Obviously we are advocates of the combination of a thorough sales assessment test followed by a rigorous in-person behavioral interview for maximum results for new hires.
Together, they yield high predictability for sales success within your company.
But what about current employees? If we want all our new hires to test high in Drive, should we not hold the same standard for current salespeople?
The answer to that question is a resounding YES.
The obvious benefits of a sales assessment are that it measures employees as a function of performance. To some managers, this might mean that it loses its viability as a tool after hiring because they should already know how their employees perform.
A well-developed assessment will impart valuable wisdom beyond what daily observation can provide. To put it simply, it will identify employees’ strengths and weaknesses for better management and direction.
What You Learn When You Assess Current Salespeople
Think of a sales assessment test as a guide to several aspects of your employees.
Testing can provide training insights.
According to our research and decades of collective experience, too much training can actually harm employee development. Personality tests can act as a guide for what type of training you need to pursue for each person. After all, there is no “one size fits all” curriculum for employees, especially salespeople.
Consider this example: Helen is a top-notch producer at her company. She needs absolutely no help closing a sale. However, Helen delivers abysmal sales presentations to management. So when her manager stuck her in a closing seminar that offers two days of tips and closing workshops, she lost two days’ worth of sales and developed a strong distaste for sales training.
Two months later Helen’s manager approaches her about a class about public speaking and effectively using PowerPoint. Instead of being excited about sharpening her skills, Helen walks in with a bad attitude, thinking about all the clients’ calls she will be missing. Not only does she soak up less valuable material than she would have otherwise, but Helen has lost faith in her manager’s ability to accurately assess her needs. Even worse, the training’s ROI plummets, costing the company money.
Testing makes it easier to assemble project dream teams.
Projects and complex sales strategies are most often bogged down by weaknesses in the people assigned to the work. Expanding a territory with three of your top closers may seem all fine and good, until you learn the hard way that every one of them lacks the organizational skills necessary to keep all the work in order. Everyone has weaknesses. That is why it is important to put together teams of people that complement each other’s abilities, not fill out the one trait you think is most important.
Testing makes hiring new candidates easier.
Think of your workplace as a massive, endless project. You need a balanced team that handles the work required regardless of the market and territory obstacles. Some teamwork issues might raise head-scratching questions, but a sales assessment test will provide a better composite of those strengths and weaknesses. That way, when you are recruiting new sales candidates, you can round out the weaknesses for smoother sales operations.
Testing may give greater insight into an employee’s goals.
Some employees are introverted and quiet about their career intentions. Other employees may expect you to intuit their goals and provide adequate upward mobility in the direction they desire without consulting you first. These goals may seem obvious to them but could be hidden from you. You will be surprised at the kind of details you learn from your employees by getting under the hood, so to speak.
If you are able to properly facilitate a well-designed sales test, you will actually save your company money.
It is simple economics:
When a company manufactures a product, they are trying to eliminate wasted product because it does not sell. In order to produce the correct amount of product, first they review the market for the product need and ability to sell. If they over-saturate the market they will invariably wind up charging less. If they produce a product they cannot sell, the product is wasted.
The same holds true for you. If you pile on training or place employees on bogus witch hunts that are ill-suited to their skills, you will be wasting their time, your money and likely developing a rift between you and your sales team. Their confidence in your ability to lead will drop.
Knowing When to Use a Sales Assessment on Your Team (and When Not)
Testing your current salespeople is a great practice to ensure you have a solid team in place.
When administering the test, it is incredibly vital that you are transparent about your intentions.
Do not make the test a big mystery, otherwise employees might assume you are entering them into a hire/fire scenario, and they will very likely try to skew their results.
Few tests can get underneath to uncover employees’ hidden cores, but a well-developed test will tell you how Driven a sales candidate is, what factors motivate them and will prevent pretenders from faking or tampering with the results.
It is important to be mindful of how to use the test results and be careful that those results do not lead your decisions astray.
We advise companies to avoid using the test results as an assessment to see whether or not to keep employees. Once an employee has been on your staff for an extended period of time, they have developed real world production data and patterns which should be the real guide to retention or termination.
Sales managers should make sure they have a solid history of production, reviews and in the case of under-achievers, written warnings when deciding upon an employee’s future with the firm.
Our advice: use the test as a kind of scientific guide to training development and team cohesion, but do keep it in perspective as part of a larger HR system of discussion and review. When it comes to employment decisions, always use the advice provided by your HR department.