The Coaching Effect Blog

Research Focus: Professional Development in Sales

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

July 8, 2010

By J Davis-Thomas, Research & Publications  

Each month, the EcSELL Institute Research & Publications Team focuses on one of the 6 Pillars of Sales Managment. This time, we're focusing on Professional Development in Sales.

At EcSELL Institute, we know professional development in sales -- management's ability to meet the individual reps' needs related to their own careers -- is one of the drivers of sales productivity. In fact, according to our survey of Sales Managers, 91% of sales managers polled believed that Professional Development strongly impacted the productivity of a sales team. 

What does our research indicate about Professional Development? 

Despite the fact that 91% of the sales managers believed that their ability to provide resources toward Professional Development and to coach their team members on individual career goals would greatly impact their team's ability to produce... only 37% felt they were up to the challenge of providing a coherent Professional Development program. 

According to a research study lead by the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD, 2009) Sales proficiency begins with foundational competencies in 4 key categories:

Foundational Sales Competencies

  • Partnering - Aligning to customers; building relationships; communicating effectively; negotiating position; setting expectations; and spanning boundaries.
  • Insight - analyzing capacity; building a business case; evaluating customer experiences; gathering intelligence; identifying options; prioritizing stakeholder needs; and understanding business context.
  • Solution - articulating value; facilitating change; formalizing commitment; leveraging success; managing projects; and resolving issues.
  • Effectiveness - accelerating learning; aligning to sales processes; building business skill; embracing diversity; executing plans; solving problems; making ethical decisions; managing knowledge; maximixing personal time; and using technology.

Does your sales rep training program include these research-based foundational sales competencies?


Article Reference:

Salopek, J. (2009, March). The Power of the Pyramid: ASTD Reveals World-Class Sales Competency Model. T+D, pp. 70-5.

Topics: sales training, Career Development, sales management research, Research, sales coaching, Pillars, professional development, assessment tools, 6 Pillars of Sales Productivity, time management, sales methodology & sales skills development

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