Feb 21, 2023  |  By Wei Sun, CEO

How to Retain Your Sales Reps with Better Culture & Training

Retaining frontline sales reps in this market can be difficult. With more gig work options, fewer workers entering the workforce, and competitive employer benefits, retention matters more than ever.

The cost of replacing and training employees is high, and it’s challenging to upskill them fast enough before they leave. To retain your team, you need a holistic retention strategy. In this guide, we walk you through expert steps to ensure the team you worked so hard to hire sticks with you for the long term.

Quantify why retention and culture matter to your company

You want to provide a safe, enjoyable, and productive workplace. You want employees to learn new skills, unlock their potential, and feel like they belong.  But these worthwhile goals are difficult to quantify. 

A practical strategy requires metrics. From our experience serving the wireless retail industry, we’ve learned that the average tenure is 100 days. You can use an employee turnover calculator to figure out how much your company is losing each year. Then, try experimenting with 10% and 15% improvements to see how much your company would save. 

“With the gig economy, workers have more choices, and employers have to be more attractive than ever. Birth rates are down, meaning there are 10% fewer people coming into the workforce. That’s why attrition becomes so important. You can’t afford to lose people because you don’t have a revolving door anymore.”
- Rob Lauber, L&D consultant and former Chief Learning Officer 

The cost of losing good people and training new people can be exorbitant. When you know how much money you’ll save, you can make a strong business case for new solutions that will reduce those losses. 

Know the reasons why employees stick around

The next step is to understand what moves the needle when it comes to employee retention. Do your best reps stick around for free lunches every other Friday? Probably not.

According to L&D experts at companies known for having better retention rates than their competitors—there are three main reasons why employees stay with a job:

1. Fit

Fit is all about alignment. Employees need to feel like they fit in their work environment. They want to feel like they belong, the job is aligned with their purpose, or that it serves as a means to an end for them. They need to feel like your company is the right place for them right now.

That might be because of the people they’re working with, the skills they’re learning, or the amount of money they are earning while putting themselves in college or paying for childcare while away from home. 

2. Flexibility

Employees today also care about flexibility. They want to be able to work the days, times, and locations that fit their schedule and personal life. 

If the manager is too rigid with their schedule, doesn’t make it easy to request time off, or doesn’t release their schedule early enough to allow them to plan activities with their family…that might make it for an employee to look for a job elsewhere.

3. Future

Employees want to work for organizations that allow them to envision a better future for themselves. Maybe the job helps them gain the skills they need for future success, or the company helps pay for their education. Whatever the reason, the employee needs to see that this company will help them get to the next level.

While these elements are unique to each individual, people tend to be attracted to organizations that can hit on all three. 

Develop programming and incentives accordingly

Next, you need to develop programming that will satisfy the these fit, flexibility, and future motivations.

For example, McDonald’s now uses AI to screen applicants for better fit. Their AI finds people more likely to stick around. The company experienced a 38% increase in crew manager retention from the AI system and a 9% increase in manager retention. 

And Taco Bell continues to be an excellent workplace choice for those looking to better themselves and further their education. The company provides college support in the form of tuition assistance and also prioritizes working around employees’ class schedules. 

Here are some ideas and strategies to consider:

To develop programming that matters to your unique workforce, you’ll need a better way of collecting feedback than basic surveys. More on that below.

Use peer-to-peer sessions for learning and feedback

To improve company culture, you need to open up the floor for honest employee feedback and real-world learning. 

You need to connect employees so they can deepen their relationships and transfer more knowledge. Employees learn more from each other than from a training video or seminar. And they’ll be more honest when speaking with each other than when filling out a survey on the support they need.

But organizing peer-to-peer conversations for training and feedback is an organizational nightmare. With Upduo, you can easily implement bottom-up learning. Employees can instantly pair up with each other for quick video calls on their mobile phones. Session prompts keep conversations on track. 

“Teams are using Upduo to practice, brainstorm, mentor, reinforce learning, and ask questions in a safe place.”
- Lily Young, Education Enablement Manager at Upduo

Our team helps you craft session prompts to revamp your training, increase sales, and collect feedback on how the work environment could be improved. 

These session recordings provide the insights you need to make changes. Plus, they naturally enhance culture by transforming your company into an organization of continuous learners. 

Learn more about peer-to-peer coaching with Upduo.