by Martin Driver

One of our observations whilst working as consultants in a broad range of organisations is that there appears to be a lack of understanding around the exact skill sets required for the salesperson to operate effectively in a specific sales role. Many companies adopt a one-size fits all approach to skill and capability, when you consider the wide variations in the sales roles there is no wonder that this can have an adverse effect on sales success.

Taking this away from sales a good illustration of this is in the world of motor racing. There are many forms of motor racing i.e. formula one, touring cars, karting, rallying etc, now all of these fundamentally require the ability to drive but need a specialist skill set to be successful.

What is a Sales Profile ?

Invariably we are asked what is a sales profile and how is that different from a traditional sales competency set. Sales competencies describe what the job is and the main functions of that sales role, they are by nature quite broad as they have to cover a wide range of descriptors e.g. a competency indicator could be “you will manage your accounts profitably”.

A Skills Profile is concentrated around the core measurable skills that are required to fulfil the competencies laid out for the job role, in other words ‘How would you go about managing your accounts profitably”. The key purpose of a Sales profile is for the salesperson and sales management to absolutely understand the skills required to operate on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to succeed in that role. Even more importantly if there is an understanding of these skills it now becomes possible to measure where any individual is against their skill profile and to then understand what exact development required is needed to continually develop that sales role.

5 Key Fundamentals of a Sales Profile

• Clear understanding of your sales goals and objectives.

• Define where you will need to position yourself in the marketplace and within your customers to sell your products and services.

• How will you have to work, your sales process.

• What is the exact skill profile needed to be able to drive the sales process.

• Where are your salespeople / sales managers now.

Benefits of a Sales Profile

The key benefit of having a Sales Profile is that you ensure your salespeople are :-

• Positioned at the right level

• Saying the right things

• To the right people

• At the right time

Regardless of the size of the company we have worked with we have noticed that creating a Sales Profile has not only delivered substantial increases in productivity and profitability but has also had some large side effects within the organisation :

• Exact job role and people capability match.

• New to role salespeople hitting target twice as quickly.

• Elimination of wasted Learning & Development budget.

• Improvement in customer satisfaction.

• Improvement in employee satisfaction.

• The ability to accurately recruit salespeople for a specific sales role.

Selling in today’s marketplace is a highly professional occupation, which requires exact standards of business acumen and sales capability to succeed. Clear understanding of the individual role and the skills profile required to fulfil it is essential, time and effort invested in this will substantially effect your sales force performance and more importantly the ever-crucial bottom line.

Martin Driver is one of the experts speaking at the Sales Masterclass on November 14.