Nobody wants gold watches and trips to Cancun as sales perks anymore. Times are changing, and today’s employees are looking for less tangible rewards from their employers.

That means employers have to start thinking holistically when it comes to attracting and retaining top sales talent. For example, consider how important work/life balance is to the current talent market. As Tim Hird, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources, explains in a 2017 report, “Employers and employees alike are emphasizing work/life balance.”

This opens up an opportunity for organizations to engage top-tier sales talent by better meeting their needs. Hird notes, “Managers can help by giving their teams more freedom over where and when they work, if possible, and providing greater autonomy. These efforts go a long way to improve job satisfaction and retention rates.”

So while monetary incentives have always motivated, today’s top performers want a mix of non-monetary perks like remote work and more paid time off as well. Getting the best salespeople to choose your company comes down to several key factors:

1. Engage With Talented Salespeople Through Your Brand

A positive brand reputation and smart brand management keep great sales employees hooked. A worthwhile salesperson won’t want to represent a company with no foundation or marketable identity, especially if other brand names (that have more popularity) are knocking down their door with a job offer.

With that in mind, it’s important to engage with talented salespeople through your brand to prove your organization is a major player in its industry. You may also want to show sale candidates your company is in it for the long haul by sharing details about your direction and plans for progress.

When discussing your brand and its overall mission with sales candidates, focus on information like:

  1. Collaborations with top clients that highlight your impact in the industry
  2. How employees interact with each other and what the culture is like among the sales team
  3. How your company rewards top contenders for excellent work
  4. Career trajectories and opportunities for advancement afforded to successful sales employees

More than anything, you need to sell your top prospects on why your company is an excellent choice for their future. Don’t hesitate to brag about how your company can help them take their careers to new heights.

2. Training Opportunities Are Essential

After setting the hook with your brand, you need to show candidates how your company will invest in their continued growth through training opportunities.

There are a variety of training tools you can use — and promote to sales candidates — to help your sales team members sharpen their skills. For instance, let’s say your company focuses on cold-calling. One training tool recommended by cloud communications provider AVOXI is live call monitoring, in which managers listen in on employees’ calls to evaluate their skills and provide coaching as needed. You could share details about your live call monitoring program to showcase to candidates the steps your company takes to develop its people.

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Overall, the goal is to give sales employees a chance to grow. The specific form your training takes will vary depending on what your team members need. Whether you’re sending people to conferences or scheduling one-on-one trainings on a weekly basis, candidates and current employees alike will appreciate your commitment to boosting their odds of success in the field.

3. Pay According to Skill Level

Obviously, anyone who pursues a career in sales has a desire to make money. If you can’t offer substantial salaries according to skill level, it may be hard to find top talent.

If you’re offering a lower-than-average salary for your sales roles, you’ll be unlikely to get high-performing salespeople accepting your offers. If you do somehow convince a great salesperson to sign on for low pay, that employee is bound to leave as soon as a competitor offers them an amount of money more in line with their experience. When turnover is high, you end up throwing away a lot of money on recruiting costs and training hours for the new employees you keep bringing in, not to mention the opportunity cost of any sales leads that go uncontacted as a result.

Rather than wasting time and money on constant recruiting, the best option is to simply pay compensation rates that are in line with a candidate’s experience. If a salesperson has a stellar resume and wants to be compensated well for their time, agree to their terms and track their sales numbers from day to day. If their earnings are high and consistent, you’ll know they’re worth the money you’ve paid. On the other hand, if they aren’t hitting targets, you can evaluate their earnings to level things out accordingly.

4. Give Them Work With Purpose

Lastly, you have to keep in mind that salespeople want work that is driven by purpose. They don’t want to be grinding 24/7 on mind-numbing tasks and sales goals without context.

Connect your salespeople’s everyday efforts to something bigger. For example, if you’re a startup company gaining a bit of traction, inspire the sales team by letting them know that every lead they convert is a major win that puts your brand on the map.

The same principle applies to incentives. Don’t waste money on bean bag chairs and dog-friendly offices. Instead, offer meaningful incentives like stock options, more time off to spend with family and friends, and remote work options.

Today’s sales culture is too focused on hustle-sell-hustle-sell when it should really prioritize holistic experiences and fulfilling work. If you want to attract and retain top sales talent, imagine what your ideal work situation would be like — and then do your best to make it a reality.

Matt Shealy is the president of

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