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The Potential Within the Gaps

by Ben Barton / October 28, 2021

The ability to measure the performance of your sales organisation accurately and concisely is a critical skill for any business.

The impacts of doing this well (and of doing this poorly) are wide-reaching and can’t be understated. Overestimating your sales organisation’s performance can lead to inaccurate sales forecasts, overwhelmed sales pipelines, and perhaps most critically, an ever-widening skill gap for your salespeople.

The gap between what your salespeople can do and what they need to be able to in order to generate consistent revenue and growth is one of the most important things you need to identify as a sales leader or business owner.

The existence of the gap itself is not inherently a bad thing; in fact, every business will have skill gaps within their sales organisations.

However, accurately assessing with width of that gap, where it actually sits and how to narrow it is a skill that can either catalyse or completely undermine the productivity and performance of your sales organisation.

It can be helpful to think of this process in two steps: Diagnosis and Cure.

Diagnosis in this context is simply being able to identify the skills gap itself. This sounds simple enough, but it requires a lot of groundwork to set it up, as well as a sufficient understanding of what skills need to be driven in order todrive high performance.

We talked about this in our previous blog, all about benchmarking sales performance, which you should read here if you haven’t already.

In that blog, we discussed the importance of identifying the behaviours and performance metrics that drive high performance in salespeople, and understanding why those behaviours drive that high performance.

We then broke down the value that can be found in establishing a benchmark for those behaviours, a gold standard against which you can accurately and concisely measure the performance of your sales team.

Going through this process will give you a clear picture of the strengths and weaknesses of your salespeople, and therefore of the sales organisation as a whole, but it also helps you understand which behaviours to focus on and prioritise.

This is what the Diagnosis step is all about – seeing where the gaps are, but also being able to prioritise which gaps you need to fill to drive the change in performance you want to see. 

Once you have Diagnosed the gap, it’s time to try and Cure it.

This is all about how you can implement a training and coaching program that is effective and efficient. There are lots of approaches when it comes to creating programs like these, and at Mentor Group we champion a blended learning approach that combines video learning and in-person coaching to drive tangible, consistent growth. 

The critical element of this process is ensuring that your program is informed by and built around what you found during Diagnosis, as well as being tailored to the needs and capabilities of your sales organisation.

Research and studies have consistently shown that the traditional “sheep-dip” or one-size-fits-all training approach is neither effective nor efficient, with knowledge retention and scalability both suffering significantly in comparison to tailored, blended learning models.

Designing your training and coaching program around the skills you identified in Diagnosis, and adjusting the delivery of that program to match the capabilities and infrastructure of your sales organisation, will help ensure that everyone is receiving the right content, at the right time, and in the right way.

This helps to drive the changes you want to see in your sales organisation in terms of both performance and productivity, and helps foster a culture of continuous growth and learning among your salespeople, setting the foundation for further development.

How would your organisation benefit from diagnosing and curing the skill gaps amongst your salespeople?

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Ben Barton

Ben Barton

Using words to inform, persuade and entertain. From Travel Safety to the NFL, I write about anything and everything. Except for golf.