April 16, 2015

Sales Manager Wondering How to Choose a Sales Assessment for Her CompanyAnother sales quarter is nearly over and your sales have not been growing as expected.

You have already ruled out any external factors that could have been contributing to the slow growth, so the cause must be coming from within your company.

You realize that your current hiring process is letting more than a few bad eggs on to your sales team.

All your candidates performed well during the interview process, but their numbers out in the field are rotten. You are ready to take a new approach to screening candidates.

Now may be the time to consider adding an online sales assessment test to your hiring process.


Why Use a Sales Assessment Test

how-to-choose-sales-assessment-testA sales assessment test allows you deeper insight into a candidate’s personal traits than interview questions alone.

Most interviewers ask the same general questions, so it is common for a sales candidate to have prepared and rehearsed answers ahead of time. Think of a sales assessment test as a fact checker for the interviewee’s answers.

For example, a candidate may seem enthusiastic and optimistic during an interview. The right sales assessment will measure objectively just how much Optimism the candidate truly possesses.

While a sales assessment should never be the sole deciding factor when making hiring decisions, it is extremely useful and effective in screening and comparing candidates when combined with the right interview questions.

The right test will ask sales assessment questions that measure the common personality traits found amongst the most successful and Driven salespeople: Need for Achievement, Competitiveness and Optimism.

Need for Achievement measures her desire to meet and to be challenged by goals, Competitiveness measures a candidate’s will to outperform her peers and win the customer over to her point of view and Optimism measures her resiliency to rejection and certainty that the next sales will be a success. All three are required for a candidate to generate and sustain sales long-term.

Your candidates might display these traits through phone and face-to-face interviews, but are they just putting on act to land the job? In order to be sure that you are hiring salespeople that are Driven, you need to administer a well-developed sales assessment test.


What is Wrong With Just Using a General Pre-Employment Test?

forced-choice-sales-testThere have been studies published about the usefulness of general pre-employment tests during the hiring process, and most of those studies rated general tests useless.

In fact, most pre-employment tests on the market are so terrible, that you can find “correct” answers to their questions by performing a simple internet search like “how to pass a pre-employment personality test”.

Griggs V. Duke Power Company was the first major case to bring pre-employment exams under scrutiny. The ruling that resulted is now part of the federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidelines. Here is an excerpt from our book Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again explaining the EEOC’s guidelines regarding pre-employment tests:

When using any type of personality test, we must keep in mind the federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requirements for appropriate use. These guidelines prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, gender, national origin, age (over 40) and disability. EEOC requirements also stipulate that any test used for hiring must be reliable and valid for the position in question.

In short, personality tests for pre-employment purposes cannot discriminate protected classes. Also, they must have sufficient evidence that they relate to the specific position for which the candidate has applied.

Despite the scrutiny of general personality employment tests, they have created a $500 million a year industry. Most personality tests on the market are general and designed for customer service positions.

Yes, sales positions require a certain degree of customer service, but they also require the three attributes related to Drive: Need for Achievement, Competitiveness and Optimism. Do not be swindled by a company that only offers over-generalized pre-employment tests. Look for a test that measures the traits specifically related to success in sales.


What to Look for in a Sales Assessment

There are a variety of options when looking for a sales assessment to add to your hiring process. How can you tell which is the best one?

When looking for a sales assessment test to add to your hiring process, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the test use Forced-Choice questions?
  • If the test uses a Forced-Choice format, are all the answers equally positive?
  • Which traits does the assessment measure, and how are they related to sales?
  • Does the test measure the candidate’s consistency of answering in a particular way?
  • Does the test offer sample interview or follow up questions to ask the candidate based on her specific assessment results?
  • Has the test been formulated after significant research conducted among top sales professionals?
  • Has the assessment been validated?


When to Administer a Sales Assessment Test

How far into the hiring process should you test candidates?

Ideally, administrating a sales assessment should be done after a thorough résumé screening and phone interviews but before the face-to-face interviews begin. This allows you to weed out the low-level candidates.

After all, face-to-face interviews consume your most valuable resource: your time.

By requiring a sales assessment before deciding on moving forward with a face-to-face interview, you are ensuring that your time is not wasted on a candidate who lacks the Drive to succeed in sales.

Should you test your current sales team?

Testing your existing team is like taking your car in for its yearly inspection. By administrating a sales assessment to your team, you can identify the weakest points and then readjust your team accordingly.

Just as an assessment should not be the sole deciding factor in hiring, it should not be the sole deciding factor in firing. Rather, a great sales assessment test will be specifically designed to test your current team members, and will make useful suggestions on how to reorganize your team and create effective partnerships so that your team reaches its maximum potential.


Put Our Sales Assessment to the Test

how-choose-sales-assessmentWe provide two different sales assessment tests.

  1. The DriveTest™ which is specifically designed for pre-employment purposes and will help you determine the level of Drive your potential hires possess.
  2. The Production Builder© which is uniquely designed to test existing members of your sales team, giving you insight into how strong your team is and what areas need improvement. You might also use The Production Builder© to identify pairs of hunters and farmers that would work well together.


Did you know that we offer a free trial for our sales assessment?

If you would like to put our sales assessment questions to the test, take advantage of our free trial today!