As a sales leader, you naturally want the best possible candidates to be a part of your sales force. This requires recruiting and hiring the best talent with strong sales competencies from the start. While companies have the best intentions when hiring salespeople, things don’t always pan out. Hiring managers and sales leaders often rely solely on resumes, screening calls and interviews to select sales candidates. Many candidates advance through who may not meet the company’s criteria or thrive in its sales environment. Months later, after sales goals aren’t met or salespeople leave, sales managers realize they made a bad hire.
How can we streamline the sales hiring process and select strong candidates? Instead of hiring on a hunch or succumbing to charismatic personalities that ace the interview (salespeople are good at this!), make informed hiring decisions that take objective data into account along with the subjective information you gather through the interview process.
An assessment specifically designed to screen for the skills, traits and competencies aligned with your sales environment helps you weed out candidates who don’t quite cut it and select those who will likely ramp up business and become top sellers.
Are Your Sales Candidates Worthy of an Interview?
Consider this common scenario when hiring sales talent: You review several resumes and find a potential candidate that seems to have the experience and skills you seek. You move forward with an interview. You like this person, they interview well, and you hire them. This person is a hard worker, positive, easy to work with, and maybe they miss their quota by only so much.
The perceived potential to be a decent salesperson combined with the reality of missing quota does not help your company. Repeat this a few times over and the whole team underperforms before long. You’re then in a situation where part of your sales team isn’t meeting sales goals. The salesperson with the most perceived potential is the candidate many managers choose to hire, but this selection process isn’t always effective.
Before you even talk to potential candidates, it would be extremely valuable to give them an assessment that tells you whether to interview them. Are they worthy of an interview? Are they aligned with your sales team and for the role you’re hiring? Charismatic energy in interviews can cloud hiring managers’ judgement, particularly when hiring salespeople. Pre-qualifying candidates with an objective assessment can help you filter through the noise.
An objective hiring assessment tailored for your company’s sales environment will help address these common problems:
Turnover & Sales Longevity
Think about how much it costs to hire or replace someone. Consider the ramp up time required for a salesperson to break even. It usually takes months to truly gauge the ROI on the new salesperson. Better selection increases your chances of hiring the candidate that will perform and stay with your company, which maximizes your ROI. The right sales hiring assessment will give sales leaders an idea of a candidate’s projected longevity with your company.
Sales managers who regularly recruit spend a staggering amount of time reviewing resumes and interviewing. An assessment configured with the hiring criteria specific to your company weeds out unqualified candidates. When you know undoubtedly what candidates come highly recommended for your team, you’re able to spend less time on rounds of interviews and spend it exclusively with higher quality candidates. Additionally, when you have a highly qualified candidate you can conduct a more informed interview that brings value to the hiring process.
Understand the Areas to Coach Salespeople
Assessing where candidates currently exist in their sales trajectory helps you identify opportunities to coach and develop them. Beyond that, when it comes time to do so, a sales assessment guides the sales manager on how best to motivate a candidate.
Choosing the Right Assessment
Sales managers often hire salespeople who are great at selling themselves, but not necessarily your products and services.
There are several widely used hiring assessments in the marketplace. Many common prescreening tests and assessments evaluate candidates on personality and behaviors. While certain personality types tend to succeed more often in sales, personality only tells part of the story. Beyond that, sometimes the best salespeople don’t exhibit the personality traits commonly associated with sales success.
A critical part of the story that’s missed in personality or behavioral assessments is the will to sell. An assessment that evaluates a candidate’s drive and ability to sell your product will offer more value than a personality-based test. For this reason, we offer a sales hiring assessment that helps companies identify strong sales candidates by measuring their will to sell and evaluating them across 21 core competences.
Build the Assessment into Your Hiring Process
Integrating a hiring assessment into your talent selection process is something that must be done consistently and carefully. Inconsistent use of a hiring assessment can result in poor candidate selection. Sales managers are often quick to hire and slower to fire salespeople who don’t regularly meet sales goals. It’s understandable why this happens when you factor in the cost to hire and the time it takes to find the right talent.
We recommend incorporating the assessment relatively early in the process. The hiring manager selects candidates of interest and administers the assessment. The results provide decision-makers with a profile of the candidate and suggest whether to move forward with an interview. For candidates who you move forward to the interview stage, the results should guide the interview, allowing you to ask specific questions that may reveal potential performance concerns. Why waste time asking canned questions in areas where a particular candidate is obviously strong?
For candidates who scored poorly on the assessment or were revealed to not be aligned to your specific sales situations, you’ve just saved time by not interviewing. Out of 20 individuals who take the assessment, you may have five recommended sales candidates.
You have already weeded out 75 percent of candidates you didn’t have to move forward with interviewing. You can literally see if a candidate is “worthy of consideration” from the assessment results. This takes the guesswork out of hiring and gives you confidence that the candidates you do consider have a high likelihood of succeeding and becoming strong producers for your company.
Know Who Has What It Takes to Be Successful in Sales
Traditional sales hiring processes waste time interviewing too many unqualified candidates. Worse yet, managers struggle to learn everything they need to know from resumes and interviews alone. After all, salespeople are pretty good at selling themselves.
In contrast, when you use a hiring assessment developed to pinpoint individuals with strong sales DNA, you spend valuable time with candidates who will reliably contribute to your company’s revenue growth. With a proven, well-rounded assessment, you can choose candidates what will predictably succeed in selling for your company.
Are you interested in learning how you can incorporate a proven, objective sales hiring assessment into your recruiting process? We’re here to help.
Explore our TalentGPS™ solution.
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