How to Spot, Develop and Retain Top Talent for 2016


Your star talent is also key to growing revenue beyond 2016. Cultivating “A”-level talent benefits not just your organization, but the whole company.


In our 2016 report, you’ll find a guide to creating an overall talent strategy. In this post, we’ll dive deeper into spotting, developing and retaining top talent.


Kickstart Sourcing With Talent Profiles

First things first. Figure out what “A” player means in your organization. Don’t leave this up to HR to do for you. Get your leadership together to go through this exercise.


Create “A” player profiles to help you spot talent within your organization. Consider the following:


  • Competencies
  • Accountabilities
  • Compensation you are willing to pay


It’s everyone’s job to source talent, as Rackspace’s Todd Cione explains in this interview. Carefully crafted profiles help everyone in your organization know how to identify top talent.


Expert tip: Don’t wait until there’s an open position to start sourcing talent. This feast-or-famine approach is counterproductive to spotting “A” players. Make sure you and your leadership team are always on the lookout for stars.


Be Proactive About Talent Development

Once you have top talent in place, be proactive about their development. Create an individualized development plan, and check in on their progress throughout the year.


“A” players will eventually outgrow their roles. Put a succession plan in place to:


  1. Protect your organization when star employees move on. Open positions can cripple your ability to achieve revenue growth. Have someone ready to back-fill the role quickly.
  2. Assure the employee that you support their growth. To develop future leaders, sometimes you must let them go. At least temporarily. That can be hard to do when their presence benefits your organization. A succession plan communicates your support of their development as leaders.


3 Keys to Retaining Top Talent

When a star employee grows out of their role, it’s time to shift gears. Create a plan to retain them.


There are many things you can do to retain top talent. Here are three powerful methods to start with.


  1. Improve their compensation program. Money talks. Develop an incentive compensation program that benefits your top talent. This will help motivate desired behaviors while encouraging “A” players to stay.
  2. Reallocate territories. Sales territory mapping mainly applies to sales reps, of course. If star talent is looking to move on to bigger things, consider your territories. Can you reallocate them to place top reps in areas with the most potential?
  3. Mentor your top talent. Mentoring is beneficial for the employee, but also for the company. Mentored employees have a personal stake in the success of their organization.


Sourcing, developing and retaining top talent requires ongoing effort. Not just from your HR team, but from your leadership team as well.


Want to make sure your talent is aligned for 2016 revenue growth? Register for a live How to Make Your Number in 2016 workshop. An SBI consultant will help you improve your talent strategy and plan for success.




Aaron Bartels

Helps clients solve the most difficult challenges standing in the way of making their number.
Learn more about Aaron Bartels >

He founded Sales Benchmark Index (SBI) with Greg Alexander and Mike Drapeau to help business to business (B2B) leaders make the number. The world’s most respected companies have put their trust in and hired SBI. SBI uses the benchmarking method to accelerate their rate of revenue growth. As an execution based firm, SBI drives field adoption and business results.


His clients describe him as a consultant who:


“Makes transformational impacts on me, my people and my business”


“Solves my most difficult problems that to date we have been unable to solve ourselves”


“Brings clarity to an environment of chaos”


“Has real world sales operations experience making him qualified to advise us on a variety of sales and marketing challenges”


“Is able to spot proven best practices that once implemented will make a material impact on my business”


“Constantly challenges status quo and compels us to act”


“Focuses on execution and driving change to stick in our environment”


“Makes good on his promises while enabling our business to realize his projected results”

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