How to Close The Skills GapOver 20-50 sales kick-offs every year, over 10,000’s of sales professionals from every corner of the world. I’ve encountered sales professionals from every walk of life, different ages, genders, ethnicities and educational backgrounds. Yet there’s one big question I get asked on a consistent basis.

“How are my sales professionals compared to others?”

It’s a fair question since us sales professionals are a very competitive bunch. We yearn for the best-in-breed tools and processes that other sales organizations may have. As I first assess sales organizations and begin to answer the question, I notice a visible and obvious difference. For Social Selling, this difference is the “Skill Gap.”

The Skill Gap

The Skill Gap is the digital knowledge difference between neophytes and social ninjas in the office. If the gap is heavily weighted on the neophytes, or there are multiple social ninjas yet still many neophytes, there is a problem. The problem is education and training. How can the company expect to be widely successful if some sales professionals are rock stars, and some need massive handholding?

“The strength of a sales organization is based on its weakest sales professional”

Your existing sales professionals

What are you doing to ensure the shared knowledge between each sales professional is high? How is each sales professional using tools and processes at the same cadence, so there aren’t governance and performance issues? This is what makes performance reviews so frustrating. Unless all skills are equal, then you can isolate one or two challenges. But when there’s a huge knowledge gap (tools and process) between other sales pros, how can you pinpoint a corrective action for the next 90 days? Like a golf swing, there are too many actions to fix.

Your new hires

This is your opportunity to build a talent pool that works in unison. Meaning as a team, they are collectively sharing ideas, and learning from each other. Having these teammates as knowledgeable as your seasoned sales veterans is critical. This will allow your entire sales team to be well equipped for the market and have equal access to knowledge, resources and tools.

One funnel, team revenue

We have every sales hire walk a mile in the Marketing Team’s shoes. To truly understand “One Funnel, Team Revenue,” the sales team needs to understand exactly how leads are created, evaluated, distributed, and then actioned. We have also begun investigating a shared digital library for the best business books, a place for any teammate to listen or read the same books so we’re all on the same page. I’d like to hear what your organization is doing to avoid the dreaded “Skill Gap,” let me know your thoughts.


Photo courtesy of © es0lex/ Dollar Photo Club


Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

Leave a Reply

Login First!

Related Blogs

Dec 10, 2019 8:00 am
Overcoming social selling objections from your EMEA leadership team

Lately, sales leaders have been asking me how to overcome social selling objections from EMEA leadership teams. There’s no question that there’s a tremendous growth opportunity for social selling, or modern digital prospecting in EMEA because of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – a relatively new European privacy law, which has dramatically restricted the … Continue reading “Overcoming social selling objections from your EMEA leadership team”

Nov 29, 2019 10:00 am
Why are you so afraid to “pull your reps out of the field”?

I’ve probably have heard the above statement 20 or 30 times per year for the last seven years. Whether we’re planning kickoffs, doing business reviews, or any kind of live, virtual, or on-demand training programs, sales leaders give me the same excuse time and time again, no matter what the industry: I DON’T WANT TO … Continue reading “Why are you so afraid to “pull your reps out of the field”?”

Sep 18, 2019 1:00 pm
You’re Buying People’s Knowledge, Not Just a Training System

I was recently on a call with a prospective customer working on a global project scope, and they asked me a question that made me stop and think.

Aug 30, 2019 1:00 pm
Train The Trainer: What Most Sales Enablement Strategies Are Missing

After seven years of working with 350-400 customers, it recently dawned on me that there’s a fundamental flaw in the sales training industry. For context, consultants like us typically go into market and provide sales leaders with basic training on how to be a coach of modern, digital sales skills. We then train the sellers … Continue reading “Train The Trainer: What Most Sales Enablement Strategies Are Missing”