There are many great reasons to start and nurture an internal sales rep referral program for your current sales professionals. A rep referral program can expedite your hiring processes, promote sales rep loyalty and drive a healthy sales culture. When employees feel empowered to help the company grow, they tend to feel a stronger loyalty to that company.
Research has shown that for every 100 applicants, referrals generate 70% more “good hires” than non-referrals. What’s more, those hires tend to stay longer. On average, forty-five percent of employees sourced through employee referrals stay for longer than four years.
Here are five tips to keep in mind when building a sales rep referral program:
Include all roles.
Create a program that everyone on the sales team can participate in. You don’t want any reps to feel excluded. Your referral program should support all levels of candidate seniority, from entry level to senior positions. Additionally, your program should scale across all your client-facing positions: New business, Lead Generation, Renewal Business and Client Support.
Determine what the rewards will be for a successful hire. Is it a financial reward, a gift card, additional PTO or something more creative (like lunch, a great parking spot or 1:1 time with an executive)? It’s okay if the rewards vary based on the role and seniority of the person being hired. The better the reward, the more incentivized reps will be to participate.
Here’s a pro tip: Before paying the reward, you want to make sure the referrals are valuable hires. Wait a set amount of time (90 days after the new hire’s first day is a good benchmark) before paying a reward. Whatever timeframe you establish, make sure it’s in writing.
Put a system in place to document all the necessary information – who made the referral, the date of the referral, the role, whether the candidate was hired, contact details, and when the candidate started their employment. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated; Google Sheets will work fine.
Promote your program.
Promote your referral program both internally and externally. Don’t just make it a perk for current reps; make it a recruiting tool. Advertise it wherever sales reps are evaluating job opportunities – online, on your website, and in every job description. Reps want to join winning companies, and an aggressive referral program is a telltale sign of success.
Promote new hires.
Every new hire is a win for the business, and every hire that comes from an internal referral should be celebrated. This drives communication, highlights a great team win and helps to build a great sales culture. When a referral ends up in a successful hire, make sure the team knows about it (and the reward). They’ll be incentivized to look for candidates for future roles.
A sales rep referral program can help you build a rock solid team – quickly. The average referral candidate takes 29 days to place, while job board candidates take 39 days. Rolling out a program with appealing rewards, that the whole team can participate in, will help you retain great reps while recruiting new ones.
Learn more about the importance of rep referral programs: Referral Programs: A Great Way to do Sales Recruiting