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5 Tips for Finding Your Core Competencies
By Jeff Hardesty, President, JDH Group, Inc.

The author shares his tips for finding your core competencies

1) Is it an essential component to your sales mission or just an ingredient in the recipe?

List 10 actions, routines or tasks that are part of your sales day and considered essential components of your sales process.

Now, ask yourself. How many of these are essential components to my sales mission are just ingredients in the recipe?

Think about a professional golfer's essential competencies from tee-off to last putt. Is the ball and club a core competency, or is it the golf swing and putting stroke? What about a basketball player with the essential competency of passing, dribbling, and shooting?

2) Can it be measured routinely and accurately?

A Core Competency is a definable entity that is related to performance and results.

Ask yourself. Can I measure this with a napkin, pencil, and calculator? Can I put it on one piece of paper and be able to evaluate the status of my business? Do this first. You can always transfer it later to the million-dollar sales automation system.

Can you apply a universal performance benchmark that is realistic and assures revenue goals individually and collectively?

3) You know you have achieved this when you can tell a sales recruit during the interview process the (3) simple numbers that will assure them success.

Have you identified the 'Key Performance Indicators' in your sales process?

A good KPI example in the sales process might be how many times you advance the first sales appointment to the next phase, whether that's a demonstration, a site visit, a survey or a proposal. Another KPI is how many times you gain a new customer once the first gateway is passed. And when you do gain a new customer, what's the average revenue you achieve? That's certainly an important KPI. Because if your average revenue per sale is 40% less than the average peer KPI, you might want to find out why and take focused action to improve it, as you're leaving money on the table.

And what about the length of a sales cycle in days? Is that conditional or do you have a degree of control over it? If you have a team member that has an average sales cycle 30% shorter than the peer group, uncover and assimilate those best practices out to the rest of the sales team. Less time, more results. That makes 'Sales Cycle' a valuable KPI.

Once you have your KPI averages you will be able to communicate to a sales recruit exactly how much sales activity (new appointments per week) is required on their part to successfully ramp to Quota is a pre-determined amount of time. That's right, a 'Pre-determined amount of time in days'. And that will shorten the time to Quota and reduce the Hard-dollar cost of Turnover from low appointment activity.

But don't assume they can do it on their own. Provide them with a training 'System' to help them achieve the activity routinely and effectively.

4) Can it be determined operationally that you're performing similar business activities better than your competitors?

Strategy is the 'what' and tactics are the 'how.' If you are superior in operational effectiveness, you will tactically perform better than your peers and competitors. This works a lot like the outcome of a football game. The winning team almost always outperforms their opponent in fundamentals like "Blocking and Tackling."

5) Can you apply "Timely Training" and "Powerful Routines" around each core competency?

We know what training is, but do we understand why training fails? Timely Training is having appropriate structures for learning and application, defining useful short-term objectives, measuring results, and working closely with qualified trainers for follow-up and support. Most importantly, there must be organizational commitment. Focus on one core competency at a time until a pre-determined benchmark result is realized. Don't move on or over until you do. Powerful Routines are linked to selling scenarios and allow you to dust off all the bases and then cover all of them to have the highest ratio of success aligned with each situation.



Jeff Hardesty is president of JDH Group Inc.( www.convertmoresales.com ), a sales performance training company based in Powell, Ohio. He can be reached at jeff@convertmoresales.com

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