Defining Selling Competencies and Data – Part II

Defining Selling Competencies and Data – Part II

By Joe DiDonato | Chief of Staff | Baker Communications, Inc.

In last week’s blog, we defined the first 10 Selling Competencies that need to be measured to make the transition to Data-Driven Sales Enablement: /defining-selling-competencies-and-data/.  This week we’re going to continue the process and define the remaining 11 categories of competencies.  Remember that these competencies are inclusive of other attributes and sub-components that define the collection of knowledge, skills, abilities, traits, and other requirements.

We divide these general competencies into four major categories: Selling Competencies, Sales DNA, the Will to Sell, and specific Industry Knowledge. These are the competencies that we measure with our customers to determine how good a fit a candidate is for your team.  For people that are already in a selling function, it also produces the data we need to develop individual and team training and coaching.  This sales data is comparable to lab work, MRI’s, X-Rays, and other diagnostics used to detect a patient’s malady.  Without data, everything else is guesswork.

We use a huge repository of data that is the result of assessing over 2 million salespeople, at over 31,000 companies, in 200 different industries, and 140 countries.  We’ve found the statistical validity of using this repository to drive hiring and training to be over 91%.

In this post, I’m going to cover the remaining 11 of 21 Sales Core Competencies that we use.  These selling competencies are listed below with a brief description of each.

Doesn’t Need Approval – When a seller needs to be liked, it can prevent him or her from asking critical questions, pushing back, or challenging conventional thinking.  In the top 10% of sellers, 89% showed this as a strength, while in the bottom 10% of sellers, only 56% showed strength in this area.

Controls Emotions – A seller must be able to stay in the moment, and not in their head, in order to use active listening skills.  Once a seller becomes emotional, they also lose control of the selling situation.  Here the gap between top performers and bottom performers is less broad.  86% of the top performers are strong in this competency, and 68% of the bottom performers are also strong when it comes to controlling their emotions.

Supportive Beliefs – This competency is defined as a sales representative’s collection of sales beliefs that support, rather than sabotage ideal sales outcomes.  When a seller has a self-limiting belief, like he or she can’t call high in the organization, or that they are at a price disadvantage to a competitor, then that belief will affect their outcome in the sale.  86% of the top sellers have strong supportive beliefs, and even 70% of bottom sellers have this competency.

Supportive Buy Cycle – A salesperson has a supportive buy cycle when the way that he or she makes a major purchase supports ideal sales outcomes.  Things we look at in this competency are whether or not they think things over, do a lot of research, comparison shop, price shop, or think something is an awful lot of money when it really isn’t.  While 56% of top sellers exhibit a supportive buy cycle, only 22% of the bottom sellers show this as a strong competency.

Comfortable Discussing Money – A seller must be able to have an in-depth conversation with prospects about finances.  Sales Managers need to excel here as well.  Otherwise, they won’t be able to coach their team on how to overcome this weakness.  83% of top sellers are comfortable discussing money, while only 29% of the bottom sellers are comfortable.

Handles Rejection – A seller that is “Rejection Proof” can recover immediately from rejection.  Conversely, if that rejection hangs over them for any length of time, it will most certainly affect their performance with other customers or in performing other tasks.  87% of top performers are “rejection proof,” while in the bottom 10% of sellers, 52% demonstrate that resiliency.

A Desire for Success in Sales – In this competency, we are measuring how badly a seller wants to achieve greater sales success.  In the top 10% of sellers, 90% demonstrate this desire, while in the bottom 10%, only 57% show that same drive.

Commitment for Success in Sales – This competency is a seller’s willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve greater sales success, as long as it’s ethical.  This is not conditional commitment, but instead, non-conditional commitment.  73% of the top sellers demonstrate this commitment, while only 26% of the bottom sellers have this level of commitment.

Outlook – This is everything to do with how a salesperson feels about his or her career in sales, as well as about how they feel about themselves.  This includes the people they work for, the company they work for, and the customers that they call on, as well.  The good news is that 74% of the top performers have a positive outlook here, but even in the bottom sales performers, 63% of them show an equally good outlook.

Responsibility – This is the degree to which a seller takes responsibility for results instead of rationalizing or making excuses.  69% of top sellers take responsibility for their results, while only 32% of the bottom sellers will take responsibility versus making excuses.

Motivation – This final competency is how motivated a sales representative is to achieve sales success.  Here we analyze not only the overall motivation level, but also the balance between intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation.  We also provide insights into several sales-related motivational tendencies to help managers best motivate their salespeople.

These 11 competencies, combined with the 10 in the previous article, begin to paint a very complete picture of each seller on your team.  If you are an individual, these competencies show you what you have to improve to move to your next level of achievement.  If you don’t have a Sales Manager to coach and encourage you to focus on your skill gaps, take responsibility and lay out your own individual learning path.

To watch our latest webinar on using this data to drive your hiring and training, we invite you to view our webinar here: