What is the ideal sales assessment tool to use when recruiting sales people? Part 1
It has become even more important with products losing their competitive edge and sales success becoming hinged squarely around the capabilities and performance inputs and outputs of sales people.
I have been using psychometric assessments as part of my work for more than 20 years now. In my business alone we have assessed more than 70,000 people in sales, sales management and leadership roles, using a variety of high quality assessment tools for both selection and development purposes. The tools we use are designed to measure Cognitive Abilities, Personality (ie. sales, leadership and everyday styles), Motives and Values, Call Reluctance and Coping and Derailing Behaviours.
We favour well researched, well built, validated assessments constructed by professional psychometricians because, like diagnostic tools used in medicine and other scientific applications, good assessments are calibrated to measure specific aspects of self.
However, like most instruments they are not perfect. We are always looking at what’s happening in the world of assessments and we can report that there are thousands of assessments promising all sorts of things. However, we find that many of them are junk and nothing better than a Cleo quiz, which adds nothing to your selection process.
All this research has also revealed that the perfect sales assessment tool does not exist. Trying to measure all the things we want to know about sales people and leaders with one assessment is unrealistic and virtually impossible. However, what we do know is that the latest research into modern sales assessments is showing subtle difference between:
- Influence and Negotiation
- Impact and Credibility
- Initiation and Social Leverage
- Resilience and Self Belief
We are now seeing more purpose built sales assessment tools that are designed to measures key qualities such as:
- Creating Compelling Relationships – measuring the preferences the individual has when working with clients and developing relationships.
- Perceptive Reasoning – measuring how the individual processes information and makes judgments relating to client issues and solutions.
- Channelled Energy – measuring the motivators and levers which drive the individual to succeed.
- Contact Initiation – measuring the emotional response to prospecting and the amount of initiative, energy and drive devoted to proactive prospecting as well as the amount of energy spent in coping with inhibiting influences such as fear.
Effectively predicting sales success is critical to any business’ success and using well designed, rigorous psychometric assessments as part of a sales selection process can really boost our chances of finding and retaining the right sales people for our business. However, many people look to psychometric assessments as the panacea, the quick fix, the one source of information that will give them the answer to the question, ‘How can I tell if this person will sell and make me lots of money?’ This too is a mistake.
Therefore, to get the most value out of psychometric assessments when applied to your sales selection process you might like to consider these important points:
1. Use as part of a selection process: Psychometric assessments should be used in concert with other validated selection tools such as structured behavioural interviews, competency based simulation exercises and structured reference checks, where findings can be cross referenced against core criteria that have been established as relevant to the job and culture in question.