Evaluating a Sales Assessment Vendor
What Assessment Vendors Aren’t Telling You
You must be careful when looking for an assessment. You need to look at the original research to determine the assessment measures, on what population (sales or non-sales) did the developer test it, and what type of validation the developer used.
According to the US Department of Labor’s Publication, Testing and Assessment – An Employer’s Guide to Good Practices, the best way to do this is to look at their study, called the “technical manual.”
When looking at the “technical manual,” the most important things to look for are:
- Did the developer design specifically for sales?*
- Does the assessment use questions in a sales context?
- Did the developer test it on a sales population, and how big was that population?*
- Does it have “predictive validity?”
- Did the developer use an independent third party to confirm predictive validation?
*We found one test developer that used truck drivers as a test population to validate its sales assessment. This is just a useless reference population. If you don’t get the tech manual, you’ll never know the truth behind the assessments’ development.
Establishing the Criteria for Your Ideal Sales Candidate Assessment
Knowing the questions to ask assessment companies helps you pick the right pre-hiring sales assessment for your situation. Here is a list of questions to identify what I consider “must-haves.”
- The assessment is a sales-specific multi-measurement test measuring a salesperson’s ability to hit quota.
- The vendor designed the assessment to measure salespeople (in sales situations), and it asks questions in a sales context, not a social context.
- The vendor validated the test on a sizeable sales population with the help of an independent third party.
- You can get a copy of the test’s “technical manual,” which contains a “predictive validation” study.
- The assessment is customizable to your needs (e.g., your industry, company, and the job.)
- You can use the assessment to benchmark your top/bottom sales performers and use this data to assess candidates.
The Ultimate Question – Can This Salesperson Hit Quota?
As a business owner, sales consultant, and interim Sales VP, I am responsible for the salespeople I hire. My success lives or dies with their ability to hit or exceed quota. Some people ask, “Can this sales candidate do the job?”
I think 50% of the time the “can they do the job” question allows mediocre, underperforming salespeople in the door. They can get by and do OK in the position, but I want salespeople who can thrive! I prefer to ask, “Can this person hit or exceed quota?” After all, why are you hiring a salesperson in the first place?
I wish I could tell you there is one magic sales assessment that does everything for everybody… but I can’t because it doesn’t exist.
The right assessment for you will boil down to:
- What you are trying to measure and determine about a sales candidate before you hire him or her, and
- How well can the assessment help you tell the difference between a top producer and an average (or below average producer) even before the first interview?
The good news is, once you determine what you need to measure you can use a multi-measurement pre-hire sales assessment to increase your ability to predict a sales candidate’s ability to hit quota by 71-92%.
We’ve carefully reviewed 50+ pre-hiring assessments, which the assessment companies claimed were sales-specific.
To get a copy of our full guide, which includes a list of our rejected and recommended assessments, please call 703-822-8178 or email SalesTest@BigSwiftKick.com to schedule an appointment with one of our assessment consultants.
If you need more info on these tests, check out our post: What is a sales assessment?