Why Companies That Use a Sales Assessment Have Reps That Are 24% More Likely to Exceed Performance Goals

When it comes to sales candidates, what you see isn’t always what you get. One study found that nearly four out of five sales resumes are misleading, and up to 46% contain straight-up lies! This isn’t to say all sales candidates are deliberately trying to be deceptive. But the fact of the matter is that you simply can’t take everything at face value. That’s where a sales assessment comes in.

Though not a magic bullet, there’s a solid body of evidence that shows effectively using a sales assessment can have a dramatic impact on recruiting, with companies that use it having a noticeable advantage over those that don’t. Allow me to explain.

Some Eye-Opening Stats

Most sales recruiters acknowledge that sales assessments have some type of impact on recruiting. But many don’t realize the extent of the impact. So let’s quantify.

One of the most telling studies comes from Aberdeen Group, which found “organizations that use pre-hire assessments are 24% more likely to have employees who exceed performance goals.” That alone I found to be highly impressive and, right off the bat, it shows the correlation between evaluating the skills a potential candidate claims and making smart hiring decisions.

But that’s not all.

Additional research found that “hiring managers who utilize pre-employment assessments report 36% more satisfaction with their final decision than those who don’t.”

So not only are salespeople who are hired after completing a sales assessment far more likely to thrive, hiring managers are far more likely to be satisfied with their decision.

Why is a Sales Assessment So Beneficial?

Again, a sales assessment isn’t a cure-all, and there’s no guarantee that by using one you’ll find the perfect salesperson 100% of the time. But there’s no denying that it can be an immensely helpful tool. I think Aberdeen Group summarizes it well with this quote.

“While this technology might not predict every facet of an employee’s tenure with a company, it certainly is an improvement over making hiring decisions based on interviews, references, resumes, and/or gut feel — together or separately.” By objectively evaluating a sales candidate’s knowledge and skills, you can approach recruiting much more confidently than in the past. And the odds of the person you hire working out long-term are much higher.

But what are some specific reasons why companies that use a sales assessment have reps that are much more likely to exceed their performance goals? Here are three of the biggest.

You Can Verify a Sales Candidate’s Claims

Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that this tool gives you a means of “fact-checking” a sales candidate to ensure they truly possess the skills they claim to have on their resume. Going back to the data in the intro, the majority of resumes are misleading, and, unfortunately, close to half contain some type of lie. So you shouldn’t assume that every candidate you encounter is as good as they say they are.

But with a sales assessment, you can see exactly what they bring to the table. And because all candidates answer the same questions and perform the same tasks in their assessment, you can accurately compare each one side-by-side to see who’s the best fit for your company.

You Can Get a Feel for a Sales Candidate’s Personality

Besides finding someone with the right hard skills, it’s also important to take soft skills like communication, problem-solving, and organization into account. While you can get a general sense of a candidate’s personality through interactions and interviewing, this doesn’t always tell the whole story.

Another big advantage of a sales assessment is that it goes beyond traditional interviewing where you can ask questions to gauge their personality and see how good of a match they would be for the specific role and your overall company culture.

You Can Eliminate Bias

One reason why some sales recruiters make the wrong hire is that they “fall in love” with a particular candidate, even if they’re not the optimal choice. Say, for example, a candidate is incredibly charismatic, shares the same interest, and went to your same college. There’s a good chance you would be compelled to hire them over another candidate that didn’t check these boxes even if they’re not objectively the better fit.

At the end of the day, human bias is always a factor and can easily cloud a recruiter’s judgment. The great thing about a sales assessment is that it eliminates bias so each candidate can be evaluated objectively.

Sales Assessment Tools to Use

At this point, I think we can agree that, when used correctly, a sales assessment can be a huge asset. But what specific tool should you use?

One that many sales recruiters have success with is HireDNA, which offers the industry’s number one skills assessment solution. Here’s an overview of what HireDNA has to offer.

With it, you can assess core selling competencies like lead hunting, the ability to reach decision-makers, relationship-building, and more.

You can also measure “sales DNA competencies,” such as being able to control emotions, comfortably discuss money, and handle rejection, as well as development traits like the will to sell and coachability.

Aftering setting up your ideal candidate profile, you can use HireDNA to filter and screen candidates 10x faster, and recruiters that use it are able to eliminate 96% of hiring mistakes. You can get a full overview of HireDNA and learn more about it here.

Wrapping Up

Sales recruiting isn’t something you want to leave to chance. Fortunately, technology like a sales assessment has created a framework that allows you to evaluate potential candidates from all angles while eliminating many of the inefficiencies that recruiters had to deal with in the past. With a clear correlation between using a sales assessment and reps exceeding their goals, it’s definitely a technology worth implementing if you haven’t done so already.

Ready to take the next step? Schedule a live HireDNA demo today.

82% of Companies Use a Pre-Employment Assessment Test: Should You?

A pre-employment assessment test is nothing new for high-level sales positions. They’ve been used for years to analyze candidates like account managers, regional sales managers, chief sales officers, and so on.

But in recent years, a growing number of companies have been using pre-employment assessment tests for nearly all positions, such as basic sales reps. The question is, does this make sense for your company? And if so, how should you approach it?

82% of Companies Now Use a Pre-Employment Assessment Test

A few years back, SHRM wrote a fascinating article about the rise of predictive assessments that referenced multiple studies on the topic. In it, SHRM writes, “according to the Talent Board’s 2016 Candidate Experience Research report, 82% of companies are using some form of pre-employment assessment test, and how they use assessments is evolving.

20 Reasons to Use Skill Assessment Tests | TalentLyft

Two particular types of popular screens are job simulations (54% of respondents are using these, according to the Talent Board study) and culture fit (51% using, a 22% increase from the Board’s 2014 study. While assessments once primarily were used for executive and mid-level leadership positions, today they’re commonly used for hourly and entry-level jobs.”

Note that the data SHRM referenced was from 2016. So it’s likely that even more companies are using a pre-employment assessment test in 2022. And with screening technology continually advancing and improving, this is a trend that’s likely to continue.

This brings me to my next point.

Is a Pre-Employment Assessment Test Right for You?

Let me first say that there’s no magic bullet for sales hiring, and you can never be 100% sure that a candidate will work out. That said, a pre-employment assessment test is pound-for-pound one of the most effective tools available for improving your sales hiring success rate.

When utilized correctly, a pre-employment assessment test offers a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Quickly testing a candidate’s true abilities
  • Determining how good of a fit they are for a particular sales position
  • Determining how good of a cultural fit they are
  • Differentiating between two similarly skilled candidates to figure out who’s better
  • Efficiently filtering through a high volume of candidates
  • Reducing or even eliminating bias
  • Spending less time performing manual assessment tasks

Not only that, pre-employment assessments often improve the candidate’s experience because it gives them a fair chance to showcase their talents. When you put it all together, it’s easy to see why this is such a popular sales hiring tool and why an increasing number of companies are choosing to use it.

For that reason, I truly believe the vast majority of sales recruiters can benefit from using a pre-employment assessment test. If you’ve been considering using one but haven’t gotten around to it, now is a great time to do so.

How Should You Approach Pre-Employment Assessment Testing?

There are several ways to go about it. SHRM lists some specific types of tests and testing methods, including:

  • Cognitive ability tests
  • Personality tests
  • Aptitude tests
  • Honesty and integrity tests

For some companies, a pre-employment assessment test could be something as simple as asking a few cognitive questions regarding IQ, verbal ability, and deductive reasoning, along with some basic personality questions involving motivations, communication skills, and attitude. If you’re simply looking to uncover the essentials to better determine how good of a fit a particular candidate would be for a sales position, this can be sufficient.

But if you want to go a bit deeper (which is ideal in today’s competitive sales world), it’s usually best to use pre-employment testing software, as it streamlines the process and adds a level of objectivity that’s hard to achieve with conventional, manual techniques. Also, today’s software is highly advanced and capable of producing detailed data to help you make the best choice through visual reports.

Using HireDNA as an Assessment Tool

One particular platform that’s helpful for many sales recruiters is HireDNA, which both generates and screens candidates.

First, HireDNA uses intelligent matching that analyzes 20 key data points to find top-tier candidates that are perfect fits for the specific role and your hiring criteria. For example, this software looks at things like role, culture, and experience fit and provides a quantifiable number of how qualified a particular candidate is.

From there, HireDNA screens the candidates using a science-backed assessment and matching algorithm to objectively predict success before hiring. This takes the guesswork out of the process and is a highly accurate way to assess each candidate’s selling skills and overall capabilities. In turn, this filters out individuals who wouldn’t be a good fit and ensures only the highest quality standards.

In terms of effectiveness, 92% of candidates recommended through HireDNA go on to reach the top of the sales force during their first year, and 96% of hiring mistakes are eliminated. Besides, that turnover is reduced by a third on average.

Wrapping Up

Candidate testing has evolved dramatically in recent years. It’s gone from primarily testing higher-level positions to testing candidates at all levels. With 82% of companies now implementing some form of candidate testing, it’s clear that it’s working and can be quite effective. It’s just a matter of finding the right pre-employment assessment test for your company.

While simply asking a few questions can certainly work for making a basic assessment, most sales recruiters see the most success using a technology sales recruiting platform like HireDNA that features intelligent matching and science-based assessments because of the high accuracy and ability to consistently predict success. To learn more about HireDNA and see it in action, you can request a live demo today.

How to Avoid Costly Sales Rep Hiring Mistakes

Hiring salespeople is typically among a company’s largest budget items, and the cost of a bad hire is immense. The average cost of a bad sales hire is more than $115,000, while the cost of a bad sales management hire can reach as high as  $3.5 million, as outlined in our recent blog post on hiring effective sales managers.

These numbers represent average costs; you can use this free Hiring Mistake Calculator to determine your organization’s specific bad hire impact, including your cost of recruitment, development and lost business.

And that’s strictly from a mathematical perspective – the overall impact is compounded when you factor in the loss of resources devoted to the bad hire, lowered team morale and performance, and the damage to your brand reputation among your clients and prospects. 

In this blog post, we examine why the wrong sales reps are hired so often, and what smart sales leaders are doing to reduce the risk and impact of hiring mistakes.

Wrong People Are Hired 77% of the Time

According to a recent evaluation by Objective Management Group (OMG), the wrong salespeople are hired 77% of the time. According to OMG, these bad hires: 

  • Make excuses for their lack of performance (60%)
  • Lack commitment to sales success (37%)
  • Are not motivated to achieve sales success (20%)

How to Avoid a Bad Sales Hire

When OMG compared data between all salespeople and the lowest-performing 50%, they found that the most significant differentiator among “good” and “bad” hires was their Sales DNA – the unique set of  traits and behaviors that influence a rep’s performance. 97% of weak salespeople lack the minimum required Sales DNA for success in their roles. 

In a detailed white paper exploring the science behind salesperson selection, OMG outlined five key components of a rep’s Sales DNA that signal a potential bad hire: 

  • Need to Be Liked – While it’s important for a sales rep to be likable, reps who demonstrate a need for approval usually have difficulty facing potential challenges like confrontation, rejection, and asking tough but necessary questions.
  • Tendency to Become Emotional – Reps with higher emotional involvement may struggle to listen and remain focused on the prospect, which can result in missing important details or losing control of a conversation.
  • Self-Limiting Beliefs – Ineffective sales reps exhibit a number of self-limiting beliefs that can sabotage their selling process, such as “I don’t like making cold calls” or “It’s impolite to ask a lot of questions.”
  • Bad Empathy – Sales reps who make their own major purchases using a non-supportive buy cycle (comparison shopping, heavy research, long decision timeframes, etc.) are more likely to empathize with prospects who engage in the same behavior, and are less effective at helping prospects move forward with the purchase decision.
  • Discomfort Discussing Money – When sales reps are uncomfortable asking questions about budget or a prospect’s financial position, they are unable to ask the necessary questions or make suggestions on solving potential budget-related objections.

Science-based sales assessments that identify a candidate’s Sales DNA, along with other sales competencies, can help sales leaders determine a candidate’s likelihood of success before making a costly hiring mistake. 

Build A Winning Sales Team

At HireDNA, we offer a range of science-based recruiting and assessment solutions for companies looking to hire and retain top sales talent. We help sales leaders determine candidates’ Sales DNA, among other competencies, and avoid costly hiring mistakes.

Why Choose Us?                

  • Our predictive candidate assessments eliminate 96% of hiring mistakes
  • Businesses hire 50% faster when they work with us
  • We have an 80% success rate for placements across organizations

Using Assessments to Develop Your Sales Team

When you have a high-growth business plan, you need a sales plan that can match it – one that will equip your reps to handle shifting market trends, meet evolving customer demands, and maximize effectiveness.

Creating that kind of winning sales plan starts with an in-depth understanding of the current-state of your sales people, process, management, and tools. Using a sales team assessment tool can help you identify critical skill gaps in your sales force, assess how your sales structure aligns with your business goals, and identify key strategies to keep your sales team competitive and ready to drive next level results.

The sales assessment should also answer crucial questions like, Are we reaching the right decision makers? Can we close more sales? Do our systems and processes support a high-performance sales organization? What must we change to improve? How long will that take? And what will the impact be?

Not All Sales Assessment Tools Are Created Equal

The most effective tools, like Objective Management Group’s Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis (SEIA), use proven, scientific processes to collect and analyze data about your people, processes, systems, and management.

A recent Harvard Business Review report demonstrated that a scientific approach to sales force effectiveness – emphasizing data, analysis, processes and tools – can create dramatic results, including increasing rep productivity by as much as 200%. Our Science Behind Sales Success white paper provides a more detailed look at the effectiveness of this scientific approach.

The Benefits of a Sales Team Assessment

The results from a sales team assessment will not only help you better understand how your team is performing, but will also provide a prioritized game plan to help you improve. For example, if your sales team assessment reveals that your salespeople seem to hit their goals consistently but narrowly, this could indicate a need for a more consultative selling approach, or adjustments to your overall sales process. On the other hand, inconsistent sales and routinely missed sales goals could indicate a need for more training and coaching, as well as improvements to your sales recruiting and hiring process.

Your sales team assessment results should provide you with accurate data on your strengths, clearly defined weaknesses, and help you identify key opportunities for growth.

Identifying Weaknesses and Capitalizing on Strengths

One of the biggest benefits of a comprehensive sales team assessment is identifying the areas of your sales force that may be hindering your overall success. Tools like the Objective Management Group SEIA and Improve use the data collected from individual evaluations to reveal hidden problems in multiple areas, including weaknesses common to your salespeople, problems with your hiring criteria, and business being lost as a result of these challenges. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the changes that must be made to your sales management systems, and what steps you should take to help your salespeople reach their potential.

A sales team assessment tool will also inform you about your team’s greatest strengths, and show you how to capitalize on those strengths to meet your overall sales and business goals. It’s no secret that people are more effective and productive when they’re able to tap into their natural talents and abilities. Your sales team assessment results will help you uncover those unique individual abilities, learn what motivates your team, and show you strategies for developing a strong sales culture that encourages people to bring their very best.

Developing Goals for the Future

Businesses change rapidly in the modern market, and you need to stay focused on your business strategy while also monitoring your sales team for inconsistencies, declines in performance, or shifting customer trends that may be causing them issues. Do you hire top talent regularly? What type of recruiting strategy do you use to find the best sales representatives? What type of compensation structure do you use to attract and retain top-performing sales reps?

Making business decisions backed by solid data is a great way to move your business forward with increased confidence. If you are curious about potential ways to enhance the effectiveness of your sales team, use our online Sales Readiness Assessment tool for a quick snapshot of your current status. Ready to go deeper? Schedule a consultation for our in-depth Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis service to get a detailed playbook for driving sales effectiveness and performance.

Accelerate New Sales Hire Ramp-Up

Get actional tips to accelerate new hire ramp-up and maximize ROI. 

Many sales organizations have a typical ramp-up time of six months or more for a new sales rep. Reducing the amount of time needed to get new hires up to speed and closing their first sale is key to maximizing an organization’s investment. But how do sales organizations accelerate their new hire ramp up and still ensure their sales reps will be successful? Research shows that a well-defined and comprehensive onboarding program can speed up ramp time and improve performance by 11.5 percent

1.     Define Your Sales Strategy

Objective: Successful new hire ramp-up begins prior to hiring by having a clearly defined sales strategy, processes and tools in place within your sales organization.

Procedure: Identify and set a clear sales strategy for your sales organization. Establish sales goals and metrics. Develop a compensation plan that benefits both your sales rep and your organization. Document the sales process and procedures for generating new leads. Implement effective sales tools.

2.     Hire the Right Candidates

Objective: Effective hiring begins by having an ideal sales candidate profile for which to measure applicants against.

Procedure: Identify your sales candidate profile including education, sales experience, sales performance, sales competencies and behaviors. During your interview process, ask behavioral questions to help assess whether or not the candidate has the skills, attitude and competencies needed for the sales role. Behavioral questions are designed to evaluate a candidate’s suitability based on how they behaved in similar situations in previous positions.

3.     Deliver Comprehensive Sales Training

Objective: Comprehensive sales training sets new hire expectations and enables them to be successful.

Procedure:  Develop a comprehensive training program that includes both instructor-led and online courses. Training should cover a broad range of topics including products and services, tools and systems, and soft-skills they will need while interacting with customers. Sales training should be an ongoing and structured process. Let your new hires know upfront that your organization is committed to their success.

4.     Provide Coaching and Mentoring

Objective: Ongoing coaching and mentoring are vital to motivating and empowering sales reps once their new hire training is complete.

Procedure: Coaching and mentoring provides benefits to both the trainer and the new sales rep. The coach or mentor is given an opportunity to display their knowledge and skill within the company. This creates a sense of empowerment and increases retention for top sales reps. The new sales rep benefits by learning the intricacies of the sales process, inside organizational knowledge and the best way to interact with target customers from an experienced sales rep. Mentoring and coaching take place in a real sales environment with new hires learning the best sales practices. This results in a shortened learning curve and a faster ramp-up.

5.     Create Personal Development Plans

Objective: Provide new sales reps with ongoing feedback on performance goals and metrics to enable them to track their progress, issues and wins.

Procedure: Creating a personal development plan (PDP) provides a roadmap for new sales employees. The plan includes measurable goals and a timeline for achieving those goals. Review the PDP with new hires at specific intervals (30, 60, 90 days) to track how they are performing against sales goals. Sales managers should recognize early wins to reinforce the sales reps’ performance and address any issues to keep them from becoming discouraged.

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These five tips can help your organization accelerate ramp-up times, create motivated sales reps and increase retention. Interested in a thorough evaluation of your talent acquisition and new hire ramp-up process? Revecent can complete an analysis of your company’s hiring and onboarding strategies to identify areas of improvement. Request a consult now and start seeing powerful results.

We help companies get their solutions in the hands of more customers faster with a high-performance sales team built for successContact us today to see how we can help your organization recruit, train, equip and manage your sales force. 

Pre-employment Assessments: Identify Top Candidates, Save Money and Reduce Turnover

Pre-employment sales assessments play an important role in the overall hiring process.

They help organizations identify candidates that are most likely to excel in their sales role. Pre-employment assessments also provide additional benefits like decreasing time and cost in the candidate hiring process, reducing turnover and improving morale. These added benefits are crucial to sales organizations as they are facing an average annual turnover in their sales force of 25 – 30 percent, according to Harvard Business Review. This equates to hiring and training an entire sales organization approximately every four years. Talk about expensive!

There are a variety of pre-employment assessment tests organizations can use to screen potential candidates: personality, cognitive, skills and job knowledge, just to name a few.  According to the HireRight 2016 Annual Employment Screening Benchmark Survey:

“Sixty-five percent of businesses that responded planned to make investments in improving their ability to find qualified job candidates.”

But how do you know which assessment(s) your sales organization should implement? Below are a few tips on how to determine which pre-employment assessments would be best for your sales organization

1.   Valid

Analysis: Pre-employment assessments must be valid for the open sales role.

Methodology: Ensure that tests measure specific job-related abilities or skills. Assessment results should be quantifiable and predict the success or failure of the candidate’s future job performance. Sales organizations should be able to demonstrate that candidates who do well on the test perform well in their sales job, versus those that do not perform well.

2.   Relevant

Analysis: Pre-employment assessments must measure skills, abilities or characteristics that are relevant to the job the candidate is applying for.

Methodology: A simple way for organizations to verify relevancy on a pre-employment assessment is to perform a Job Requirement Analysis against the sales position being filled. Once an analysis has been completed of the objectives, skills and abilities needed to complete the sales role, organizations will be able to quickly identify appropriate and relevant pre-employment tests.

3.   Reliable

Analysis: Pre-employment assessments must provide consistent results.

Methodology: For a pre-employment assessment to be reliable in measuring a specific job skill or ability, a candidate’s score should be consistent each time they take the test. Significant variances in a candidate’s test results decreases the value of the assessment predicting future job performance. 

4.   Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)

Analysis: Pre-employment assessments must meet all EEO laws.

Methodology: Periodically, pre-employment tests are challenged in court. Organizations must verify their tests do not violate local, state or federal EEO laws, including Title VII

These are just a few tips sales organizations should be aware of prior to implementing pre-employment assessments. Revecent’s Sales Consultants can help your organization assess, recruit and optimize sales talent to accelerate revenue growth.

Interested in an evaluation of your organization’s pre-employment assessment process? Revecent can complete an analysis of your sales force hiring strategy to identify areas of strength and areas of opportunities. Request a consult now and start seeing powerful results.

Revecent is a national sales recruiting and sales enablement consulting firm. We help technology and professional service companies recruit and optimize sales talent to accelerate growth. Contact us today to see how we can help your organization’s sales team exceed expectations.

3 Proven Techniques for Assessing Sales Candidates

The hiring process for filling sales positions can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. 

According to a recent study on Global Recruiting Trends by LinkedIn:

“Finding suitable candidates is the biggest obstacle (46 percent) for hiring.”

Thus, the ability to identify early on whether a candidate is ideal for your organization is imperative for saving time and resources. One way to manage this is through screening candidates to identify their potential to fulfill your sales role prior to moving them into the interview process.

Did you know? A recent study of nearly 20,000 businesses

determined 46 percent of all new hires fail within their first

18 months, and 89 percent of the time it’s for attitude not skill.

Below are three screening techniques that can help your organization save time and resources by qualifying candidates and gauging compatibility prior to moving forward.

1.     Attitude Assessment Screening

Approach: During the screening process, ask the candidate what their expectations are for the sales position.

Analysis: Identifying the candidate’s attitude and aptitude for the role is equally as important as uncovering their qualifications or skillsets. Understanding the candidate’s mindset regarding the sales position is critical for ensuring whether or not they will fit into your organization’s culture and sales force. Poor attitudes can be destructive to overall team morale. 

2.     Behavioral Assessment Screening

Approach: Ask the candidate to complete a behavioral profile assessment as part of your organization’s screening process.

Analysis: A behavioral profile can provide your organization with information on how your job candidate will act or respond in different scenarios. The assessment can help identify what motivates a candidate, how they address problems and what their stress triggers are. While there is no one-size-fits-all behavior profile, assessment results can assist in identifying candidates that will mesh well and add value to your sales force. It can also help identify areas to focus on during the onboarding process for the candidate.

3.     Sales Assessment Screening

Approach: As part of your pre-screening interview process, ask your candidates to complete an online Sales Candidate Assessment.

Analysis: A sales candidate assessment can help your organization predict the candidate’s sales performance and role compatibility. Sales assessment data can identify a candidate’s natural selling

ability, communication style, strengths and areas for improvement. Sales managers can use the sales assessment data to provide coaching and guidance for new hires.

Above are just a few examples of screening techniques that can be used to identify the potential in your sales candidates. Revecent’s Sales Enablement Consultants can help your organization assess, recruit and optimize sales talent to accelerate revenue growth. 

Interested in an evaluation of your organization’s candidate screening process? Revecent can complete an analysis of your sales force hiring strategy to identify areas of strength and areas of opportunities.  Request a consult now and start seeing powerful results.Revecent is a national sales recruiting and sales enablement consulting firm. We help technology and professional service companies recruit and optimize sales talent to accelerate growth. Contact us today to see how we can help your organization’s sales team exceed expectations.