As sales organizations evolve, they inevitably undergo change – especially sales job roles and responsibilities. To ensure a successful sales transformation, sales leaders need to ensure the right people are in the right jobs. Sometimes jobs may transform only slightly, such as adding new products to a seller’s bag. Other times, the transformation creates completely new jobs with new responsibilities. The Alexander Group (AGI) recommends using a competency model to identify the required job skills, assess incumbents and identify the best candidates. A successful transformation starts with a well-designed competency model.
What Is a Competency Model?
A competency model is a framework which describes the knowledge, skills and behaviors required to successfully perform a job. Many companies use a competency model – an important coaching and development tool – as a foundation to talent management. When built correctly, companies can also employ competency models as a recruitment tool by asking specific behavioral-based interview questions linked to specific competencies.
Structure of a Competency Model
Most competency models contain skills and behaviors specific to a particular job role or function. Others contain foundational guiding competencies that are common to every job. The most common competency model structure includes the following: Competency ⇒ Skills ⇒ Observable Behaviors. Most models classify the skills at three different levels of proficiency, for example:
As sellers progress through the levels of proficiency, companies expect them to have mastered all of the traits in the preceding level.
Use During a Sales Transformation
During a major sales transformation, organizations face the challenge of filling newly designed sales roles. This may involve moving people from existing roles within the organization or hiring from outside. A competency model can aide in both situations. The first step is to create a competency model for all new sales roles. If an existing competency model exists, it can serve as a starting point. Then, a cross-functional leadership team must work together to identify the desired skills and behaviors for the new sales roles. Use the competency model in two ways: assess existing talent for fit in the new roles and help develop behavioral interview questions for new hires.
In summary, as an organization transforms, job roles may change. Filling new roles as a component of a sales transformation is part art, part science. Assigning people to new roles based on anecdotal evidence may not always yield the best results. Using a well-designed competency model provides guidance and structure to accurately assess and fill new sales job roles and responsibilities.
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Originally published by Brian Bell