Why Assessment of Salespeople Is the New Normal

BY Kathy Crosett
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The COVID-​19 pandemic helped to move us to a new understanding of workplaces. Technology made it possible for many professionals to work from remote locations. The next logical step in this process is to hire employees who will always work remote, and to get the best outcome in this process, employers should understand that assessment of salespeople is the new normal.

Assessment of Salespeople

In the old-​school hiring process, employers relied on advertising and their networks to attract candidates, and those tactics remain part of today’s hiring tactics. Employers also based their hiring decisions on recommendations and in-​person interviews. Those two factors can be fraught with flaws. What if the hiring manager tends to make job offers to candidates based on their physical attributes? We all know that recommendations from unknown individuals can sometimes be sketchy. And then there’s the famous salesperson performance that takes place during an interview. Many times, the candidates show you only what they want you to see. Before you know it, you’ve hired an employee who may not be qualified or who is unable to get along with their co-​workers. The missing element in the old-​school hiring process was an impartial assessment of salespeople.

The Power of Assessments

Using a pre-​hire assessment of salespeople allows you to see exactly who the candidate is and where they excel. A well-​designed assessment reveals exactly how well your candidate can handle core sales responsibilities such as discovery and negotiating. But the critical components to making a good hire go beyond sales skills. You need to find a person who gets along with the other reps in your department and knows how to sell your product to your target customers.

It's easy to grow discouraged when recruiting in today’s job market. You may be up against large employers who can promise applicants cushy deals like free meals in the company cafeteria and stock options. You won’t always be able to land your top choice. But you can make an excellent hire by considering key characteristics about your other solid candidates.

The Importance of Soft Skills

Finding quality candidates for open sales positions sometimes means thinking outside the box. Very few colleges offer a study course that allows students to major in sales. Very often, young professionals default their year into the profession. Assessments can help you identify individuals who will do well in the position, especially those who possess an abundance of the right soft skills such as empathy, listening and creativity. A sales rep who can creatively develop a proposal for a prospect with a particularly challenging problem may close a sale faster than their colleagues.

Measuring Coachability

The most critical quality to consider when evaluating these candidates is coachability. What should you do about a candidate who has some of the right stuff? You see the potential. But ask yourself: Will they be able to learn? That question is answered through their coachability score on their assessments. Employees who are willing to listen to your advice and then change their behavior may make the best hires during this challenging employment market. Researchers point out that, “..coachees’ willingness and ability to seek, receive, act on, and change behavior based on feedback provided during coaching interactions (i.e., their coachability) remains a critical, yet understudied factor in the coaching equation.” While researchers may not be putting enough resources into the importance of coaching ability, you can certainly make good decisions with the information you have.

If you have not started using the assessment of salespeople as one of the key tools in your hiring process, it’s time to start. The federal government is now using assessments to measure an applicant’s skills instead of their educational credentials as they seek to fill open positions. All too often, federal recruiters have found that candidates with any college degree have been filling positions that don’t match their training. On the other hand, candidates with the right skills, but no college degree, were being overlooked.

 Don’t lose out on the best candidates for your open sales positions. Start using assessments to change your outcomes.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels.