Competency models can transform the way companies operate. The buzzword “core competencies” has been at the precipice of conversations in recent years, but the origins of these concepts can be traced all the way back to a 1990 Harvard Business Review article.

Over the last 30 years, the way these competencies are tracked and analyzed has improved dramatically, allowing for a deeper understanding of what they mean and how these specific skills can identify top performers in any given industry. Caliper’s Director of Product Development explained competencies as “building blocks” that “reflect job responsibilities but can also reflect a company’s mission, vision, and values. Competencies and competency models are a standard way for a business to speak a unified language and have a way to help the entire organization ‘walk the walk’ because they allow for performance management.”

#SalesEfficiency and effectiveness requires an understanding of how #competencies differ across sales roles. Read more about how @CaliperCorp can help you identify and predict candidate success based off competencies: Click To Tweet

Companies in every industry seek lower turnover rates, and understanding how to identify competencies in candidates is one way to achieve that. Sales positions, which typically have higher turnover than other areas in a company, are one position where mining for specific skills and competencies is critical. Through extensive research and decades of conducting meta-analyses, we’ve created a library of 56 different competencies, each referring to a bundle of attributes required to perform a specific job function. Recruiters and managers alike can use this library to identify whether applicants stack up to the demands of a job in sales. In fact, competency models have proven to be incredibly effective in talent management. As Jim Graber said way back in 2015:

“A talent management function without competency models is like a house without furniture.” 

Below includes a breakdown of some of these competencies and how they relate to sales efficiency and success.

Time Management

A good salesperson needs to be able to manage their time and responsibilities. Clients and prospects will be at different locations in the sales funnel, and an ability to sift through the clutter and maintain a clear knowledge of where each account sits throughout the process is necessary for success. Sales efficiency is centered around effectively managing time. Making good use of time tracking tools can help your sales reps better manage their weekly schedules and parse out their workloads.


In sales, rejection is unavoidable. How salespeople handle the rejection — and then learn from it — is where the difference is made. Emotional intelligence is important in a sales role, and this skill requires a high level of self-awareness. One way to measure an applicant’s ability in the interview process is to analyze their staying power.

Salespeople who stay in a role for longer than 2 years exhibit the grit and resilience necessary for success. The attitude of your sales team is an essential aspect of the success of the team as a whole — how you handle rejection, missing your quota for the quarter, or managing buyer objections can directly affect your future success in a sales role.

Tip: Remember, not all sales roles are the same. We’ve identified 8 different categories of sales roles, each with their own unique core competencies. Sales efficiency and effectiveness requires an understanding of how these competencies differ across roles. 

Bonus Content: [Infographic] Learn more about each of the 8 sales roles 

Relationship Building

A salesperson’s ability to build rapport and create a relationship with prospects is integral to successfully closing the deal. Sales efficiency is contingent on an salesperson’s skills at relating to the customer and making them feel comfortable as they advance through the cycle.

Relationship-building goes beyond just relating to the customers; it’s also the ability to relate to their specific role in the company. We talked earlier about how sales roles can differ within an organization, so it should be no surprise that the kind of person best equipped for each role will differ as well. Having the self-awareness and self-confidence to understand their own strengths and personality will increase the likelihood that the sales rep take on a role with the highest chances of success.

Bonus Content: [Infographic] Learn more about the best personality traits for sales 

Competency-Based Job Models

Structuring your job models around core competencies allows for deeper insights to the kind of candidates you should be recruiting for specific roles. Structured competency models allow for an easy and streamlined way to identify the most essential competencies for a variety of industries.

How Caliper Makes a Difference

In 2016, Caliper began to offer competency-based views in Caliper Analytics, its online People Analytics dashboard that earned us the Brandon Hall Group Gold Award for the Best Advance in Candidate Assessments Technology three times over. Since our foundation, we have focused our efforts on creating technology and assessments that help companies refine their hiring techniques when it comes to sales. By utilizing self-awareness and identifying the core competencies applicants display in the recruitment and interview processes, companies can transform how they place candidates and can drastically improve their hiring process.

Relationship building goes beyond just relating to the customers; it also entails the ability of the #sales rep to relate to their specific role in the company. @CaliperCorp has more on how #competency based hiring can lead to greater success: Click To Tweet

In the following Q & A, we talked to Caliper’s Director of Product Development about how the Caliper approach to competency-based job models can inform a user’s experience in Caliper Analytics, especially from the perspective of employee development:

How does a company arrive at the optimal competency job model?

By doing a formal job analysis. Depending on the specific engagement, the outcome from the job analysis may also be a unique configuration of competencies from among the 56 in our library. Or it may be completely unique to the client – especially if accompanied by a local Validation Study with data analysis – and come with fully customized competencies. It all depends on the level of need, plus one’s appetite and what makes an effective solution, obviously.

The alternative is to leverage our research by comparing what the client knows about the job to our 52 unique validated job models; if alignment is good, all the better. They can use the power of all that data behind our models to help them make those effective decisions.

What questions does the marriage of Caliper Analytics and competency modeling help leaders ponder and answer?

  • How well do I, as a manager, know what makes my people tick?
  • Am I placing employees in situations where they can flourish?
  • Is the team faced with situations that will cause stress by putting them in performance requirements that play against their natural tendencies?

The idea here in all these examples is to use a deeper understanding of people, in comparison with performance strengths or gaps, to plot a course to maximize results.

As the interplay between competency models and Caliper Analytics evolves, what interests you most?

Using the power of research to provide people with statistically proven models to stack the deck in their favor when making a hiring decision.

The most interesting and compelling, to me, involves managing your current talent. You’re looking at people’s inherent potential and understanding how to make the most of it. You’re seeing how teams can work better together. Self-awareness is the foundation for meaningful growth. This tool can help provide that.

Interested in learning more about sales efficiency through competency modeling? Speak with one of our professionals to learn more about how the Caliper Profile and Caliper Analytics can help you remodel how you hire for your sales team.