August 29, 2013

should-i-assess-current-sales-team-with-online-sales-testAssessing current salespeople can be a powerful benchmarking tool, especially when it is done within the context of team development and not just as a stand-alone exercise.

A good online sales test can identify a multitude of problems that might be difficult for sales managers to pinpoint otherwise.

By understanding the issues at hand, a manager is able to more accurately address the situation with the proper corrective action.


What Do Sales Assessment Tests Measure?

Sales assessment tests perform three main functions:

  1. Tell you how many of your salespeople are “hunters” or “farmers”
  2. Identify key strengths and weaknesses of each salesperson
  3. Give you a sneak peak into your teams’ total score

Every sales team is a continual work in progress, even cases of experienced, well-oiled teams. The key is to first understand where your team is, then work to improve it.


Using Online Sales Tests to Improve Production

Testing can be a highly efficient way of targeting specific training to address an individual’s needs as opposed to imposing “one size fits all” training. Simply by taking a vested interest in the specific needs of your sales team, your employees are more likely to respond positively to your concerns.

Focused training can often be motivating, and in addition to the skills gleaned from the coaching, salespeople often receive temporary productivity boosts from the investment.

Assessments can also be helpful in identifying personality types so that managers can better relate to, motivate and communicate with their salespeople. Using this insight, a skilled manager can put together dream sales teams.

These sales tests can also help managers identify why disputes and tension exist within their workplace.

Due to the wide number of applications these tests have, it is actually puzzling why managers avoid assessing their sales teams. Sales assessment techniques and data are becoming so accurate that not using them could cede a huge advantage to competitors who do take advantage of this technology.


How to Use a Sales Test on Your Current Sales Team

how-to-use-an-online-sales-test-with-current-teamYou most likely have seasoned salespeople on your team who might score poorly on a sales test. An extensive track record only shows the past.

Think of your top earners. Which ones appear to be coasting? Do they embellish old achievements while avoiding talking about their current performance? Do they continually need to remind the rest of the office of “who they are”?

It is important to know the status of your current sales team. If you have an employee who is low on Drive, for example, putting that salesperson through a great deal of expensive training will give diminished returns on your investment.

With the information gathered from the sales test, you should be able to better place those low-Drive salespeople, either in a team of colleagues with complimentary traits or perhaps in a different department. A quality sales test will illuminate what types of training would be useful for each employee.

Knowing how to tailor your human resource investments builds confidence in team members that you recognize their strengths and weaknesses, and are willing to deploy them accordingly.


Going Beyond the Sales Test

It is important that sales managers regularly consult with their Human Resources team for guidance when working through any employee assessment. HR departments can offer advice on improvements in management styles that may affect employee production, as well as suggesting corrective actions when potential problems have been identified within your team members.


Maintaining a Motivated Sales Team

maintaining-motivated-sales-teamWhile it is important to address the concerns of your employees and what motivates them individually, it can be just as important to know how to avoid alienating your team.

Employee motivation is often a leading problem within sales. In fact, a recent study showed that four out of every five employees are disengaged from their job.

If your employees do not trust you, the chances of a sales test being an effective management tool decrease dramatically.

Low morale is often the root cause of employee distrust and once that has set in, the long-term results of the assessment test become virtually nullified.

Things managers should avoid doing to prevent their sales teams from a sinking morale:

  • Asking why. The word “why” can have an accusatory tone. The word often takes on a negative connotation and implies that you do not trust your employees’ judgment. Instead of opening themselves up to find the root cause of an issue or behavior, they might feel attacked. Use more tactful questions such as “What led to this decision?”
  • Taking credit. If you take credit for the hard work of your sales staff they are bound to feel less appreciated.
  • Withholding praise. Sales is a high-energy field that requires constant internal motivation to succeed. External forces also contribute to stoking the fire that fuels your team. Giving even minor praise will let your team know you are paying attention and sharing credit for the team’s work.
  • Losing control. Managers with high tempers put up automatic barriers between themselves and their employees.

In combination with a positive working environment, implementing a sales test can do wonders for your sales team.

Whether you are onboarding new recruits or looking to improve your existing team, it is important that each member of your sales team is tested to identify how they can best be used within the company and how to keep them productive in the long-run.