The days of 100% commission with a 90-day guarantee for new hires are long gone. To attract the best sellers, you must offer a compensation plan that offers more security — that is, a plan that includes longer guarantees so that the hire has more time to develop business. And you have to commit fully to training.
As media companies struggle to be competitive in hiring top sales talent, it is crucial to understand what it will take to land and retain the quality sellers.
For many, that involves restructuring the compensation plan so that it provides new hires a level of security while they build their rosters of clients. They also need training, attention and the right tools to make it work.
The days of 100% commission for new hires, with a 90-day guarantee, are long gone.
Think about the people you have hired on those terms in the past.
On day one, they are excited and pumped. On day 30, they have a better idea of what it will take to earn money. On day 60, they are getting nervous about covering their draw so they start looking for a new job. On day 90, they are gone or mentally checked out. You have wasted time and money and hurt your reputation as a good place to work.
To attract experienced sellers or marketers, you must offer a compensation plan that offers more security — that is, a plan that includes longer guarantees so that the seller has more time to develop business.
You must also consider the local market for sales talent. Identify businesses of all kinds — media and non-media — that employ your ideal sellers and then get an idea of what they are earning, how they are paid — 100% commission or base plus commission, salary plus bonus, etc. — and what their full earnings potential is. Structure your compensation accordingly.
Offering more attractive compensation doesn’t mean you have to lighten up on accountability.
Pay should still be dependent on meeting specific goals and standards that promote their success. Every time someone comes to me with the story of that new hire who was let go after 90 days, I wonder what kind of company would pay someone without concrete objectives.
Most managers feel that the proof is in the billing, but in the beginning, it can’t be about billing alone as the new hires are in training, building relationships and, in some cases, learning a new business.
Consider including a Management By Objective plan with measurable goals to be discussed with their managers at least once a week. The goals should be designed to help them learn what it will take to be a success.
For instance, goals could include a number of ride-alongs with veteran sellers and an amount of time spent with each department head to truly understand their roles and how they interact with sales.
It’s a good idea for new hires should go out on calls with their manager, complete some initial appointments on their own and make presentations on why TV and why your station before the entire sales team so they can learn from the team.
Also, have the new seller complete online or in-person training and learn your systems, but be sure to follow up to gauge their understanding and comprehension. Don’t wait until the end of their guarantee to check in.
If a seller doesn’t work out for whatever reason, it will be a waste of money for your company, a frustration to them and extremely harmful to future recruiting efforts.
Get your money’s worth by giving more hands-on attention and ensuring they are progressing as desired.
Laurie Kahn is founder and CEO of Media Staffing Network. She can be reached at [email protected] or 480-306-8930