We asked Sales Performance International executives and consultants what kind of changes we can expect to see for the sales profession in the coming new year and compiled their perspectives and opinions in our eBook, “Sales Performance Improvement Trends for 2018 and Beyond”.
Mike Rachel is a Program Development Manager and mobile learning expert at SPI.
What major trend do you see in your area of sales or learning performance expertise?
More organizations are updating or creating competency models for their sales teams. These competency models are much more actionable than past iterations, and bring more precision to hiring and development activities.
What is causing this trend?
Leaders now better understand the power of competency models but know that many of the generic models of the past were not specific or relevant enough to be useful. Leaders increasingly believe that if they build competency models that identify the specific knowledge, skills, mindset, and attitude that a seller needs to succeed, then the organization will have the blueprint for hiring and developing a successful sales force.
What opportunities or threats does the trend pose for businesses and sales organizations?
The problem with this trend is that many organizations do not know what to do with their competency models once created. They do not know how to make them actionable to assess seller knowledge and skills, identify people with the right sales mindset, identify individual competency gaps and a plan to address these shortcomings. In other words, organizations often find themselves with more questions after building their models then they had beforehand. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it can delay and sidetrack implementation and time to realize the benefits of a solid sales competency program.
In light of the trend, what advice do you have for business and sales leaders?
First, ensure your competency models will be actionable by identifying the key behaviors in each that a seller should exhibit. Next, subdivide behaviors into those that are learnable and teachable such as those that are knowledge and skill dependent versus those that are more innate such as personality dependent. Then, determine the minimum threshold of each competency to perform adequately in the job. Now, use these competencies and thresholds to assess the sales force, and identify developmental gaps and plans to close those gaps. Be sure to develop sales managers to focus coaching time on the gaps that will make the most impact on the rep. Finally, be sure to validate your competency models periodically by analyzing the relationship between competency, development and business outcomes.
Download our eBook “Sales Performance Improvement Trends for 2018 and Beyond” today!