Stupid Choices in the Selection of Sales Assessments

We had a conversation with someone who was using the CPQ Assessment.  The person who was providing it to them claims it is a sales assessment but it’s a personality test marketed as a sales assessment. If you’re not familiar with my series on this then click here. They were also told that it was predictive, especially with insurance salespeople, and that they could use the same criteria for selecting their salespeople (selling a business consulting package to CEO’s) as is used for hiring life insurance salespeople.

Yeah, right.

Let’s compare the life insurance (LI) sale and this business consulting package sale (BCP):

  • LI is a must have while the BCP is a nice to have.
  • People need but don’t want LI while CEO’s want but don’t need BCP.
  • LI salespeople are selling a traditional why you should buy from me vs them.  The BCP salesperson is selling the more difficult why should you buy at all.
  • The LI sale is to any consumer while the BCP sale is to CEO’s
  • The LI  salesperson is selling a guaranteed result while the best our BCP salesperson can offer is hope.
  • The LI salesperson is more often selling a term policy for as little as $10 per month while the BCP salesperson is selling a package for $12,000 or $1000 per month.
  • The LI prospect knows that LI is needed, it’s only a question of who to get it from.  The BCP prospect does not know and may not even agree that the consulting is needed and needs to be convinced of why it’s important to have in the first place.
  • The LI sales cycle is a 2-call close and the BCP sales cycle is a 1-call close.
  • The LI salesperson is selling a commodity with a lot of competition.  The BCP salesperson is selling a consulting service with little to no competition.
  • The LI salesperson typcially has a sales manager for coaching, motivation and accountability.  The BCP salesperson will be working out of a home office with no sales manager.

Aside from the fact that 90% of the salespeople hired for life insurance sales turnover in the first year, is there anything similar about the sales challenges the LI salesperson and the BCP salesperson must face?

When you use an assessment in the sales recruiting process, it must be customizable so that criteria unique to your business, like I described above, can be factored in.  That way, in addition to whether the candidate meets our criteria of a successful salesperson, we must be able to determine whether the candidate will be able to succeed in the face of the company’s unique challenges.

Would you use an assessment whose claim to fame was insurance sales (think 90% turnover) to hire salespeople for a key position in your company?