Compromises in Sales Candidate Assessments Compromise Revenue


Share on LinkedIn

When I first began to evangelize the importance of sales force evaluations and sales candidate assessments in the early 90’s, no other assessment company was focused on the sales force or developing a sales specific (built for rather than modified for the sales force) assessment. Twenty-two years later, my message has been so well received that it has spawned a sales assessment industry. Most of the so called sales assessments are from companies and individuals that have modified or created derivitive works based on existing assessments to make them appear to be sales specific.

Experience has demonstrated that there are three areas where companies tend to compromise with sales candidate assessments and those compromises always lead to revenue shortages:

1. Choosing Which Assessment– Other than the sales specific assessments developed by Objective Management Group (OMG), assessments generally fall into the categories of Personality Tests (like Caliper), Behavorial Styles Assessments (like DISC) or Sales Aptitude Tests. Personality Tests and Behavioral Styles assessments are not predictive of sales performance and as much as their marketers would suggest otherwise, the only things that are sales specific are their marketing materials and the names of some of their findings. They report on what they measure and the measure what they collect – answers to questions that are asked in a social context rather than sales context. Sales Aptitude tests measure only what an individual knows about transactional (not consultative) selling – but not how they are likely to perform. The Compromise takes place if a company chooses an assessment for one of the following 5 reasons:

  • Familiarity – a company has successfully used a personality test or behavioral styles assessment to better understand their employees. While it seems to make sense to expand its use to sales selection, these assessments do not accurately predict performance or success in a sales role.
  • Faulty Assumptions – an Executive receives a referral from someone who has used personality or behavioral styles assessments and recommends them – incorrectly assuming that they would be equally effective for sales selection.
  • Misled – a company chooses a sales aptitude assessment because the name implies fit and alignment when in reality, all it does is measure interest, knowledge and awareness.
  • Price – an assessment may cost less but the savings on the assessment itself are dwarfed by the cost of a hiring mistake.
  • Comfort – an Executive may be more familiar with a particular assessment but knowing the language, buzz words or reporting format of an assessment does not magically make that assessment more accurate and predictive.

2. When the Assessment is Used – Assuming that you have selected the best assessment for sales selection (OMG’s highly accurate and predictive Sales Candidate Assessment), it must be used at an optimal point in the sales recruiting/interviewing/hiring process – the first step. When a resumes arrives, candidates should recieve a reply with instructions to take the assessment. The completed assessment quickly eliminates those candidates whose sales capabilities don’t meet the customized requirements for the role – including criteria based on the difficulty of the sale, length of the sales cycle, title of the decision maker, price point, competition, locale, management supervision, average sale price and more. The Compromise takes place when a company doesn’t wish to purchase a license for unlimited use and chooses pay per use instead. Under pay per use, the company won’t assess every candidate, and they waste tremendous amounts of valuable time on unnecessary interviews and misguided inclusion. This nearly always results in the wrong candidates advancing through to the interview, the wrong candidates being chosen to take an assessment, and findings of “not recommended” being the rule rather than the exception.

3. How You Use the Assessment – Assuming that you are assessing everyone in the first step with the best sales specific assessment available, how you use it is important too. Your assessment is configured to recommend only those candidates who will succeed in the role, as described above. The proper way to use the assessment is to speak with only the candidates that are recommended and conduct a short phone interview to assure that they sound great and meet the required experience. Only the best of those you interview by phone should receive an interview. The Compromise takes place when an executive chooses to do one or more of the following 6 bad things:

  • interview even though a candidate was not recommended;
  • automatically hire because the candidate was recommended;
  • interview prior to the assessment, leading to the executive falling in love with a candidate who, after being assessed at a later date, will usually not be recommend;
  • use the assessment only as a data point, ignoring the recommendation;
  • lowering the standards and criteria for the assessment to allow more candidates to be recommended;
  • make exceptions.

Obviously, there is more to the successful use of a Sales Candidate Assessment than the selection of the assessment and the selection of the candidates. Many companies get it wrong at every step. The companies that get it right get very consistent results, knowing that by following the process and not making exceptions they always get top notch salespeople, leading to increases in revenue.

Want to learn more? I’ll be discussing What’s Preventing Your Sales Force From Over Achieving in a SMMConnect Webinar on Wednesday, September 26, at 1 PM ET. Learn More here.

You can try OMG’s Sales Candidate Assessments with a 72-hour Free Trial.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here