Why You Need More Than a Sales Acumen Assessment to Make A Great Hire

BY C. Lee Smith
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Are you ready to hire your new sales rep? You’ll need more than a sales acumen assessment to make a great hire. You should also be prepared to compete in a very tight labor market. 

The Labor Market

ADP reports that small and medium-​sized businesses increased their payrolls by 235,000 in April. And while hiring is picking up, only 61.7% of the adult population participates in the labor force. That is 1.6% lower than it was in February 2020.

Federal data shows that 12.3 million U.S. adults were employed in sales and related occupations in April 2020. By April 2021, that number had increased to 13.9 million people. The current unemployment rate for sales professionals is 6.3%. In April 2020, that number was 17.1%.

These numbers may drive you to want to hire the first qualified person who applies for your open position. We all remember how competitive the job market was before the pandemic started. Economists are predicting boom times for the next year or two as consumers seek to make up for the time and opportunity they lost. This exuberance bodes well for economic growth but will likely tighten the job market.

Benefits of a Sales Acumen Assessment

Don't panic about the labor market. Take your time to hire the right person. Sales managers are learning that they can use data to help them predict which candidates are likely to do well in their sales organization. For example, 59% of sales managers have told us that they use a sales skills assessment to figure out whether the candidate who boasts about high closing rates really has the chops to follow through.

Success in an organization requires more than possessing top notch sales skills. Your new hire must be able to get along with you as their manager and with their co-​workers. It’s also important to understand what drives your sales rep. Using a sales intelligence platform that’s based on multiple psychometric assessments will give you greater insight into your candidate. For example, a sales acumen assessment may show that your candidate struggles during the negotiation process. You suspect that you might be able to help them. How will you know for sure? A deep dive into psychometric assessment results can reveal whether your candidate is likely to accept any coaching from you.

Beyond the Sales Acumen Assessment

If you’re trying to decide between two candidates who possess nearly identical sales skills, you may be able to have a greater impact on the company’s bottom line by hiring the individual who is more coachable. This is the person who will listen to your suggestions, try them and eventually change their behavior as they become a more polished sales professional.

Psychometric results can also help you communicate effectively with your sales rep. Communication tips, such as those generated in TeamTrait™, link directly to the rep’s personal preferences, behaviors and motivations. If your rep tends to melt down under stress and is generally unable to meet deadlines, be mindful of how you behave in a meeting about those deadlines. The psychometric results may suggest that you refrain from complaining about how overworked you are and instead listen with the intent to understand your rep’s problem.

And if your own psychometric results suggest that you need to work harder at monitoring others, keep that detail in mind as you help your team members meet their goals. You may also notice that several team members are consistently unable to meet the goals and deadlines you’ve set. Before you decide your team members are slacking, study your personal assessment results. If those results show that you’re having trouble setting realistic goals for your reps, sign up for additional sales management training.

Make a Great Sales Hire

Sales acumen and psychometric tests can help you hire the right person for your department, and they can also point the way for how to effectively manage each team member and your interaction with them.