themselves working someplace else in the near future. According to The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, “64% of millennials expect to leave (their current jobs) in the next five years.”

Whatever the reasons may be as to why sales employees want to leave your company, there are ways to help alleviate turnover and place your sales jobs in a more positive light. Here are two ways you can change the way your own employees view their sales jobs at your company:

1) Providing Career Paths

Two things that have a major influence on sales turnover are a lack of providing career paths and low compensation. Here are a few things to take into consideration when building career paths and compensation plans, according to an article in Franchise Times, by Kimberly Savilonis. As Senior VP of Franchise Research for GE Capital, Savilonis mentions these great tips for managing the “mighty millennials:”

  • Be real. Provide accurate and ongoing feedback on their performance and their potential.
  • Demonstrate realistic career paths so they understand what’s possible.
  • Provide transparent information on pay practices. Share data to prove your points.
  • Explain why an individual role is important. If possible, tie the job or skill to an employee’s long-term career goals.
  • Offer flexible hours, if possible.
  • Focus on results rather than face time.
  • Treat millennials like adults despite generational differences.
  • Ask their opinions and respect their contributions. They can bring new ideas to the business so be open to learning from them as well.
  • Remember what it’s like to be young.

2) Building Team Culture

If your sales environment lacks a strong and positive workplace culture, then you’re bound to lose your best employees sooner or later. You have to create some form of culture in your office to get the most out of your employees; otherwise they’ll be disengaged (especially your millennial employees). Here are some ways you can help keep your young salespeople from leaving their company:

  • Provide a unique work culture that reflects their preferences
  • Let them know their work means something; show them purpose
  • Provide a flexible work-schedule that allows time for work/life balance
  • Offer stability via salary and benefits
  • Encourage individuality within a team environment
  • Give recognition when it’s due
  • Offer encouragement and mentorship, as opposed to giving orders and managing directly upfront

Providing a workplace that provides clear-cut career paths and a positive, productive culture can do wonders for your sales team. It’s creates a team environment that produces results, as well as builds a reputation that helps recruit new talent coming into new positions. If your current employees are happy with what you provide them, then you can count on your sales jobs being well-represented and attractive to job seekers.

This concludes our blog series on changing the perception of your sales jobs. To get more tips on how you can create an efficient workplace culture for your sales team, download the complimentary eBook below.

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Talent Management, Employee Engagement, Company Culture, Management

James Patrick Kahler

About the Author

James Patrick Kahler is Hireology’s Copywriter & Content Specialist. He is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and has over four years of professional experience writing for various industries. Outside of the office (and sometimes inside), he has a passion for comedy, advertising and his Cleveland sports teams…all of them.