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Go on the Power Play with Sales Models

by Michael Pollack
on 2017-06-02

Even if you only catch five minutes of this year’s Stanley Cup Final, you’ll notice the difference—you’re no longer watching your parents’ brand of ice hockey.

Obstruction has been mostly eradicated and rules that once prevented a team from executing a “two-line pass” (hockey’s version of a Hail Mary) have been relaxed. On-ice adjustments now reward skill and have ushered in an era predicated on speed and creativity, in hopes of capturing the imaginations of casual fans.

Of course, these changes didn’t occur in a vacuum. Labor strife and a lockout that entirely wiped out the 2004-2005 season led the NHL to reconsider the very essence of its sport. In the wake of the lost year, ties became a thing of the past; a new points system was introduced, leading to greater parity; and clubs participated in revenue sharing, to help small-market teams stay afloat. The biggest game-changer: a strict salary cap.

In the salary-cap era, big-market NHL teams can’t simply spend an unlimited amount of money on the best available players. General Managers now must reconsider how to evaluate players and determine their worth, hoping to find hidden talent or undervalued assets. Thus, a new archetype has emerged.

Even teams that win the Stanley Cup have to essentially retool their rosters as the tickertape is being swept up at the parade. No time for sentimentality. For floundering clubs, it is not unheard of to deal your 32-year-old team captain at the trading deadline to score some draft picks.

Just as off-ice course corrections and a new economic landscape have changed how NHL teams build rosters, market forces are causing businesses to reconsider their sales practices and reimagine their sales personnel.

We find ourselves in the Age of the Informed Consumer, in which customers are no longer passive voyagers being guided on their journey by charismatic sales professionals. Savvy shoppers can research product reviews, compare prices in an instant, and even spot upcoming trends. (Thanks, Google!)

To have sales success now, one has to be a knowledge broker and trusted advisor. A sales professional is now equal parts business consultant and partner, conveying a deep knowledge of the customer’s needs and speaking authoritatively on consumer trends.

So, now you ask: How do I find these people?

This is where Caliper comes in, since there is no equivalent to “puck-luck” for icing your best sales roster.

You know your industry and understand how economic forces are shaping it. The next step is to envision how you want your business, specifically your sales apparatus, to meet today’s challenges.

Leveraging insights from extensive research, we have identified six competency-based sales success models that link personality attributes, behavioral patterns, and competencies with performance across differing levels of sales complexity. 

These models are built from mixtures of performance competencies that have been identified, through scientific validation, to be critical success factors. Simply put, the closer a job applicant matches the model, the more likely that person will perform well in the position.

Once we determine the sales model that best fits your business needs, Caliper will supply a diagnostic tool that provides the same level of rigor to your hiring practices that you put into conducting your business. That way, you can go beyond looking at an applicant’s past sales success alone and see if there is alignment between one’s potential and the approach your business will require to thrive in the new economy.