It is a common notion in sales circles that 20% of the reps generate 80% of the total sales of the concerned organization. This notion drives sales leaders to pin all their hopes onto top performing sales reps.
The fact however remains that sales is a science and not exclusively an art. There’s a clear cut recipe to nurture your salespeople into high performers and the recipe involves a holistic combination of knowledge, skills, and attitude.
While the recipe varies based on organization and role, the underlying method that defines the attributes that make sellers successful remains the same.
That being said, let us first define what the term Ideal Rep Profile means, and why you need one in the first place!
What is an IRP and why do I need one?
An IRP defines and benchmarks top competencies – a combination of knowledge, skills, and behaviors – that reps must possess in order to attain success on the field.
It is important to document and encode your IRP where you can measure skill development and its impact on business outcomes.
As you make your own IRP, keep these things in mind:
Knowledge: Reps need to have a good grasp of certain information and knowledge to be successful. For example, a seller needs to have solid product knowledge, as well as a great understanding of competitors’ products.
Skills: Sellers must master key skills to be able to close deals. For example, if a rep has strong discovery and objection handling skills, they’re more likely to be successful than those who struggle in this area.
Behaviors: Knowledge and skills are the foundation for success. But the real test is how a rep applies what they know when in the field.
Certain in-field behaviors can make or break a sale. For example, successful reps listen more than they talk and limit their use of filler words.
The competencies included in an IRP aren’t simply a laundry list of what sales leaders think reps need to be successful.
Rather, they’re the competencies possessed by the best sellers – and those correlated with positive sales outcomes.
How to create an ideal rep profile: A 3 step framework to build your IRP
Determine IRP roles
The competencies required for success vary based on the role of the individual. For example, while discovery skills are very important for an account executive, they’re less important for customer success teams.
As such, it’s a best practice to create a separate IRP for each key role. The first step is to determine the roles for which you’ll create IRPs.
Typically, companies define IRPs for their go-to-market (GTM) or customer-facing roles. According to a popular research undertaking, the top 5 roles for which organizations define their IRPs include:
Business development representatives
Identify goals and competencies
After identifying key roles, the next step is to identify the goals for each role.
For example, a goal for a sales engineer is to perform structured demos, while one for a customer success manager might be to minimize churn.
Then, it’s time to determine the required competencies for each role. These should be the knowledge, skills, and behaviors each role needs to possess to meet their goals.
This list shouldn’t be created based on gut feeling. Instead, it should be a list of competencies possessed by the best sellers and each competency should be correlated with sales success.
According to a popular study, organizations with an IRP define at least 15 competencies per role, and you would be well-advised to emulate the same in your company.
Rank key competencies
The typical IRP includes several competencies that are crucial for sales success. However, some carry more weight than others.
After identifying the knowledge, skills, and behaviors for each role, it’s important to assign a rank to each.
Harness the power of IRP to supercharge sales rep performance
Of course, simply creating an IRP doesn’t guarantee better sales results across the team. However, it should serve as the north star of the organization’s sales readiness program.
Once there’s alignment on the knowledge, skills, and behaviors necessary for sales success, sales and enablement leaders can strive to develop onboarding, training, and content programs that focus on these key areas.
In addition, organizations can measure each rep’s competencies against the IRP on a regular basis to nurture the reps’ growth. Completion of training modules and performance on assessments and quizzes can enable you to gauge the progress of your reps and throw light on the kind of support they require in order to reach their full potential.
But, organizations must dig deep to measure how their reps are actually putting their knowledge and skills into practice in the field. Gaining this intel might involve sitting in a rep’s call or leveraging conversation intelligence to see where reps are shining, and where things need improvement.
By regularly benchmarking the performance of reps against the IRP, organizations can identify competency gaps early on. This allows managers to deliver targeted and personalized coaching to close these gaps.
Then, they can measure improvement on key competencies and analyze how these improvements are impacting sales outcomes.
In a nutshell
By establishing an IRP, you can overcome the limiting belief that 20% of reps generate 80% of the sales results in your organization.
You can ensure that all your reps reach their full potential and drive sales success for the organization. If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, stay tuned to find out more!
We will be publishing a host of illuminating articles over time to help you optimize your sales and drive growth. If you’d like us to shed more light on a particular topic, feel free to reach out to us by mailing firstname.lastname@example.org!