Maximizing Your Sales Potential Through Competency Development

Table of Contents

Sales competencies are a combination of skills, knowledge, and behaviors that help sales professionals complete more deals.  

According to business strategist David Brown, competency development is a powerful method to improve a company’s value propositions and drive more sales.1 A broad set of capabilities can contribute to salespeople’s professional growth, allowing them to gain expertise and advance their careers. 

Companies that lack sales competency development programs may have shorter pipelines, poor customer service, and a bad reputation. Managers can focus on growing vital capabilities in their teams to boost lead generation, enhance performance, and facilitate growth.

15 Competencies for Effective Sales Performance

Managers can work on developing their teams’ competencies for prospecting, outreach, closing, and account management to create an effective, results-oriented sales process. 

sales competency development 2023

Prospecting

Audience segmentation 

Salespeople should be proficient at using research and ideal buyer profiles to identify potential customers from the general audience. 

Lead qualification 

Top sales professionals are adept at ranking potential customers by their willingness to buy. Lead qualification improves organizational productivity, as salespeople focus their efforts on closing deals with highly-qualified prospects. 

Product and industry knowledge 

An excellent product and industry expertise can help SDRs easily communicate value with prospective customers. 

Outreach 

Needs assessment 

Sales professionals are experts at assessing prospects’ needs and leveraging them to recommend and position their products or services. 

Objection handling 

Handling objections is a crucial skill for advancing deals without compromising on value. Sales professionals can focus their efforts on learning to handle common disapprovals and tactfully resolve them.

Storytelling 

The best salespeople develop compelling stories to appeal to their audience’s emotions and sell their products and services. Maximizing audiovisual content for presentations gives life to pitches and stirs the leads to buy. 

Team selling

Team selling requires every member to know their functions in the group and work towards achieving the same goal. This is a core sales competency, as disunity and lack of organization affect productivity. 

Leveraging insights

SDRs conduct more effective campaigns when they learn to leverage real-time data for outreaches. 

Outreach planning

The ability to organize, plan and schedule outreaches is a vital sales competency for increased conversion and revenue generation. 

Closing deals

Negotiation

Salespeople skilled at navigating deals give the company a competitive edge and improve conversion rates. A great negotiation plan is empathetic, communicates value, and leverages trust between both parties to obtain a mutually beneficial agreement. 

Price protection

Prospects frequently try to get a discount before agreeing to a deal. Tactfully protecting the product or service price through the sales process sustains revenue and profit margins. 

Reinforcing value

To close high-quality deals, you can reinforce value throughout the sales process. This helps to show distinctions between your product and the competition and maintain momentum to complete negotiations. 

Account management

Account planning & strategy

High-performing salespeople have mastered techniques for growing and maintaining their customer accounts. This often involves building relationships with key decision-makers in the company and emphasizing product or service value. 

Bureaucracy management 

When dealing with large organizations, salespeople will have to manage multiple decision-makers to drive a consensus on the deal. A great professional handles enterprise bureaucracies well, navigating office politics and carrying key stakeholders along. 

Business generation 

Salespeople can learn to use successful accounts to generate new business opportunities. One way to do this is to spot gaps in the client’s business and recommend solutions from your company’s portfolio. 

You can also leverage your relationships with account stakeholders by asking them to refer your company to organizations experiencing similar pain points. 

Best Practices for Sales Capability Development

Companies can boost sales competencies with the right approach, robust training programs, and practices for the best results. Sales managers can lead competency development programs with support from executive officers and collaboration with other departments in the company. 

Implementing sales competency development equips professionals with behaviors, skills, and knowledge to improve performance, enrich the pipeline, and boost company revenue. 

Here are the best practices to follow when implementing your sales development program:

Tailor capability development to business growth 

A sales capability development program should not focus on improving individual capabilities, but on prioritizing competencies that the company needs at its stage of growth. Capabilities for business performance can be classified as follows:

Business performance ProspectingOutreachClosing dealsAccount management
Low growth, low profit
Low growth, high profit
High growth, high profit 

Create a sales competency model 

A competency model defines the ideal sales capabilities and the proficiency levels required for each position in a company. A solid framework is emphasized at all levels of the organization, producing institutional competencies. 

  • To build an effective competency model, identify skills, knowledge, and behaviors with the highest impact on your sales process and match each capability to the most affected roles.
  • Develop ongoing training programs that teach salespeople these capabilities according to their positions. 
  • Then, create a company culture and value system that revolves around these competencies and rewards excellent employees. 

Conduct sales capability reviews 

Periodic capability reviews can identify which competencies need improvement for the team to strengthen. Sales leaders use this assessment to improve training approaches and add resources for competency development. 

Managers can evaluate their competency model and training programs annually, biannually, or quarterly for best results. 

Bottom Line

Sales leaders that prioritize capability development enhance the lead generation, pipeline management, and client retention efforts of their teams. Identifying core competencies and implementing models to emphasize skills, knowledge, and behaviors improves sales performance and ramp up revenue.

Resources

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2jOhSrfxsk
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