Think you know? Here is what I think ....
Many organizations have developed without objective analysis of their purpose and structure. The buying power in many industries is no longer evenly distributed - in a large number of markets a few big firms control the majority of purchases.
The development of new marketing techniques, the arrival of Sales 2.0, and the impact of Social Media has meant that some tasks, traditionally performed by the sales team, can be more effectively handled by other methods.
The prime objective of all sales staff is to gain business. From an organizational point of view, however, the manner in which they all achieve their goals must be defined in order to identify what kind, and the quality, of skills that are required.
Businesses need to redefine selling and what constitutes basic selling skills
Furthermore, I must emphasize that in today's world of selling, there is less and less room for apprenticeship. Selling has become an exclusive club of highly skilled professionals, where product knowledge and time management skills for instance, are the cost of membership, not leadership.
Ongoing research demonstrates that today's 'average' salesperson is just as effective as the high performer in explaining features and benefits, relating a service or product to customer needs and closing a sale. But above this elementary plateau of competence, the exceptional salesperson is busy defining the "basic skills of tomorrow".
Building an up-to-date foundation in sales competence does mean sacrificing some old notions of what it takes to succeed in a competitive marketplace. For example, a salesperson can no longer just "win by knowing".
In my view, every company needs to urgently test their assumptions about what skills really contribute to sales success.
Too often, operating on old sales theories means training and rewarding people to do the wrong things.