Retaining Residential Sales Talent in the Security Sector

As the economy continues to improve and demand for sales professionals rises across many industry verticals, candidates have more opportunities to choose from. Learn best practices to find and keep top talent.

Residential sales hiring, especially in the security space, is as competitive as ever. The total residential sales workforce is estimated at 3.77 million workers, according to CareerBuilder’s partner EMSI, which may include passive candidates. A search within CareerBuilder’s Supply and Demand portal for residential sales professionals in the security sector yields one job seeker for every five job postings.

As the economy continues to improve and demand for sales professionals rises across many industry verticals, candidates have more opportunities to choose from; it takes more than a paycheck and job security to keep top performers engaged. Turnover for entry-level sales roles, according to the DePaul University Center for Sales Leadership, can rise as high as 33%. In our experience as sales recruiters, turnover can climb as high as 70% for residential door-to-door sales positions.

Why Are Employees Leaving?
The very nature of door-to-door sales – long hours, cold calling and commission-oriented compensation – results in turnover. However, companies can mitigate turnover by analyzing its root causes and developing a retention program to address them.

Companies can begin their analysis by surveying new hires within their first 90 days of employment. During that period, employees, particularly in residential sales roles, are vulnerable to turnover due to underperformance or because the role simply isn’t a fit. Without feedback in place – such as recommendations about the training period or sales support – residential sales positions become revolving doors.

To gather a holistic picture of the employee experience, examine areas such as the recruitment process (how the candidate was originally attracted to the organization), training (including timeframe and effectiveness), sales support, new hire onboarding, compensation (and how realistic it is for a rep to earn money), and manager interactions and support. This process also allows management to address employee concerns and save those who may be on the cusp of leaving (and therefore forcing the company to start over with recruitment and its associated costs).

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The next layer in the data collection process is exit interviews for voluntary terminations. This is the best way to understand where the organization may be falling short on retention, and analyze any patterns that emerge. Are employees leaving for the same reasons? Are certain managers prone to losing people? Are employees changing careers or leaving for competitors, and why? Is compensation realistic, or can top sellers earn more elsewhere?

On the other hand, if the company has many involuntary terminations, ask why. Is it for underperformance? If so, is training the issue or is the company failing to recruit the best talent for the role? Some of these answers may signal opportunities for improvement in the recruitment process, such as refining the candidate profile or enhancing an interview process that relies on “gut” feelings and ignores contrary data.

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