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Hire and Develop Salespeople: Which Assessment Test to Use

 

Published by : Frederic Lucas

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The primary purpose of the tests used during the recruitment process is to determine whether candidates fit a pre-defined profile, but why should the usefulness of these tools stop after the candidate is hired?

 

There is a multitude of tests available on the market to help recruit for many professions. The majority of them are personality and behaviour tests, and they're also often used to recruit salespeople. What they analyze however aren't predictive of sales success and don't improve sales-specific competencies after the hire.

 

The tests you use should help you hire, integrate and develop good salespeople. Traditional tests don't. How do you find your way around? What does the right test look?

Only evaluate what can be improved

With a personality test, the candidate's assessment is based on his or her traits and attributes like whether a candidate is organized or not. These are intangible elements that are difficult to change and adjust.

 

The identification of personality traits such as the degree of extroversion or introversion has no value for sales per se. In the context of sales recruitment, these criteria are not predictive of sales success. You can't act on a trait like the degree of extraversion or organizational style when looking to develop your salesperson.

 

When developing a representative, it's crucial to identify behaviours. Because they're observable, it will be easier to see if changes have taken place.

 

For example:

  • The candidate doesn't use a CRM to track opportunities.
  • The candidate doesn't use a calendar to record appointments.
  • The candidate doesn't work with a priority list.

 

These are examples of behaviours that can be changed with concrete actions.

Tests adapted for sale aren't predictive

Although they sometimes use sales vocabulary, the reality is that many behavioural tests aren't suited for the field. They focus solely on social behaviour.

 

Take interpersonal relationships for example. A behavioural test will tell you about the candidate's ability to develop relationships in a social context, such as with co-workers. Relationships are essential in sales, but first meeting a prospect is more challenging than first meeting new colleagues.

 

This difference in context means that the information provided in behavioural tests (even those adapted for sales) won't be useful to you in identifying and improving the weaknesses of your new salespeople.

 

Sales-specific tests provide data on candidates' aptitudes during a prospecting call, an initial meeting with a new client, his or her need for approval from clients and prospects or reaction after having been shot down multiple times when prospecting.

 

This information will be useful during the hiring and integration processes, as you will have a complete view of the factors that block performance on specific aspects of sales.

Opt for a test specifically designed for sales candidates

The Objective Management Group pre-employment assessment is sales-specific (which Prima Resource uses). It has been developed solely for the evaluation of sales candidates and analyses only those factors that positively or negatively impact sales execution.

 

The assessment also exists for the roles of Sales Manager and VP of Sales and is based on the respective skills required for success in these two positions.

 

Therefore, this pre-employment test provides the sales candidate's overall Sales Percentile as well as specific, relevant information on your hiring decisions.

 

For example:

  • The representative can't overcome the resistance of the potential customer.
  • The potential client's objections destabilize the candidate.
  • The candidate lets the potential customer compare offers from several suppliers.

 

Because this data is specific to each sales stages, it provides relevant information on the representatives' ability to execute a sales process. They also identify skill gaps and limiting beliefs that have a negative impact on performance.

 

The data set provides a concrete and complete picture of skills and gaps to build an effective coaching plan to develop the candidate. In other words, the usefulness of a specific execution test in sales isn't limited to the recruitment process.

 

Also, sales managers and company executives who wonder why their salespeople often get stuck at the same sales stage get the answers they need. It is these results that help to find friction points, remove them and improve the sales performance of each representative.

Takeaway

Using the wrong tests is a mistake. An excellent pre-hiring test for sale should be:

  • Specific to the sales profession
  • Predictive of the candidate's success in YOUR business
  • Focused on behaviours, not personality traits
  • Give the keys to develop a concrete action plan based on the results obtained.
  • Be a development tool for the salesperson and his/her superior

 

With this in hand, you will be equipped to successfully select, hire, integrate and coach your new representatives.

 

How to recruit great salespeople

Frederic Lucas

Having founded Prima Resource in 2007, Frederic has helped hundreds of CEOs, executives and sales reps aim higher and achieve their objectives. Clients know Frederic as the person who will tell them what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. They value his experience, the science that backs his work and the predictability of his observations and advice.

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THE SCIENCE OF SALES

The blog the science of sale is dedicated to business leaders and sales leaders who are looking for the best practices to build, recruit, coach, train, evaluate, motivate and remunerate their sales teams and improve sales performance.

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