- November 15, 2005
- Posted by: Dave Kurlan
- Category: Understanding the Sales Force
Since I am an expert on assessments, I get asked to assess the assessments that are out there on a regular basis. Most assessments are quite good as long as they are used as intended. However, users, motivated by marketing and salespeople, are often lured into using an otherwise good assessment in an inappropriate way. This compromises the value of the assessment that now fails to provide the in-depth information, answers and actions that a more appropriate tool would give.
The two most frequent mistakes occur when companies use personality tests or behavioral styles tests on salespeople. The information contained in the reports is still quite accurate however, the information does not provide the answers or actions that management requires for either selection or development.
One leading behavioral styles assessment company even went so far to say that there is not correlation between behavorial styles and successful sales performance. Most though, won’t admit that because it would drastically compromise revenues. But I’m here to tell you that there is nothing incorrect about their assessments. Only your use of those assessments. You can use a personality test if you are interested in learning how your people will get along and develop relationships. You can use a behavioral styles assessment if you are interested in learning how to more effectively manage an individual’s behaviors. However, if you want to learn what makes a particular salesperson successful and another one unsuccessful; whether or not a salesperson can improve; where the improvement must take place; which obstacles are preventing sales success; how much improvement you can expect; what actions must be taken for improvement; how the problems impact their performance in the field; the sales competencies that are impacted; etc., there is only one assessment that will provide that (Objective Management Group’s Salesperson Evaluation).
If you want to accurately predict which candidates from the current pool will succeed in a particular sales position, at your company, selling your products or services, into your target market, against your competition, with your pricing model, performance requirements and compensation package, there is only one assessment that provide that (Objective Management Group’s s Express Screen).
And finally, if you want to look at the people, systems and strategies in your sales organization to determine what you can do to increase sales, there is only one company (Objective Management Group) that can produce a report that will explain:
- whether your sales force can execute your strategies;
- whether your strategies are consistent with your goals;
- whether your management team is on the same strategic page as you;
- whether your sales force is capable of meeting expectations;
- what you can realistically expect from your sales force;
- the effectiveness of your selection criteria;
- whether sales management is spending enough time on the appropriate issues;
- how effective sales management is at performing core sales management functions;
- the quality of the company’s pipeline;
- whether you have hunters and closers and who they really are;
- whether you have salespeople who can be role models for others;
- which salespeople can be performing 2x-3x better than they are now;
- what it will take for them to reach their potential;
- who, if anyone, should be removed from sales roles and why;
- whether you have any performance frauds;
- ROI for providing development solutions;
- analysis of your sales management systems and processes;
- much, much more.
Most assessments are good. It is your responsibility to make sure you are using the one that will provide information you can use. How can you do that? When you sit down with a sales development expert and they suggest, as a first step, an evaluation process, make sure of the following:
- they are evaluating the sales organization as an entity, not just individuals
- it is a sales specific tool, not one adapted for sales;
- OMG is the 3rd party providing the analysis;
- it will answer the questions you have about performance and development;
If you are going to use a pre-employment assessment, make sure that the tool they recommend includes:
- a hiring recommendation;
- sales specific findings;
- customization for the requirements of the specific sales position (don’t be fooled by customization of a behavioral styles test where you can check off the behavioral attributes that are important. That just identifies the generic sales requirements they can use as criteria. You must be able to identify requirements that are unique to company, product, competition, marketplace, compensation and performance);
- interviewing tips;
- sales competencies.
(c) Copyright 2005 Objective Management Group, Inc.