Do you know how much it costs your business to replace a sales rep? According to Aberdeen Group research, it can be over $30K – per rep. Most executives would agree that amount of money could be better spent in other areas of the business instead of paying for sales turnover.

And, it isn’t just money out of the corporate pocket. There’s also a cost you pay when it comes to revenue growth. Getting a sales rep up to productivity takes time. If they leave, you lose that experience level and go right back to the hiring drawing board, slowing down sales or – worse – losing out on opportunities.

To attract and retain top talent, you need to have effective systems in place to recruit, motivate and provide ongoing communications and recognition programs. Here are the practices used today by best-in-class sales organizations.

Recruit Right

As you recruit, you need to make it clear why someone would want to consider the role. To attract top talent, promote the rewards you offer for success – not the least of which is your sales compensation plan. As you advertise for candidates, be sure the description of the opportunity includes all of the key benefits. If you’ve won awards, they should be noted on job descriptions and on Glassdoor. Xactly, for example, has been recognized as one of the best workplaces in the U.S. multiple times. These types of awards should be promoted to your sales candidates.


Gartner has identified sales incentive compensation management (ICM) as the market driver for sales performance management (SPM) software. This is because incentive compensation management software gives organizations a simple and cost effective way to motivate reps.

A well-run ICM plan encourages better behaviors. However, good execution is key to success. When incentives are not adhered to, paid accurately and on time, rep satisfaction goes down. According to Gartner, compensation plan administration has a 3-8% error rate. With an automated system and processes, ICM software delivers faster payouts and reduces these errors.

ICM software can also give reps access to what if scenarios, so they can easily see the potential payout of a particular deal. Reps are highly competitive. Having real-time visibility into performance data – and what that means to their bottom line – is highly motivating.

Communicate Clearly

You need to be transparent in company policies as well as compensation and incentive plans. Not surprisingly, sales reps are very interested in knowing how their incentive payments are calculated. Let them know what’s coming down the pipeline in terms of payment – and when they can expect the check.

This means that your incentive plan must be easily accessible – to reps, managers, as well as your financial management. Transparency is key to building trust. Give everyone the information they need and want through digital technologies.


Analytics can help you easily spot the top performers. Use these findings toward immediate recognition through SPIFs or bonuses. Also, set up contests. They don’t need to be long. It could be a three-hour calling blitz or a month-long campaign to promote new products or processes.

The key is to give recognition and have fun with it. Promote it within the company so everyone has more understanding about sales. Use incentives and gamification to your business advantage.

By attracting and retaining top sales talent, leaders save money and keep sales teams moving faster. This, in turn, generates more revenue growth for the business – a benefit you can’t afford to overlook.