An Initial Competency Model for Sales Managers at Fifteen B2B Organizations

Open Access
Favia, Monica J.
Graduate Program:
Workforce Education and Development
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
February 17, 2010
Committee Members:
  • William J Rothwell, Dissertation Advisor
  • William J Rothwell, Committee Chair
  • Wesley Edward Donahue, Committee Member
  • Linda K Trevino, Committee Member
  • Edgar Paul Yoder, Committee Member
  • sales magager competency
  • competency model
The purpose of the study was to develop an initial competency model necessary for success in the sales manager’s job in the business to business market. The findings indicate that the initial competency model for sales managers has thirty-two competencies and six competency clusters including, relationship building, planning, monitoring, directing, evaluating and rewarding. The initial competency model developed here gives support to the argument that sales is moving from a transactional approach to a relationship approach. Therefore, attention needs to be given to developing the relationship orientation skills of sales managers. Relationships are being sought by both suppliers and customers as a way of assuring a consistent, quality supply and future business. This is evidenced by Trent (2005) writing from the buyers point of views who states, “A diverse set of research shows relationships matter to the point where they can be a source of competitive advantage,” (p. 54). Trent (2005) goes on to say, “relationships matter because almost every industry is facing changes that make suppliers a critical part of the firm’s value chain,” (p. 55). The findings indicate that coaching and ethical behaviors are of particular importance to sales managers and care should be taken to fully develop these competencies. This is particularly important in light of the study conducted by Managing Training & Development, (2005) that found that respondents cited the lack of such skills as the primary reason for a sales leadership failure. A cross-functional mentoring program may be one method to develop coaching and relationship building skills. Ethics training can be conducted in the traditional manner using case discussions and/or role-plays with ethical dilemmas. Promotion criteria should also be restructured to reflect relationship skills, coaching and ethical behavior. Additional research should be conducted to confirm the initial model using another method. Additional research should also be conducted to determine the current contents of training programs for sales managers. Finally, research should be undertaken to finally answer the question of do the best salespeople make good sales managers.