Capability or Competency; what do you need in your sales team?


There are many capable sales people out there who don't hit their sales targets. So if they are capable what's wrong?

The main issue is their level of competency, whilst they have the capability to do their job, their competency is holding them back.

What we mean by competency is their observable behaviours. Many people are capable but they are not consistently or effectively delivering on the behaviours that drive sales success.

What can you do to turn capable people in your team to competent sales people?

First, start by observing their behaviours in front of a selection of customers. Before each meeting, ask them what their objective for the meeting is and what their plan is to run the meeting effectively. This will provide you with an understanding of their planning competency.

In the meeting, make sure you observe them, don't participate unless you have agreed to play a role as part of the meeting plan. Pay particular attention to how they frame-up the conversation and the questions they ask (the better the questions, the deeper the insight uncovered). Also focus on how well they stick to their meeting plan, how they handle difficult issues, did they set next actions and whether they took a strategic or transactional approach.

Straight after the meeting conduct a debrief. Ask them if they achieved their objective, then ask them what they believed they did well in the meeting. Then give them your feedback on what you observed they did well.

Then ask them if they had their time again, would they do anything differently. Then provide them with your feedback on what you think they could have done differently.

You can also review proposals and communications to the customer after each meeting to review whether their communication is relevant based on the meetings.

After you have observed them in a few meetings, you will have a good understanding of their competency. From this point you can improve their behaviours through coaching them on specific behaviours to be more consistent and/or effective.

The improvement in their daily performance will improve their numbers. It is not uncommon to see a lift in performance of 10-20% quite quickly. This will prove that your coaching has unlocked their capability and translated it to an improvement in their competency.

If you would like to know more about the behaviours that drive sales performance just drop me a line; and I would be happy to have a no obligation chat with you.

Tips from John Buchanan, Beyond 19, Coaching Practicing Lead:

  1. Know what are the key skills to do your job to a standard that is agreed by the business or your manager

  2. Be clear on your level of skill verses what is required

  3. Where there are deficiencies, take immediate action to learn the skills gap that has been identified

  4. Your overall aim is to become your own best coach, i.e. you can do your job very well without external interventionsTake free our sales assessment and to see how you can improve your sales performance quickly.

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