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Defining Sales Competency

Most sales leaders assess their sales teams either monthly or weekly. Competency is the one leading indicator, proactive leaders want to create highly competent sales teams by moving their “B” and “C” players to “A” players.

Some important features help in measuring sales competency. Most importantly, product knowledge, in which it is enhanced when the sales reps are getting updated about the product changes, not just limiting their knowledge about the product strengths and weaknesses. That’s why credible companies give it a 65% focus to measure sales competency. Also, other factors include (by order of importance): interpersonal skills, operational selling, selling process adherence, competitor awareness, and leadership skills.

In regards to the sales process, as we all know, closing is the number one skill assessor. This does not underestimate the importance of the other steps as they are deemed as the necessary tool to allow you to close a deal. These factors include (by order of importance): prospecting new opportunities, retaining existing clients, pitching a solution, qualifying new deals, negotiation, strategic planning, and time management. However, some high-performing companies have a different perspective as they believe that pitching a solution to meet the buyer’s need represents 80%, while only giving 56% to closing.

Other focus areas include communicating clearly, seeking customer feedback, managing problems during and after the sales process, seeing the salesperson in person as the best way to determine their overall competency, and tracking the salesperson’s performance like how many meetings they attended.

Add activity tracking by using technology in their sales competency assessment, role-playing, call recording, quizzes, video recording, peer feedback, and formal certification. However, lack of leadership time and systematic metrics are two major barriers to assessing sales competency. However, using innovative technology helps like practice their pitch using any device to record their progress as well as learning from their peers more than from trainers.

To summarize, high-performing companies put a huge emphasis on manager coaching, peer coaching, improving the ability to pitch a solution, constant and consistent feedback, and implementing training to deal with sales rep competency gaps through applying Performance Improvement Plans (PIP) instead of the traditional boot camps, enhancing product knowledge and highlighting its value proposition, clear goals, and proactive and constant mentoring.