Future Sales Leaders Will Use Assessments to Hire Salespeople

BY Tim Londergan
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Sales leadership is evolving, thanks to an ongoing shift toward e‑commerce and consultative sales strategies. Additionally, the benefits of data analytics, machine learning and other technology contribute to the disruption of the entire sales sector. “In the future, sales leaders will need a variety of skills, including the ability to learn quickly, make the most out of emerging technology and manage people effectively while building diverse teams,” according to a group of chief sales officers interviewed in this article for spencerstuart​.com. As a result, an aspect of effective team building will require managers to use assessments to hire salespeople.

Use assessments to hire salespeople for a competitive edge

Today’s sales leaders face greater challenges that require them to tap a broader portfolio of skills than their predecessors possessed. For example, they must lead cultural change in a highly adaptable sales organization. To be sure, much of this change begins with recruiting and hiring a team of collaborative and diverse members who can accelerate the growth of the company. A brilliant tactic toward this end is to use assessments to hire salespeople.

Personality traits that win

Understanding the personality traits of your current sales staff is a solid starting point. Once accomplished, you must recruit candidates whose traits will complement and enhance the team. You can reveal these traits through pre-​hire sales assessments. Fortunately, identifying top salespeople is the focus of a recent study by author Steve W. Martin. “The Persona of Top Salespeople” presents an overview of the research highlighting attributes of top sales professionals who achieved over 125% of their previous year’s assigned quotas.

The study was designed to reveal the attitudes of successful sales professionals and highlights six key areas:

1) Focus and Motivation

2) Career Orientation

3) Personal Attributes

4) Customer Interaction Strategy

5) Attitude

6) Self-​Perception

It is common knowledge that the foundation of all sales is a relationship between people. Interestingly, 42% of these top sellers see themselves as likeable and able to make their customers feel comfortable. The next group represented 32% of the sample. Not surprisingly, they perceive themselves as very dependable and good at prioritizing their time. Moreover, this group has a strong sense of duty and conscientiously pursues their job in a highly responsible manner. Finally, 26% believe that their knowledge is their most powerful attribute. Not only are they the top closers, but their command of language and knowledge of the sales cycle place them at the top of the study’s sales quota attainment.

A successful sales personality

This article, “Born to Sell: What Makes a Successful Sales Personality?” reviews the top traits of sales representatives and lists the qualities that top sellers possess. Importantly, the editorial staff for business​.com urge leaders to use assessments to hire salespeople to surpass their competition. They reason that all things being equal, assessment results can highlight the differences between a mediocre employee and one who becomes an elite sales professional. The authors maintain that personality is the qualifier.

Indeed, the conversation between salespeople and buyers has changed over time to become a more collaborative, data-​driven and solutions-​oriented approach. Therefore, the top traits of a sales representative must evolve to reflect this new reality. According to the authors, below are some of the key traits of successful salespeople. This information mirrors the findings of our own research:

  • Trust and transparency
  • Friendliness
  • Achievement
  • High emotional intelligence
  • Resilient and optimistic

Hiring your future team members

When sales managers use assessments to hire salespeople, they give themselves insight to these characteristics and their dominance in the job candidate’s personality. Therefore, much of the guesswork inherent in the hiring process is eliminated.

Sales managers inventing their future teams must be prepared to devote a significant amount of their time building and maintaining diverse and collaborative teams. Just as important, they must develop a strong pipeline that feeds the company’s talent needs, including their own successors.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash