paw.gif (767 bytes)
Home About FLI Services Publications



Client: Leading international manufacturer of high-end office and electronic printing equipment

Project Objectives: Through the analysis of existing and projected future job performance, the client wanted to develop a uniform series of job profiles that would describe the competencies and attributes required by their sales force. The job profiles would let them evaluate skill levels of individual sales, sales support, and sales management staff members--regardless of their product line or position within the sales organization.

Data from the profiles would also allow sales staff members to assess their current competency level, identify development needs, and establish a personal development plan. Those who carry through on their personal development plan would be certified on the competencies critical to their job.

The certification, in turn, would provide input to the employee's performance review/promotion process.

Issues: As part of a major organizational restructuring, the client's sales force had been organized into three marketing groups, each with responsibility for selling a particular (and sometimes competitive and overlapping) product line. A new marketing strategy entailed moving from this specialty line approach to one in which all salespeople would be prepared to recommend appropriate, integrated product solutions to customer needs.

The reorganization led to a significant need for re-training and cross-training across previously existing specialty areas. Retraining everyone across all competencies would have been inefficient and cost-prohibitive.

What was needed was a means for measuring current sales staff competencies and forecasting desired competencies in a variety of areas including:

  • Sales skills
  • Account management skills
  • Product solutions knowledge
  • Marketplace knowledge
  • Sales management skills
  • Systems knowledge
  • Leadership skills

Solution: A joint FLI/client team conducted a series of focus groups and structured interviews across all levels of senior and sales management to define the current and future attributes and competency requirements of the sales force. Initial inputs were reported in the form of a first draft Sales Job Profile document. This draft document was then reviewed by representative groups of stakeholders to identify areas of uncertainty. These areas were clarified, and a revised Job Profile document was submitted for final approval.

The FLI/client team conducted focus group sessions with stakeholders to determine and validate performance standards for 20 different sales and sales management positions. In support of implementation of the competency system, FLI developed a workshop session and coaching guide to be used by managers to introduce the program to their staff.

Business Results: All sales managers and field sales personnel completed initial competency assessments and learning action plan development by mid-1994. Certification activities are scheduled to begin in 1995. Initial reaction to the competency program has been extremely positive from all areas of the organization. Senior management views the program as a key enabler for maintaining leadership in productivity, quality, technological excellence, customer satisfaction, and global market share.

Curriculum Assessment Tools
New Technology Adoption
Interactive Media
Competency Development
Develop Customer / Client Partnerships
Project Management Methodology
Introduce a New Product
Re-engineering Processes
Enter a New Market
Introduce a New Information System
Change the Sales Approach
Documentation Development