In the current business landscape, with budget and headcount freezes, optimizing the performance of your existing sales team is essential for companies. To achieve this, sales leaders must go beyond focusing solely on the pipeline and harnsess the power of a data-driven competency framework.
By implementing an effective competency framework and operating model, companies can strategically align their enablement strategies with sales velocity levers and drive tangible revenue impact.
This article explores the key elements of an optimized competency framework and provides insights into how sales leaders can leverage it to enhance sales performance.
Competencies as the Connective Leading Indicator Layer
Competencies serve as the critical connective leading indicator layer between enablement strategy and sales velocity levers and revenue. By defining specific competencies for each sales role and aligning to specific sales velocity levers, companies can establish a framework that aligns enablement strategy with their revenue goals.
The competencies should encompass a range of skills, knowledge, process and behaviors that contribute to sales success. By identifying and developing these competencies, sales leaders can create a more targeted and impactful enablement strategy.
Make your competency framework relevant
Tying your competency framework to a specific process or even a methodology is a great way to embed the desired behaviors into your sales team. We have had great success aligning competencies to the components of MEDDPICC, ensuring each aspect of MEDDPICC was embedded into behaviors via frequent observation, feedback and coaching.
Avoid overcomplicating the framework
To ensure a comprehensive competency framework, approximately ten competencies per role is recommended. These competencies should be specific to each role within the sales team, reflecting the unique requirements and responsibilities associated with the position.
By clearly outlining the desired competencies, sales leaders can establish a benchmark for performance and provide a clear roadmap for development and improvement.
Positive and Negative Indicators within Competencies
Each competency within the framework should include a collection of positive and negative indicators. Positive indicators represent behaviors or skills that signify strong competency, while negative indicators highlight traits that should be eliminated and marked for improvement.
This balanced approach allows sales leaders to identify both strengths and development opportunities for individual team members. It also enables more effective coaching and targeted enablement strategies to address specific competency gaps.
Timely Assessments against Benchmarks
To measure competency levels accurately, timely formal assessments should be conducted by managers in addition to self-assessments by sales representatives. It is recommended you avoid falling into the standard company annual or bi-annual performance review process. Manager-led competency assessments should be more frequent, typically monthly or quarterly to ensure the time lag between action and impact is minimized.
These assessments should be aligned with the defined competency framework and serve as a benchmark for performance evaluation. Regular evaluation allows for a deeper understanding of individual strengths, areas for improvement, and the overall effectiveness of the competency framework itself.
Continuous Observation, Feedback, and Coaching
An effective competency framework goes beyond formal assessments. Continuous observation, feedback, and coaching are crucial elements for enhancing sales performance. We believe at least 50% of a sales leader's role is to coach, therefore sales leaders should provide ongoing feedback to their team members, highlighting areas where competencies are demonstrated effectively and offering guidance for improvement.
Regular coaching sessions can be tailored to address specific competency gaps, reinforcing desired behaviors and fostering continuous growth.
Gap Analysis Driving Coaching and Enablement Strategy
A key benefit of a competency framework is its ability to drive data-driven coaching and targeted enablement strategies. By conducting a continual gap analysis between desired competencies and current performance, sales and enablement leaders can identify areas where targeted coaching and enablement efforts are needed.
This strategic approach ensures that enablement initiatives are aligned with specific competency gaps, maximizing their impact on sales performance.
Targeted Enablement Strategies based on Competency Gaps
Instead of relying on random acts of enablement, enablement leaders should develop targeted strategies that directly address competency gaps. These strategies can include focused training programs, mentorship opportunities, peer collaboration initiatives, or access to specific resources and tools.
By aligning enablement efforts with identified competency gaps, enablement leaders can optimize the effectiveness of their investment in sales enablement.
Embracing Technology and Sales Enablement Platforms
Sales enablement platforms and technology play a crucial role in optimizing sales performance. Sales and enablement leaders should leverage technology tools to support the competency framework, such as competency platforms, conversation intelligence platforms, learning and knowledge management platforms.
Tools such as E4Enable, provide valuable insights, streamline processes, and enable efficient tracking and measurement of competency development.
Agile Adaptation to Evolving Buyer Behaviors
As buyer behaviors continue to evolve, sales leaders must adapt their competency framework accordingly. The framework should incorporate competencies that align with the changing needs and expectations of buyers. This may include competencies related to virtual selling, digital communication, consultative selling, and understanding the buyer's journey. By continuously assessing and adjusting competencies, sales teams can stay agile and responsive to the evolving market dynamics.
Optimization of sales performance is now critical in achieving your sales and revenue goals. As a result, sales leaders must implement an effective competency framework.
By focusing on competencies as leading indicators, aligning enablement strategies with competency gaps, and providing ongoing coaching and feedback, companies can enhance their sales velocity and drive sustainable revenue growth.
By embracing technology and adapting to changing buyer behaviors, sales leaders can stay ahead of the competition and empower their sales teams to achieve exceptional results.
Founder & CEO
Sales Velocity Labs