7 Ways HR Can Help Increase Sales

Sales and Human Resources don't always see eye-to-eye.

Sales teams are usually quite happy to sidestep policies and bend the rules if it means closing more sales, while those rule-following sticklers in HR wag their fingers in disapproval.

But the emergence of data, insights, and KPIs as measures of success have brought these departments closer together, helping them work in lockstep to strengthen sales team effectiveness.

HR may just be sales’ greatest ally. HR owns essential functions like recruitment, training, and compensation, which all help organizations drive more sales.

Here a few of the key things HR can do to increase sales in your organization.

1. Hire the right people

When it comes down to it, if you want your business to grow, you need good people—which is where HR comes into play.

HR can attract top sales professionals and make sure that these new hires are a good fit for both the culture and the needs of your sales team in terms of values, skillsets, abilities, or personality traits.

Related article: 4 Reasons It’s Time to Upgrade Your Sales Compensation Software

It’s important for HR to understand the different roles in the sales process. Sales teams have evolved to encompass functions beyond BDRs and AEs. Functions that support the sales cycle, such as Sales Engineers and Customer Success, play a pivotal role in growing and retaining business.

2. Onboard like you mean it.

HR should ensure that all new hires have an onboarding period to get familiar with the company's goals and values before they're put in front of customers or clients. The faster a rep can be ramped up, the sooner companies can realize the gains.

Onboarding is your chance to set the tone and make expectations clear. This experience will differ depending on your company culture and your employee value proposition (i.e., why they took the job in the first place).

For example, high-performance cultures will want to make every hire feel like they’ve been drafted to the best team in the league. On the end of the spectrum, more family-oriented cultures will want to center orientation around support and understanding.

3. Train them to be better at their jobs

Training doesn’t stop at orientation. Sales organizations need to promote a learning culture if they want reps to stay at the top of their game. That can be achieved by offering course reimbursements, hosting training seminars, or implementing a learning system.

Additionally, ensure your sales team is up to date on your product mix by providing opportunities to learn about the products and services your business offers. In complex sales organizations, this is a must to amplify cross-selling opportunities.

The importance of ongoing training also extends to management. HR can provide feedback to management about what is working and what's not, so they know how to make adjustments.

4. Keep sales happy and fulfilled in their roles

Employee morale is a key component of sales. Happier employees are more productive, deliver better results, and are more willing to go the extra mile.

HR can help support employee satisfaction, and in the process, improve retention and performance by being proactive about employees' needs and work/life balance.

Related article: 5 Reasons to Reduce Sales Commission Disputes

Whether they should or not, sales folks will always compare their situation to their peers, so ensure compensation, benefits, and policies are meeting or exceeding the market standard.

5. Provide a clear path for growth

HR can also be a liaison between the company and its employees to encourage feedback from staff members about what they want for themselves, their jobs, and the company.

That could come in the form of leadership development programs for employees looking to progress in their careers or even mentorship programs that pair new reps with experienced sellers.

Having a clear path forward will help reps stay motivated in the face of adversity and will keep your sales machine humming.

6. Design a competitive sales compensation plan

It cannot be overstated that compensation is the #1 motivator of sales. For the plan to be effective, it must have the right commission structure, be easily understood by reps, and handsomely reward their hard work.

Your plan needs to balance the right commission rates and quotas to keep reps motivated. Commissions should be generous, so reps see value in their work, and quotas should be high enough to be challenging, but not so low that reps feel they can slack off.

Related article: 14 Top Sales Incentive Plan Design Tips

Ensure that your sales compensation plan is well understood by the sales team because if they don’t know how they’re getting paid, they won’t be motivated to close business. Try to keep your plan simple and establish a communication plan when updating the program.

Nobody likes to learn about plan changes in a convoluted email. Sit down with them, book a meeting, or make a deck. Make sure it all makes sense. Make sure they can access real-time updates on their performance against the plan in your sales compensation software to keep them engaged and on track throughout the year.

7. Offer competitive benefits

Finally, if you're an employer who offers benefits packages like healthcare coverage or retirement plans through payroll deduction, always keep those up to date so that your employees aren't making decisions based on outdated information.

This includes ensuring that your 401K plan is competitive with other companies in the industry.

HR is Not Your Friend

They are your trusty sidekick (so I guess you could be friends?). They aren’t there to be your therapist or your punching bag—they’re there to help you and your team perform at the highest level.

HR professionals are expert resource managers, communicators, and researchers who can help you unlock value throughout the sales process. Understand their importance, use them to your advantage and watch your sales soar.

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