hiring sales representatives

What is a Sales Assessment Test?

Posted in: Sales Assessment

A sales assessment test is an instrument employers use to gauge how well a candidate can sell. Employers ask applicants to take assessments during the selection process. Top sales pre-hire tests have strong validity in predicting a candidate’s performance. We provide info on best practices for hiring top salespeople.

Why Do Companies Fail in Hiring Top Salespeople?

Hiring salespeople is a tricky thing. These folks are difficult to assess through normal interviewing techniques because they are:

  • Skilled at presenting themselves,
  • Good at finding common ground, and
  • Great at persuading interviewers to buy what they are selling –themselves

How often have you heard a sales manager say, “They were great in the interview, but 90 days after I hired them, I was wondering…what happened to the sales superstar I interviewed?”

The bottom line is that we suck at selecting top-producing salespeople, which is why we need to use pre-hiring assessments! That might be a harsh statement, but it’s true! Don’t believe me? Look at these mind-boggling stats…

  • Salesforce.com reports 57% of sales reps are expected to miss their quota in 2019.
  • A 2018 CSO Talent Study reports only 22.6% of Chief Sales Officers believe hiring salespeople is an organizational strength.
  • The CSO study also reports that only 16% of companies felt they had the sales talent needed to succeed.
  • The Objective Management Group reports that companies hire the wrong salesperson 77% of the time.

10 Reasons Why Companies Should Use a Pre-Hire Sales Assessment 

#1. You will improve the speed to hire. In a tight talent market, the top talent is off the market in 15 days!

#2. You will dramatically reduce time reading resumes and conducting interviews with salespeople who don’t fit or can’t hit quota. This helps in a weak market with many people responding to job openings.

#3. You will identify hidden information that won’t come out in the resume, interview, or reference checks.

#4. You will identify what candidates will accomplish since 78% of candidates’ resumes contain misleading statements.

#5. You will add objective, data-driven metrics to your hiring process and eliminate positive unconscious bias, especially if you are under pressure to fill some open positions.

#6. You will eliminate negative unconscious bias. (A Deloitte study notes that removing unconscious bias increased the hiring of top performers by 25-46 %)

#7. You will increase legal defensibility through objective and valid metrics.

#8. You will increase retention and reduce turnover due to determining a better fit.

#9. You will identify what training, development, and coaching salespeople will need.

#10. You will be a step ahead of your competitors because most firms do not use the right assessments or use them the right way.

Keep in mind that even though the right pre-hire assessment is a great tool, you will still make hiring mistakes, albeit, there will be fewer of them.

When Should You Use a Pre-Hire Sales Assessment?

Hiring managers should use a sales assessment before interviewing a candidate.

Many hiring managers rely on the gut-intuition to select sales candidates, resulting in a predictive validation of only 20%. Essentially, managers who hire salespeople based on gut instinct are wrong 80% of the time.

When managers make decisions based on just their gut feeling, they often ignore important factors. In staff selection, this means companies wind up hiring costly under-performing salespeople who flame out in 3-6 months.

It’s a brutally competitive environment for most companies. If your company does a better job of selecting sales staff, your sales team can crush the competition.

The First Steps in Selecting a Sales Assessment Test

The “correct” pre-employment assessment is the single best predictor of a sales candidate’s success. I have discovered no single assessment works for everyone.

Before you start to review specific sales assessments, you must:

First: Conduct a detailed job analysis to update the key functions and accountabilities of the sales position because that determines what you need to measure.

Second: Know the most important parts of the job, and be confident that you know what will help you determine if your sales hire is successful.

Personality and Behavioral Tests Don’t Predict Sales Performance

Make sure you use assessments specifically designed to predict sales performance.

Personality or behavioral assessments have a place in the hiring process. These tests help you determine the applicant’s social style and work style. These assessments will also give insight into how to manage, how to communicate, and culture fit. However, these tests will not predict a potential rep’s ability to hit quota.

For example, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a widely used personality assessment. The developers of MBTI state that they did not design this tool to use in hiring or to predict employee performance. Companies should use behavioral assessments such as the MBTI after they hire employees.

Intelligence tests are also a great tool; just be careful about picking the correct one. Some come with the legal risk associated with “adverse impact.”

What Sales Assessment is Best for Your Company?

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 candidate’s ability to hit quota by 71-92%.

We developed a Guide to provide a deep analysis of pre-hire sales assessments and tips on how to pick the best one for you. If you desire to build a high-performing sales team, it’s critically important to select the right assessment.

For more detail on the top assessments, request a summary of our Definitive Guide to the Best Sales Assessments for Hiring Quota-Busting Salespeople.

Contact us today if you would like more information.


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