A premium branded, privately-held manufacturing company wanted to develop a training program for their account managers. They recognized that attracting, developing and retaining top talent was critical to their continued success. The account manager role was highly technical requiring bright and well-educated team members. New hires were trained on technical elements and processes but were given only guidance on the selling process. The managers had relied on their personal experience to train and coach the team, but the existing approach was inconsistent and based largely on job descriptions.
The issues would seem to be rooted in a lack of consistency and detail in the selling process. Completing interviews with the management team, the account managers and their peers identified more fundamental challenges. In this case, the lack of a framework around which skills and knowledge needed to be structured meant that the transparency, predictability and clarity of a broader competency management model didn’t exist. It led to inconsistency in the development of behavioral skills within the job scope; (e.g. communication skills, conflict management, priority/time management, leading others, selling skills). This framework was also needed for more detailed performance evaluations, and development strategies which support a clear and consistent approach to succession planning.