In today's world, who wouldn't want a half million dollar a year salary? Or even better, an even million? But as sales reps know, that's fairly rare territory. In fact, only 3% are earning the $500,000 and .001% ever achieve the million dollar level. So, what would it take for your sales reps to earn a million dollars and join that elite group?

It’s not about knocking on more doors or calling on more clients. And it’s not about being smarter than the competition. It’s about investing time in the activities that are the most likely to move deals forward. And it’s about having the right behavioral competencies for the job.

As a sales leader, how can you push reps closer to the seven-figure threshold? The first step is to understand what makes each job tick — and then ensure this is clearly defined in the role profile. Within the role profile, the sales competencies a rep needs in order to be successful must be clearly articulated. Then, managers need to make sure the sales reps in each role have the right competencies—starting with defining the five aspects of every sales job.

1 Customer targeting and segmentation

Identify the customers your reps must target, then segment the accounts by size, type, strategic importance, or other criteria. Different segments may require different competencies.

2 Sales strategy

Sales jobs consist of three primary sales strategies: penetration selling, acquisition selling and retention selling. A role may have one clear objective, or a blend of selling priorities. A well-defined role profile knows which strategy is most critical for success.

Role Requirements
Penetration Acquiring greater sales with current customers Building relationships, seeking new opportunities, crossing boundaries and broadening one's reach within an organization
Acquisition Generating sales to new customers of new or current products Creating awareness and stimulating interest
Retention Maintaining current sales with current customers Maintaining the relationship

3 Organizational hierarchy

Consider how the job fits within your organizational structure (e.g., individual contributor or manager) and its support structure (e.g., do reps get help from others or are they on their own?). In many organizations, an account manager oversees all sales activity in an account and supports a team of sales reps. In other cases — usually smaller, nonstrategic accounts — sales reps may cover an account independently.

Sales Effectiveness

Break through to immediate, predictable and sustainable sales effectiveness

4 Sales process

Organizations take three steps to complete a sales transaction: identifying the opportunity, closing the sale and supporting the customer. Each step requires specific competencies. Know what sales reps do in the sales process so you can determine what skills are needed.

5 Products and/or product lines

Ensure reps develop in-depth technical knowledge and expertise about the products and/or product lines they are assigned. This is particularly important if reps specialize by product (e.g., a data specialist, services specialist or software specialist).

Defining a sales role using these five criteria shows you how to staff a sales job. With this information in hand, you can ensure a rep’s background and experience match the competencies needed to succeed with your products or services, the sales process and your customers’ expectations. You can then give reps the training and coaching they need to close any competency gaps so that your sales reps — and your sales organization — can achieve the best results.

As reps gain experience, they can take on increasingly complex work (such as more accounts or bigger deals), understand your business better and develop more effective management and problem-solving skills. This will allow them to progress in your organization and earn more.

Are you ready to start building a seven-figure sales team? Find out more ways that Korn Ferry can help.

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