A key part of sales leadership is ensuring that employees feel they’re highly valued, can be successful in their roles, and can grow their careers. This is true regardless of where in a company you work. For sales leaders, it’s easy to get very focused on the near term — what's happening this month, this quarter — without thinking about the long term, which is all about development of your people.
Remember that sales is a people business. Just as customer success can drive great outcomes for your company, so can the success of each individual in your sales organization. You need to make him or her feel like a part of the company, and part of the culture. This is one of the things I enjoy most as a sales leader. It’s how you build loyalty and longevity into your team, and ultimately scale your business.
Growth without an eye to retaining your talent is very difficult. Say you look at your head-count growth plans and you have to add 25% more people this year, but aren’t keeping the team you have. Instead of adding 25% new hires, if you’re losing employees, the gross number you need to add might be closer to 40–45%. That’s a hard way to build a company over the long term, and it’s extremely inefficient if you are spending all your time hiring and training new hires.
If you’re hiring great people and retaining them, that’s a testament to whether or not you’re doing right by them. Early on at Salesforce, specifically in 2000 and 2001, there was a downturn in the economy and the technology industry was especially hard-hit. While some of our team left and went to different industries, there are still a lot of employees with the company today who stayed through that time because they believed in what we were building, the values we stood for, and the culture of the company.