How Our Comprehensive Sales Assessment Tests Will Help You Consistently Hire Salespeople That Perform
AVERAGE managers assume that
"each person can learn to be competent in almost anything."
GREAT managers assume that
If anyone can learn to be competent in anything, then anyone should be able to learn how to sell, right? This seems to be the position taken by most sales books, CDs, and training programs. The unspoken promise is that if someone invests the time, effort, and money required to learn the skills they teach, they will (eventually) succeed in sales.
Unfortunately, there are countless
examples of salespeople who fail
Think about the salespeople you know personally. How many of them are struggling to make their quotas? Why are they struggling?
- Is it the state of the
economy? (If other salespeople are making their numbers,
blaming the economy won’t earn much sympathy.)
- Is it because they don’t work hard enough?
- Is it because they don’t have enough product knowledge?
- Do they need to work harder
on their selling skills?
- Do they need more coaching from their manager?
What if the “great manager” point of view
What if everyone CANNOT become proficient in sales? What if success in sales requires a unique set of talents?
Research Finding #2
Herb Greenberg, Harold Weinstein and Patrick Sweeney report this very conclusion in their book, How to Hire and Develop Your Next Top Performer. After comparing the results of hundreds of thousands of assessments with actual sales performance measurements, they reached these startling conclusions:
“55% of the people earning their living in sales
should be doing something else”
“Another 20% to 25% have what it takes to sell,
Wow! These are some sobering statistics! They state straight out, in plain English, that more than half of all salespeople are NEVER going to make it in sales. Another quarter have some chance of accomplishing sales success, but only if they find the RIGHT job selling the RIGHT kind of products or services.
Why aren't these poor sales performers "weeded out" during the recruiting process?
A key reason why companies suffer from 80/20 sales performance is their hiring decisions are based entirely on SUBJECTIVE information. Consider the following:
- What are resumes? They are a job applicant's subjective description of his or her capabilities and experience, written for the sole purpose of convincing the reader to invite the applicant to an interview.
- What happens during an interview? Interviewees attempt to answer questions in a manner that makes the best impression. Meanwhile, interviewers form personal opinions about interviewees' qualifications.
According to Lou Adler, author of Hire With Your Head:
"More errors are made during the first 30 minutes of an interview than at any other time. Emotions, biases, perceptions, stereotypes, and first impressions are powerful human forces that profoundly affect individual judgment."
We're NOT suggesting that subjective information is useless
Subjective information is a valid and valuable component of any "people decision". We believe this so strongly that we provide a FREE special report that will help you improve the quality of the subjective information you gather during your recruiting process!
With that said, if decisions based solely on subjective information produce an undesirable result 80 percent of the time (remember the 80/20 rule?), doesn't it make sense to consider adding quality OBJECTIVE information to the mix?
How can you OBJECTIVELY determine which salespeople have the talents required to succeed in YOUR company's sales position(s)?
One change that makes a big difference in sales recruiting success is specialized sales assessment tests that capture specific, OBJECTIVE information about salespeople and sales job candidates.
We're NOT referring to personality, behavioral, or communication style assessments. These types of assessments can be useful for personal development. However, they don't gather enough information to accurately predict whether or not an individual can succeed in sales.
- Learn at an accelerated rate (due to the breadth and/or complexity of their product/service portfolio)
- Win the attention of decision makers and convince them to schedule "discovery" conversations
- Thoroughly qualify opportunities for their company's entire portfolio of products and services
- Explain how specific capabilities of specific products/services can solve specific prospect problems and concerns
- Write effective selling proposals
- Deliver targeted, effective demonstrations and presentations
- Manage effective cost justification and return on investment conversations
- Close sales (in the shortest possible time frame!)
- Manage ongoing customer relationships
- Maximize account penetration
What are the chances that narrowly focused assessments that take just 15 to 30 minutes to complete will be able to identify whether an individual has the talents required to succeed in ALL of these areas?
To accurately predict whether an individual will succeed in sales, an assessment test needs to extract information in the following THREE CRITICAL CATEGORIES:
- How rapidly does the individual learn new information? This talent is of particular importance if your company has a broad portfolio of products and services and you want your salespeople to sell the entire portfolio (as opposed to cherry-picking a few items and leaving the rest of the business for your competition).
- How precisely and effectively does the individual communicate, both verbally and in writing? When was the last time you read one of your salespeople's e-mails, proposals, or other written communications and it made you cringe? What kind of impression about your company do you think your salespeople's written communications are making in the marketplace?
- How strong is the individual's talent for asking insightful questions, picking out important pieces of information from the answers, and using this information to construct additional questions? This talent is critical for effective sales opportunity qualification, which in turn is crucial for maximizing your company's chances of winning opportunities while minimizing time and resource investments in "prospects" that can't or won't buy.
- How strong is the individual's talent for learning how to gather the information required to manage effective return on investment (ROI) conversations? Creating a context for price discussions (as opposed to discussing price "in a vacuum") is critical for increasing close ratios.
- How energetic is the individual? How easy will it be for them to consistently maintain the level of productive activity required to achieve their sales targets?
- How effective is the individual at convincing prospects and customers to "get off the dime" and make decisions?
- How sociable is the individual? Do they enjoy interacting with others? Do they build rapport with strangers quickly?
- Can the individual successfully direct his or her own activities, or does the individual require frequent input and direction from a manager to stay on track?
- How will the individual respond when things don't go their way? Will they start to whine and complain, or will they be able to "shake it off" and maintain a high level of productivity?
- How strong is the individual's desire to be liked? Will they be able to maintain a "win-win" focus, or will they give away the store?
- How competitive is the individual? How confident are they in their ability to compete successfully?
- How emotionally tough is the individual? How do they respond to rejection?
- How dogged and determined is the individual in pursuing opportunities and overcoming roadblocks that arise during the sales process?
- Will the individual follow through on all of their commitments, or will they sometimes "drop some balls?"
- Will the individual stay focused on the desired end result, or will they allow themselves to get bogged down in details and other distractions?
An individual can have every talent required to achieve top sales performance. However, if they don't ENJOY the activities involved in selling, it is unlikely they will perform very well for very long!
Does this scenario sound familiar? You hire a salesperson that looks and sounds great. They seem to have all of the talent in the world. They hit the ground running and generate impressive results during their first few months on the job. However, over time their performance starts to decline, and no one can figure out why. Far too often the reason is they don't LIKE selling.
When you have ALL of this information, you can predict these critical sales characteristics
- Is the individual a Hunter, a Farmer, or a Hybrid? Do they prefer to pursue new business, do they prefer to manage existing customer relationships, or are they capable of performing both functions effectively?
- Is the individual a Consultative salesperson, a Relationship salesperson, or something else? Selling style can make a huge impact on performance in specific sales positions.
- Is the individual Internally or Externally motivated? Internally motivated salespeople are capable of directing their own activities effectively. Externally motivated salespeople require frequent direction and support from their manager to stay productive.
- How effectively will they Prospect? How aggressively (and consistently) will they pursue new opportunities?
- How effectively will they Close Sales? How willing are they to ask for orders?
- How willing are they to comply with Process, Procedure, and Administrative requirements? This includes following a well-defined sales process, updating records in your company's client relationship management (CRM) system, and providing timely and accurate forecasts and sales opportunity pipeline updates.
- Will they be a good Team Member? Will they work cooperatively with their fellow sales team members, expert and support resources, and other departments?
Here is what one of our customers told us after working with our sales assessment tests:
Your assessments have certainly made an impact in our sales process from a hiring perspective. Since we started working with you, our monthly sales run rate has nearly doubled. I can't assign a specific percentage of that sales growth to our work together, but I know it has been an important factor.
During the internet bubble, everyone was winning. Anyone who was in sales back then has a resume that looks great. This makes it hard to flush out the people who can really do the services value sell. You have helped us find these people, and avoid others that we might have hired in the past who would have been mistakes.
Our company has worked with a lot of consultants in the past, and paid thousands of dollars in consulting fees. You are the only consultant who has really made a difference in our business.
I'm looking forward to expanding our use of assessments beyond sales, marketing and recruiting, and into the technical and management aspects of our business.
Here is another customer's feedback:
I have gone against the tests on occasion and hired someone based upon a "gut feeling", but none of those hires have worked out. It is clear that my gut instinct (from 20 years of experience) is not as accurate as your tests! It's not a surprise your tests have now become the de facto standard for all of our sales offices.
Thank you for your help!
What makes these sales assessment tests so effective are the customized benchmarks we develop for your company's sales position(s). Here’s how it works:
- We assess between 3 and 12 top-performing salespeople.
- Sophisticated software assigns a score of between 1 and 10 to each talent that is measured by the sales assessment tests.
- The sales assessment test scores are merged together for the top performers. This produces a “desirable score range” (usually three to four numbers wide) for each talent.
- We discuss the top performer score ranges and determine whether any of them should be "tweaked." (Just because we are talking about your top performers doesn't mean you want to replicate every one of their behaviors.)
- The decisions reached during the benchmark discussion produce a preliminary custom benchmark.
- Over time we add data from new top performers and continue to fine tune the custom benchmark.
Once a preliminary custom benchmark has been developed, other individuals can be assessed and their scores compared against the benchmark. If an individual’s scores are a close match to the benchmark, their talents are similar to those of the top sales performers whose scores were used to create the benchmark. If these talents are developed through training and experience, these individuals are much more likely to become top sales performers than people whose sales assessment test scores are NOT a close match to the benchmark.
You don't have several top performing salespeople? That's OK!
We have assessed thousands of salespeople and compiled the results into several composite top sales performer benchmarks. While these benchmarks will not be as accurate as custom benchmarks that have been constructed using your own company's top sales performer assessment test results, they provide a very effective starting point.
How can these sales assessment tests help your existing salespeople who are struggling?
They can help in two specific ways. First, they can help you determine which of these salespeople SHOULD be in sales. If an individual doesn't have the talents required for success in your particular sales job, there may be other roles in your company where their talents and interests can be applied to mutual benefit. If there aren't any such positions available, the kindest thing you can do is let them go.
How can firing someone be kind? Because it is NO fun to struggle in a job that is a poor fit. If you share the sales assessment test results with these individuals, they can gain insights into their strongest talents and interests. The sooner they can move into roles that are compatible with their talents and interests, the sooner they will reap the benefits of improved productivity, motivation, and job satisfaction.
The second way our sales assessment tests can help struggling salespeople is by identifying each individual's unique training needs. If you identify a salesperson's unique training needs, and you supply targeted training and coaching to address these needs, you can dramatically improve his or her performance in a relatively short period of time.
Consider the following (hypothetical) example:
The answer is little or none. Why? Because Beth and Bill have completely different training needs that will NOT be addressed by basic sales skills training.
Beth would benefit the most from attending an assertiveness training class. She also needs coaching to help her recognize that failing to ask for orders denies her customers valuable solutions to costly business problems.
Bill needs to learn to not take rejection personally. He could also benefit from training that teaches positive thinking and other motivational techniques.
Unfortunately, unless each salesperson's unique training needs are identified, and targeted training is supplied to address each individual's specific needs, there isn't much reason to expect their sales performance to improve.
There are two pricing models: quantity based and unlimited use. Quantity-based pricing begins at $250 per person assessed and declines as quantities increase. If you are likely to assess more than 20 people per year, unlimited use pricing (which begins at $400 per month and requires a one-year commitment) is usually the better choice.
What you receive for your investment is:
- Two comprehensive, online sales assessment tests that take a total of approximately one hour and fifteen minutes to complete
- Two detailed assessment reports that each include a one-page summary graph that compares the individual's scores to top sales performer benchmarks
- A 3 to 5 page summary of findings that we prepare after reviewing an individual's assessment results; this summary is sent within 24 hours of completion of the second assessment
- As much time as you care to spend on the telephone discussing completed assessment results
What's the return on investment (ROI)?
How significant is the difference in performance between your company's top sales performers, middle performers, and bottom performers? For many of our clients the difference in performance between top sales performers and middle performers is (at minimum) hundreds of thousands of dollars per year PER PERSON. The difference in performance between top sales performers and bottom performers can be more than $1 million per year PER PERSON.
When you compare these differences in production to the cost of a sales assessment test bundle, it becomes clear that sales assessment tests provide an INEXPENSIVE solution to a very expensive problem. Factor in the expense reduction from reducing turnover, and your sales assessment test ROI becomes even more compelling!
ROI is critically important. That's why we have a dedicated an entire page on our website to the topic. Click the following link if you would like to learn more about how to calculate the return on investment (ROI) for sales assessment tests.
How does the sales assessment testing process work?
Thanks to technology, it is really easy for us to work together, regardless of where in North America your company is located. (Please note that we are authorized to sell sales assessment tests in the United States and Canada ONLY. If you reside outside of North America, we can't supply these sales assessment tests to you. However, if you contact us we will be happy to point you to someone that can help you.)
Here is an outline of the sales assessment process:
- Two sales assessment tests are scheduled for each participant on a dedicated assessment website.
- Sales assessment test participants receive an e-mail that contains a website link and a unique username and password.
- Participants complete their two sales assessment tests online.
- Upon completion, the sales assessment tests are scored instantaneously.
- Two comprehensive sales assessment test reports are automatically sent via e-mail to authorized parties. These reports highlight whether and by how much each participant's scores differ from the score ranges for top sales performers and predict the participant's performance and behaviors.
- MySalesTest.com personnel review each participant's sales assessment test results and prepare a 3-5 page summary of findings. These summaries are sent to you via e-mail within 24 hours of an assessment participant's completion of both of their assigned assessment tests. For job candidates we suggest questions for you to ask during an interview. Plus we rate the candidate as a STRONG candidate, a POOR candidate, or a MAYBE. ("Maybe's" must address specific issues to your satisfaction in order to warrant further consideration.) For existing sales employees we suggest questions that will help you get to the root of performance problems.
- We are always happy to schedule a telephone appointment to discuss sales assessment test results for any participant at no extra charge. This discussion usually includes a review of the participant's strengths and weaknesses, suggested questions to ask during an interview, and training and coaching suggestions.
What's the next step?
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