Usually the highest level of sales is the Vice President of Sales. This person is responsible for keeping the organization up to speed in selling, presentation, negotiation, and technological advantages. Over the years, this has become a substantial job with many functions, so many companies chose to hire a Sales Operations Manager to make sure the “operations” of the sales team ran smoothly.
In turn, the sales team received extensive training, but did it learn, retain, and use those new tools? No. Even with a manager of sales training, the competency of the sales team remained stagnant.
Sales people will forget up to 80% of what they learned within 90-120 days. Possible solutions like training the trainers, increasing soft coaching skills, or flatly demanding change just haven’t worked. The answer: A Sales Competency Officer.
Companies invest so much in sales training, as it is often their sole source of revenue. With a high level of sales turnover, it only makes sense to hold the sales team accountable for improving their skills and staying up to date on the most recent sales automation tools. Someone needs to be accountable for the Return on Investment (ROI) (sales training, hardware, software, marketing automation, CRM, big data, etc.) being made in the sales organization. A competency gap within the sales team needs to be addressed to maintain a razor sharp competitive edge. The issue is that this is not the primary function of either the sales operations team or the training manager who operates at a higher level. That is where the Sales Competency Officer takes over.
The Sales Competency Officer’s job would be to:
- Track ROI of sales investments
- Coordinate technology with training efforts
- Create processes that sales managers would need to follow to make sure any investments made in the sales training organization have a 90%+ retention rate after 1 year
- Lower non-induced sales churn by 50%
- Lower sales cycle length 5-10% annually, due to implementation of tools
Companies do not need more staff and the resulting staff expense. Bloated organizations are the first to fail. However, the price for a lack of knowledge and innovation is high. With so many mobile training platforms, group training reinforcement programs, and proactive dashboard apps, your team needs to be proactively responsible for the implementation and ROI. If they weren’t, you would be better off spending the money on a machine tool for a factory and never using it. You’d at least have some resale value on it when you decide to sell it.
Now is the time to put sales competency in the spotlight. Too many tools are being bought and not used, or not used effectively, but if the overall sales quota is reached, everyone ignores the problem. New tools in the area of mobility, coaching, and measurement are being developed and implemented. New tools that can be used with the prospect to better tie in a coordinated sales process are being used today, but no one is responsible for the ROI and their successful integration. This usually falls on the VP of sales, whose main job function is to get revenue, not monitor training tool implementation.
Imagine if the sales organization was committed to increasing the competency of its sales people. The result would be a sales team at the top of the heap, without having to overspend or invest more money other than for the salespeople themselves. Now that’s a win/win.
You can boost your sales team's effectiveness by enhancing your own sales knowledge. Learn more with these AMA resources and seminars.