- May 29, 2012
- Posted by: Dave Kurlan
- Category: Understanding the Sales Force
When I call a sales assessment an imposter, I am usually referring to a personality or a behavioral styles assessment that has been adapted for sales. The adaptation has marketing making the claim that the assessments were built for sales. When they rename some findings on their reports to appear more sales-specific, the adaptation is complete. However, the actual assessments remain essentially the same. The questions that people are asked and the internal analyses remain unchanged, but the assessment company swaps some of the findings for personal traits and behaviors that have been traditionally associated with selling. These traits and behaviors are uncovered by asking questions in social settings rather than business or sales settings. As a result, the translations to sales are often inaccurate, meaning that the findings are not predictive of sales performance. If you want to read more about the difference between personality and behavioral styles assessments compared to OMG’s sales-specific assessments, you can find many examples here.
Last week, I received an email promoting one such assessment. This was their headline:
They provided five examples and because two were companies that increased sales, we are led to believe that this company’s predictive assessments are for sales roles. When you visit their website, you learn that they have assessments for nearly every role in nearly every industry. For the offerings to be this broad, only a personality assessment could be this flexible. And while the information in personality assessments can be helpful, they have absolutely no correlation to sales, sales success, or sales performance.
Upon further investigation, the site provided these options for sales (emphasis on retail and B2C):
If you choose Sales Engineers, they recommend two of their assessments – neither of which has anything to do with selling:
For those of you who employ Sales Engineers, the two assessments listed above can help you determine how effective they could be at problem-solving, but not engineering or sales.
If you choose Financial Services Sales Agents or some of the other options provided, they recommend this personality assessment:
Apparently, they believe that the personality traits required for customer service are the same as those required for sales success. If that was true, then you would be able to move your entire customer service team into sales roles, not only with success, but without push back. You already know that your customer service people have no interest whatsoever in selling!
Assessments can have a huge impact on selection, diagnosis and development of the sales organization. However, if you choose the wrong assessments – imposters – you won’t receive any of the powerful intelligence or predictive benefits that OMG provides its users.