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How to create a Sales & Marketing Skills Matrix

How to create a Sales & Marketing Skills Matrix

A skills matrix may sound like it should belong firmly within the boundaries of the HR department, but it’s an organisational wide strategic tool. Used and implemented effectively, a skills matrix can help to develop sales and marketing individuals and teams.

It can also allow leaders to enhance their team’s skills and experiences for optimal performance. A skills matrix is a tool beneficial to all departments if designed, implemented and followed up effectively. Essentially a skill matrix should show the skills required for a role, the individual skills and the gaps in between.

Read the full article to discover how to create one for your team.

What is a Sales and Marketing skills matrix?

A skills matrix is a grid where each skill required for team productivity is listed. Skills can be divided into groups or listed without grouping. For example, they can be split into Sales soft skills or Marketing technical skills. Team members are then assigned to the grid to identify skills gaps. Once gaps are exposed, the manager can focus on upskilling and training the team members who require development. Alternatively it may be that the matrix shows that they may need to restructure the team to ensure full potential.

Why is it needed?

It’s vital for a manager or team leader to understand the mix of experience and skills within their team. It may be an easy undertaking if the team is small, but with vast teams, a skills matrix can be an efficient way to map the skills and identify gaps. It can highlight risk areas where one individual may be heavily relied upon to carry out critical tasks. If this person were not present, then who would carry out these tasks? A skills matrix is also useful to help with team planning. The results may point to recruitment if specific skills are short and training is not sufficient.

Who is responsible?

Managers or team leaders can create their skill matrix information, but HR may be the ones who provide the template matrix. Sales and Marketing job descriptions are useful to help to add specific roles, skills and knowledge requirements for the team. If a manager doesn’t have these, HR should be able to provide them. If a team is very large, the manager may have team leaders who manage different areas. These team leaders will be valuable people to help with identifying skills for the matrix and for giving specific details about their team members.

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Before starting the matrix

How detailed and objective the matrix is will depend on the manager’s time, the resources available and their knowledge of the team. For example, to fully understand an individual’s skill level, it may be necessary to review recent appraisal documents or skills assessments for the objective, measurable information. However, if time is limited, then a manager can take the more subjective approach of relying on their knowledge of the team and individual skills. Sales teams will have current sales results assess against, but softer skills will be less easy to measure.

How to populate the matrix

Firstly, it’s best to ignore individual names when plotting the matrix. Start by considering what tasks make up the team objectives and the skills and experience the team requires. These skills can be listed in either row or column headings. For example, in a Marketing team, a skill likely to be required is SEO or CRM tool knowledge. This may then need to be broken down into specifics. It can be effective to group similar skills together, or colour code them. When the skills are listed in the matrix, it can be populated with individual members. The next step is to check each member of the team against each skill and tick the box if they possess the skill. If a member doesn’t have the skill, the box can be left empty.

Fig. 1 – example sales and marketing basic skills matrix

Analysing the results

The work for the manager really begins because once the skills matrix is complete and action needs to be taken. Managers will be able to identify gaps in Sales or Marketing skills and decisions must be made about how to rectify any issues. It may result in a restructuring of some role or of the team, or training may be required. Once gaps or high-risk issues are identified, Managers may need to work with other areas of the business to take the next steps to strengthen their team. Managers can discuss with HR the internal or external training opportunities and potential recruitment or restructuring steps.

Who else does it benefit?

There are team and company benefits of creating and implementing a skill matrix, but how does it benefit those in the Sales and Marketing teams? A skills matrix can highlight the need for training and this training may engage individuals and improve retention. It’s estimated that it can cost a company over £30,000 to replace the average employee if they leave the company, so if the skills matrix can increase engagement and retention, then this is a necessary tool for an individual and team. Once the process is complete, it should also clarify each person’s role and development, which may aid motivation.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy for Sales and Marketing teams to focus on targets and pipeline, but it’s also important for such teams to perform at their optimal productivity. A highly functioning team can only enhance success. By using a Sales and Marketing skills matrix to thoroughly review the skills within a team, gaps can be highlighted. Actions can then be put in place to develop skills and team members. Ideally, a skill matrix should be carried out at regular intervals. This is especially crucial if there are changes to the team members and role requirements. If administered effectively, it may help to highlight high-risk areas, reduce turnover, increase productivity and employee motivation. All that from a simple grid.


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