For sales organizations, talent management is of critical importance. After all, according to Forbes, staff turnover in sales organisations exceeds 20 percent, while the CSO Insights 2016 Sales Enablement Optimization Study found that 60.7 percent of sales companies now report new recruits’ average ramp up times of seven months or more.
Clearly, this poses a lot of challenges and talent mapping has a role to play in the solution, because it combines elements of talent management with strategic workforce planning. Here, we take a more detailed look at the benefits of talent mapping for your sales reps and explain how it can help to ensure you have the necessary skills at all times.
What is Talent Mapping?
Before you can implement talent mapping for your sales reps, it is important to understand exactly what it is. Essentially, talent mapping is the process of mapping existing talent, comparing this to short, medium and long-term business needs, and using the information to develop a comprehensive long-term hiring strategy.
The HR firm Paychex, Inc. defines talent mapping as: "A process that works to help determine future talent needs, assess the viability of your current staff to meet those needs, source high-potential players in your field for future recruitment, and develop a strategic plan to fill identified skills and talent gaps."
The Nigel Wright Group agrees with this assessment, describing talent mapping as: "A strategic service that is used by businesses to plan for short, medium and long term talent acquisition."
Ultimately, it looks at current performance, future employee development, and internal and external recruitment.
Assessing Existing Staff
Talent mapping usually begins by analysing existing employees and placing sales reps onto a nine point grid, with current performance on one axis, and future potential on the other. Employees should be scored on a scale of low, medium and high on each axis and placed in the appropriate position on the grid. This grid then gives business leaders a clear overview of what their current team looks like now, and in the future.
For example, staff who have a high current performance level and high future potential should be identified as future leadership candidates. Those with high potential, but low current performance, should be made priorities for employee development efforts, or it may be necessary to reassess their current role and find a better fit for them.
Staff with low potential and low current performance are under-performing and need to be performance managed, or even led towards the exit. Those who are performing very well, but have low potential for improvement are established professionals, who can be used to help with other employees' development.
There are popular talent management solutions, allowing organisations to assess sales skills, analyse existing talent and evaluate future potential. Once current performance has been assessed and talent mapping has started, you should then have an idea of where skills gaps exist.
The other half of talent mapping is concerned with talent scouting and recruitment. Here, sales organisations need to use their talent map to pinpoint current and future talent needs. They can then also assess whether they have internal solutions, or whether external recruitment is going to be required to meet those needs.
Organisations need to gather information about talent and create a talent pipeline in order to plug their skills gaps. Maintaining a steady and reliable pipeline is the foundation of an effective talent map. This article takes a deep dive into how organisations can leverage the capabilities of modern technological advancements like Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing, Big Data, etc, to effortlessly manage and maintain their talent pipelines.
Here, talent mapping bridges the gap between researchers and recruiters. One of the key advantages is that, while recruitment is concerned with short-term needs, talent mapping takes a much more holistic approach, allowing companies to identify potential recruits that they may want to turn to in the future and build relationships with them.
"Talent mapping allows for a longer term view, a more comprehensive look at all the talent in the market," says Bill Boorman, writing for The Recruiting Unblog. "Talent mapping isn't about list building or putting names in a database, it goes well beyond that."
About the Author
Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global business solution provider helping organisations design successful employee development programs. Culturally savvy, she has years of international experience in B2B marketing on behalf of dynamic, world-class enterprises. She likes to share her experience to help organisations.