Ask the Expert: Where Should You Start When Looking for a Sales Assessment?

Posted by  Amie Lawrence, Ph.D.


I’m having a difficult time finding good salespeople who meet their goals. I want to use an employee assessment but I don’t know where to start. Can you give some advice?


Great question! First, let me commend you on being open to using assessments to help you with your problem. I think you’re on the right track. Good assessments have been proven to be much more accurate than human judgment in identifying the best hires. It can be a daunting task to learn about assessments. So, let’s start by talking about how to evaluate assessments and what makes a good assessment.

What makes a good assessment?


What Does it Take to be a Good Sales Person?

Posted by  Alissa Parr, Ph.D.

187848705One of the TV shows that I find myself watching week-to-week is Shark Tank. In this show, entrepreneurs try to “sell” their business or business concept to a group of venture capitalists with the hopes of getting an investment from them. Not only does this investment give the entrepreneurs money, but it also provides them the advice and connections that will facilitate the growth of their business. So, their five-minute pitch is critical. I have seen entrepreneurs in the show excel … and also flounder.

Watching this show brings me back to I/O psychology concepts — what does it take to be a good sales person? It’s clear from watching this show as well as observing customer service interactions, that there is a core set of skills and abilities needed to be a successful sales person. The best way to determine the core competencies for a specific role is to conduct a job analysis. However, there are some competencies that consistently show up as being important for success in research and applied settings.


Best Practices in Developing Top Sales Talent

Posted by  Amber Thomas

It can be incredibly difficult to identify top sales talent within an organization, and even more so to build that talent towards peak sales performance. There are often metrics to reference (how the employee is doing), but little to no benchmark for success on critical functional competencies (how the employee should be doing). This isn’t surprising - clarifying and streamlining organizational and position-specific competencies critical to success can be challenging work, especially in a company that is constantly growing and acquiring new employees. Going a step further, and defining what successful performance looks like in terms of everyday behaviors, is even more complicated.sales blog

Organizations generally lack another critical piece of information as well - the employee’s underlying capabilities (how the employee could be doing, given their potential).  Generally this information is hidden beneath the surface of everyday observable performance. Observed performance is often impacted by many factors, including: the employee’s manager (a less able manager may inhibit performance), by the structure of the organization, by incentives given for performance, and the local marketplace. Alternatively, the employee’s underlying capabilities are unique to the employee and can provide a better picture of the employee’s potential for success. Assessments are often used to uncover these underlying capabilities and are considered alongside performance metrics.


Select, Align and Develop Your Sales Team

Posted by  Paul Glatzhofer

To learn about hiring in sales, watch the video below that discusses Measuring Sales Fit:

Recently, I presented at Sales 2.0 Conference in Boston and discussed how selecting sales people that will thrive in your sales environment, aligning your sales team to the proper roles to ensure success and developing sales professionals and managers are critical to achieving your business goals. 

What does a successful sales person look like for your organization?  What style, competencies and drivers are necessary for success?  Identifying these important factors will allow you to not only select high performing sales personnel, but will also enable you to transform your sales team by understanding which areas need development. describe the image

Through the use of sales assessments, organizations can identify what styles, drivers and competencies are important for success in both management and sales roles within their culture.  It’s important to note that there is not one single factor or one single profile that will predict success across all sales positions. The combination of Competencies, Sales Styles and Drivers provides us with a basis upon which to establish success profiles to accurately identify who is likely to be successful and who is not.

Clearly, predicting success in sales is not easy. Making a sale depends on so many factors, some of which salespeople have control over and some of which they don’t. Nonetheless, it is also clear that some people are consistently more successful in sales than others.  By setting a profile of success that takes into account competencies, styles and drivers to match the needs of the job, it’s possible to achieve outstanding results in predicting sales success, regardless of the position or industry.

all employee assessment alike


Have the Competencies for Success in Sales Changed Over Time?

Posted by  Matthew O'Connell, Ph.D.



Why Good Sales Candidates Fail

Posted by  Amie Lawrence, Ph.D.

Unfortunately not all hires end up working out. There are many reasons why an individual doesn’t work out, but one of the main reasons is often because they just don’t “fit.” You’ve probably heard people say that before – “It wasn’t a good fit for me.” Just like a pair of jeans, a job can sometimes be a little tight here or a little loose there. Poor fit often leads to turnover, which can be costly for both the organization and the candidate.


Don’t Be Sold By a Sales Candidate

Posted by  Amie Lawrence, Ph.D.

Having the right salespeople in an organization can make the difference between a good company and a great one. Finding effective salespeople can be particularly difficult because the very same skills that are used for selling can be turned on you during the hiring process.


Hiring in Sales: Using Assessments to Enhance Your Sales Development Strategy

Posted by  Matthew O'Connell, Ph.D.

Ever wonder why some people succeed in sales while others don’t? Perhaps a more perplexing question is why someone who succeeds in sales in one job is a complete failure in another, or vice versa. Is there a way of dramatically increasing your odds that someone is going to succeed in a sales role? We’re going to be providing answers to these questions in an upcoming presentation at Selling Power’s Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco on Monday April 8th from 1:55 to 2:40 p.m.


Using Assessments to Develop Your Sales Team

Posted by  Paul Glatzhofer

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While recently on a flight to Philadelphia, I noticed an advertisement in an airline magazine. The advertisement claimed to be able to “put your sales into overdrive” by using new marketing technology that allows a salesperson to use a tablet PC for sales presentations. I asked myself, "Will this gadget truly help sales people become more effective?" Marketing folks would say "probably" but only if the product or service has desirable features that appeal to the masses. If that was the case, businesses wouldn't need sales people to sell –the product would sell itself. But what if you are selling something that does need a business development manager's expertise? Then this new marketing tool now becomes a lot less intriguing.


Your Best Sales Person Could be Your Worst Sales Manager

Posted by  Carolyn Cosco

Let me tell you a little story about a man named Joe…

angry sales 148501359

Joe was an amazing sales person. He was easily one of the best you could have the good fortune of learning from. He was smart, hard-working, a quick-study, creative and could think outside of the box and reframe a situation in such a way that most people had a hard time saying “No” to him.

Joe was always outselling the rest of the sales team. His product knowledge was impeccable. If you had a question about any product, you knew Joe would have an answer. Joe had also been through many different sales training programs, and from a sales perspective, you really would be hard-pressed to find something new about sales that he did not already know. Tough negotiation situation – leave it to Joe. Hard customer with lots of objections – that was one of his favorites!


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