In a previous blog  I looked at Holden’s Four Stages of Sales Proficiency model in relation to sales proficiency and performance.

The next series of blogs will look at Holden Four Stage Model in greater detail and examining it through five dimensions

Holdens Sales Proficiency levels

Holdens Sales Proficiency levels

Figure 1: Holden’s Four Stages of Sales Proficiency.

These dimensions are:

  1. Holden’s Model – Intent
  2. Holden’s Model – Focus
  3. Holden’s Model – Relationship
  4. Holden’s Model – Value
  5. Holden’s Model – Knowledge

Holden’s Model – Intent

In terms of intent, Stage I Emerging Sellers want simply to be considered. Making the short list is cause for celebration; they merely want to survive today and grow into the job. Stage II Solution Sellers differ in that they want to make a sale. In fact, many of these individuals would sacrifice longer-term customer loyalty in favour of a short-term revenue win. This is particularly evident at the end of the quarter, when the pressure to close orders becomes intense. Each sales situation is the main event for these sellers. However, they often lack an ability to qualify to determining whether they should pursue an opportunity. They essentially go after anyone—or anything—that’s warm and breathing.

Stage III Compete Sellers want to “own” the customer department where purchases are being made. They place the emphasis on repeat sales and work to develop a long runway of business. They qualify hard to ensure that this is the best opportunity available, that they can win the business and grow the account.

Stage IV Customer Advisors carry the thinking even further. They want to “own” the account, seeking the lion’s share of the business. These people not only service demand but know how to create it in a politically astute manner. Customer Advisors work hard to establish themselves as thought leaders with their customers, often providing Unexpected Value that earns them insider status. They don’t just take business; they make sensible business recommendations that reflect out-of-the-box thinking. And when they need to tell a customer something that they know the customer might not want to hear but needs to hear, they diplomatically explain their position.

Holden's Model - Intent

Holden’s Model – Intent

Figure 2 illustrates Holden’s Model – Intent. At what stage would you objectively place yourself? Where would you place your sales organization?

Source: The New Power Base Selling: Master The Politics, Create Unexpected Value and Higher Margins, and Outsmart the Competition by Ryan Kubacki, Jim Holden