THE SAME TALENT MANAGEMENT principles used in the rest of your business certainly apply to sales and marketing roles. However, there are a few dynamics that make managing talent in sales and marketing somewhat unique.

At Entheon Partners, we will help you create and implement talent management systems that aren’t an “add-on” or corporately mandated “have-to”, but rather are critical management systems to align your people with your business priorities and performance goals.

Unlike most other roles or functions, a sales person’s contribution can be measured by very specific metrics such as revenue and margin. This creates a special opportunity to develop compensation and incentive plans that drive your business success and tie pay to performance. However, sales comp plans also have some unique challenges. Learn more by watching this short video by our colleague and partner Donya Rose.

Building a talent profile to select and recruit sales people is a specialized process.  Most generic competency models for general professionals lack specificity on the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to drive sales success in your business.  In addition, many talent profiles are unwieldy, containing 12-18 competency areas and 40-80 behaviors.  Entheon’s approach is to create talent profiles that capture the most important aspects that differentiate and define successful talent in your sales and marketing organization, and then build selection and recruitment systems and tools that are actionable, pragmatic, and effective.

The development of sales professionals often falls into one of two unhelpful extremes.  Either, it is reduced to exclusively sales training, or it is overtaken by excessive corporate training requirements.  At Entheon, we help the sales organization, in partnership with Training, Learning & Development, and HR, to create a lean and focused development approach that equips the sales team to execute the growth strategy, identifies and prepares qualified sales people for sales management positions, and equips sales managers to take on broader responsibility in your company.

When you looked at how performance management is conducted for most professionals in your company, and compared that to performance management for sales people, what did you find?  When we have done that comparison in numerous organizations, we have found an interesting trend: most professionals receive an annual performance appraisal that looks at both qualitative behaviors (the “how” of performance) as well as quantitative performance results (the “what” of performance).  In addition, a strong performance management system will look at development goals tied to career planning.  It is interesting, then, when we look at performance management for sales, that it often comes down to one number: how much they sold.  Then we set next year’s quota and call that performance management.  This is a lost opportunity to help your sales team continuously improve, equipping them to attain higher and higher levels of performance, while also increasing retention for the sales people you want to keep around.

“Ted is one of the best consultants I’ve ever met. He sees the big picture, but doesn’t hesitate to jump into the details. In a few short weeks he understood our business better than some senior hires did after 6 months of working here full time. Most consultants talk a lot and do a little. Ted is the exact opposite. He has become meaningfully involved in our sales and account management organizations, guiding us to take the steps that we need to take, over time, resulting in a sales improvement effort that is getting results.”