• Some salespeople’s plans always seem to work out. How do they do it?
  • How can we judge the strength of our team?
  • Is there a universal formula for the perfect salesperson?
Mapping sales competencies in a team

What makes things easy for some salespeople, while others struggle to ‘deliver’ results every month? You’ll probably think of several factors: experience, the areas the salespeople operate in, the strategies, processes, and tools they use, their expectations, and their skills and competencies. For sales directors, the last one is the biggest mystery. That’s because if you could copy the best, the problem with sales would disappear. But is that certain?

Mark Roberge, the legendary creator of the successful HubSpot (a company offering inbound online marketing services) had no sales management experience when he became the Vice President of Sales. As an MIT engineer, he relied on his analytical skills to create a sales management system based on metrics and quantitative analysis. And although one of the elements of the start-up’s success is innovative technology, team building is another important factor in the company’s success. Roberge based building and managing the sales team on analysing key competencies from the perspective of selling the product itself. He took the position that if you have a team made up of average people, it will be difficult to make up for the losses that causes. On the other hand, no matter what the circumstances, a team of the best people will always find a way to succeed.

For sales managers, the modern world is a constant journey towards increasing their team’s effectiveness - a constant search for ways to improve existing processes, develop tools to manage sales opportunities, and find new ways to generate valuable leads. In addition, you probably keep hearing about the digitization of sales opportunities, automation, and multi-channel sales. All these activities offer great value. However, we often forget about one key element - specific people are still responsible for implementing of these processes. Managing the contact process, taking advantage of sales opportunities, client relations, and designated sales areas - all these activities are the responsibility of specific salespeople. To be effective, they have to have the right competencies. That’s why managing your team’s competencies can give you a head start - an advantage over the competition. You can assess your team’s strengths, how to effectively manage resources (which roles to assign to whom), and how to plan development activities. See the box for more benefits of mapping your team’s competencies.

A universal formal for the perfect salesperson

Anyone could easily name what competencies a good salesperson should have. However, the question is, to what extent are our own beliefs about the importance of individual competencies accurate? To what extent do they actually translate into effectiveness as a salesperson? If you ask your fellow sales executives what skills an ideal salesperson should have, you will probably hear a few answers over and over again (communication skills, listening, and presenting solutions). Many people also have certain beliefs about what other competencies are of key importance to salespeople. Perhaps you do as well. In other words, each one of us has our own image of the ideal salesperson. When we add to this a study on the accuracy of recruitment forecasts (which show that there is only a 14% correlation between a candidate’s forecast success in a given position and their actual results)1, the conclusion is obvious. We place too much trust in our own ability to judge candidates based on our observations and beliefs. The situation is more complex. In fact, there is no one universal recipe for an ideal salesperson.

Many salespeople have unique advantages. Some are great consultants. Others have inexhaustible energy. Some people can create and deliver unique presentations. Still others make contacts surprisingly easily. Some people know what to do to make the client feel at home when meeting them.

As a result, many companies have lists of the competencies salespeople need, though these lists rarely include specific sales tasks. When deciding what we need from candidates, we have to consider the results we’re looking for and the goals we want to achieve. Every company has its own sales environment. Some sales processes are transactional, others advisory, and others complex and relationship-based. There are, of course, certain universal sales competencies that increase the likelihood of success, though a lot depends on what sales roles your people play. Properly mapping competencies consists of the following steps:

  1. Describe your sales process, accounting for the type of sales and your salespeople’s roles.
  2. Identify competencies that are relevant at each stage of the process.
  3. Assess these competencies for each team member.

The remaining 55% of the article is available for logged-in service users.

If you have an active subscription, go to login. If you are not yet our Reader, please choose the best SUBSCRIPTION VALUE..

Log in Order a subscription Buy this article

Możesz też zobaczyć ten artykuł i wiele innych w naszym portalu Sprzedaz 24. Wystarczy, że klikniesz tutaj.

Favorites Print

Also check

Open access no. 14/2021

Whom should I sell to first?

Whom should I sell to first?
  • How can you choose the most promising clients?
  • Where to look for new customers?
  • Why should you prioritise your regular clients?
Read more

Project management methods for a sales manager (Part 1. Waterfall)

Project management methods for a sales manager (Part 1. Waterfall)
  • What exactly is project management?
  • When does an organised, project-oriented approach become essential for a sales team?
  • What project management tools may be useful for the sales department?
  • When closing a meeting, how do I make sure that everyone feels motivated and understands what they’re supposed to do?
Read more

Go to



Privacy cookies

By Further active use of the Website (viewing content, closing the message, clicking links on the page) without changing the privacy settings, you agree to the processing of personal data by EXPLANATOR and partners in order to provide services in accordance with Privacy policy. You can specify the conditions for storage or access to cookies in your browser.

Service Purpose of use Enabled
Cookies necessary for the website to function You cannot disable these cookies, as they are essential for the website to function properly. These cookies also store the cookie settings you have defined. YES
Analytics cookies Cookies that make it possible to collect information about the way a user uses a website in order to optimise its functioning and adjust it to the user's expectations. Information collected by these files do not identify any particular user.
Marketing cookies Cookies that enable us to show you marketing content tailored to your preferences, and to notify you of marketing offers that match your interests, including information about the products and services of the site administrator and third parties. If you choose to delete or disable these cookies, advertisements will still be displayed, but they may not be relevant to you.