Your Sales Team Is Just Like My 4th Grade Volleyball Team… and Your Skills Matrix Template Is My Stat Sheet Template

I wouldn’t say I’m a particularly sporty person, so the sporty metaphoric nature of this post is a leap. Bear with me.

Despite my less than sportiness, I do coach a 4th grade volleyball team. Fourth grade is the first year that the school allows students to play organized volleyball, so defining the skills that they need to be good, and coaching them on how to do those things well, is the name of the game. I think good corporate managers are good coaches. And just like my volleyball team needs a skills matrix for volleyballers, I think sales and customer service teams need a clearly defined skills matrix template and skill matrix for workers to be truly successful. 

So what is a skill set matrix?

Time for some definitions. You may have heard of a competency matrix or a competency framework—possibly buzzwords in your sales enablement network. There is a difference, though, between competencies and skills. A competency can exist with or without skills. I think of it as more of a talent or tendency. Let’s kick it back to volleyball:

  • Competencies: Teamwork, Leadership, Persistence
  • Skills: Bumping, Setting, Spiking

So in our world…

  • Competencies: Teamwork, Leadership, Persistence
  • Skills: Negotiating beneficial terms, Building out account plans, De-escalating frustrated customers

When you think about your team and a competency vs. skill matrix, think about competencies, but get more specific with the skills that will make your team successful. Honing the skills that matter will lead to competence development.

Where should I start? 

I can give you an idea of how we do it at Lessonly. We walk the talk and actually have a skill matrix for employees

First, you’ll need to build a skill matrix. This can vary based on what team you’re looking at. Our sales enablement leader and my manager coordinate and agree on which skills belong in the matrix for my team. Click this link here for a skills matrix template example to learn more about Lessonly’s skill matrix software.  

We utilize the Skills platform in Lessonly to keep track of how we are tracking toward our specific skill development. As an individual contributor, I submit a self-assessment. Then, my manager assesses me on each skill. This gives us a good baseline to build off of. From there, my manager is able to do specific skill assessments by listening to my call recordings or by joining me live on a call. And she can create coaching plans if there are skills that I am struggling with. 

So again with the volleyball: A skills matrix is your stat sheet, but Lessonly Practice and Skills software (or something similar) are tryouts, practice, and personal 1:1 coaching. Some people need more help with setting, and some people need more help with spiking. As a coach, meet your teammates where they are. And win! win! win!

And not to brag, but we were undefeated last season… 😉 

Want your team to feel undefeated next season? 🏐

Then Lessonly’s training, enablement, and coaching software has your name on it. More than four million people learn with Lessonly and see 62% stronger results at work. To learn more, book 15 minutes with our team at

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