Sales assessment tests are an important part of the hiring process. Learn what they are, what to look for, and how to prepare for them.
January 23, 2023
Hiring a new employee typically costs 1.25 to 1.4 times their salary. Onboarding sales reps also usually takes a few months, and during this training period, they are not yet able to bring revenue into your business. This can make it seem risky to hire any new sales reps — especially if you only have a few interviews to gauge their abilities.
Sales assessment testing gives you a more holistic picture of a candidate to help you choose the right person for the job. The Sales Connection incorporates these tests into our hiring method to help companies succeed and grow. Keep reading to learn how sales assessment testing can transform your company’s hiring process, helping you find better salespeople and maintain a lower turnover rate.
A sales assessment test gives you deeper insight into potential employees' traits and sales skills than regular interview questions can provide.
In the past, a sales skills assessment test was expensive and time-consuming, so many businesses avoided using them. Now that sales candidates can complete these tests online, anytime, for free, they are becoming more widely utilized. The assessments are designed to reduce the number of interviews you need to conduct and ensure that only the most qualified applicants get to the final phases of the hiring process.
A sales assessment test helps companies in many ways during the hiring process. Below are some of the benefits of performing a sales assessment before hiring:
The ability to close a sale is hard to evaluate with just a few interviews and a resume. To get a more complete picture of the candidate and their ability to thrive on your team, it’s important to understand the skills that most great salespeople share. At The Sales Connection, we also look at your business's goals and challenges, so we can zero in on the type of sales rep who would do best at your company.
This is often the most important skill for your company. To understand how the candidate would approach a situation, you can present challenges and problems they'll likely face in the role. Their response gives you insight into how they think, along with their strengths and weaknesses.
Any successful salesperson needs to have basic math skills. You can have the candidate analyze different graphs, tables, and charts to learn about their numerical literacy. Many companies choose to time these tests, grading candidates on both accuracy and speed. Pay attention to their confidence when they give you an answer, as well.
The ability to find and correct errors is a skill that companies often undervalue. Detail-oriented salespeople who can figure out where something went wrong and how to fix it quickly are likely to succeed more often in the long run.
A typical error-checking test has the candidate compare data sets, spot and correct any mistakes on them, and answer some questions about the information. They also usually have a strict time frame, and the length of time the candidate takes to complete the test affects their final score.
It probably goes without saying, but salespeople must have good communication skills to close deals and maintain client relationships. Common verbal reasoning tests give candidates a passage of text to read, followed by a series of true-or-false questions. Candidates who can quickly pick out the key pieces of information in the material usually perform well in these tests and in real-life scenarios.
Since these tests try to quantify abstract skills, it's good to incorporate many different types of questions to get a fair and well-rounded opinion of the candidate.
This is a basic test to evaluate certain desirable sales skills, such as:
For instance, you could ask the candidate to write a cold email to someone working at a fictional company that is similar to clients they may end up working with. If they return a well-written, concise, structured answer that clearly communicates the prospect with one clear call-to-action, they're likely a strong candidate.
Asking how the candidate would act in hypothetical scenarios similar to real challenges can help you understand how they will fit into the company. They may have a fresh perspective, or their thinking may line up nicely with your business values.
This is usually some kind of personality test that helps you figure out how well the candidate will fit into your company’s culture. The questions generally address behavioral factors, such as:
Understanding how the candidate's brain works, from their verbal to mathematical skills, can provide important insight. Usually, these tests are similar to the type of standardized testing you may have completed when applying for college.
You should check the candidate's familiarity with tools your company uses, like customer relationship management platforms or outreach tools. This can save time and money in the onboarding process later on, and someone experienced with these tools may even find ways to improve your procedures.
Depending on your field, it may also be valuable to learn about their domain knowledge. For instance, fields like pharmaceuticals and medical devices require in-depth medical knowledge. Usually, these roles have a rigorous training process, and your hiring decisions must consider the higher training and onboarding costs. A candidate more familiar with the field may have an easier onboarding process and is more likely to remain in their role long-term.
One way you can learn about a candidate's industry-specific knowledge is to check how they would research a particular subject. Someone more familiar with the field would be able to show that they follow industry news and resources, explaining the types of information they would look for and why.
Personality tests can help you figure out how well an interviewee is suited for a particular role. The candidate's results on the test could also inform your decision based on observations you make during the hiring process.
However, a sales personality test is only effective if the candidate answers honestly, without trying to figure out the answers you'd want them to give. So remind them to choose the answer that they feel best represents their opinion.
One of the most popular personality tests, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) helps you understand personality types according to four categories:
This test can help you place people in different roles. For instance, someone more extroverted is likely to have more success with making cold calls, while a more introverted person could be better at building a relationship with a prospect and learning about their specific pain points.
This test assesses people's communication styles according to four different behavioral styles:
In general, people who get high scores in dominance are more likely to perform better in sales roles, though each communication style can be valuable depending on the details of the role.
This test of 180 multiple-choice questions measures the candidate's motivations and characteristics as a way to understand how they'll perform in the sales role. It tests four categories to understand their key skills and personality traits:
This is a test you could use for new job candidates or staff members who are interested in finding a role that fits them better. The test groups candidates according to their suitability for six different occupation categories:
Your results are most effective when people take them calmly, not stressing out over what answers you might want to hear or how to pass the sales aptitude test. To ensure that the test results are as accurate as possible, you could offer candidates these simple sales assessment test tips.
As with any test, studying ahead of time will settle a lot of nerves. Candidates should know this already, but it doesn't hurt to remind them that your business's sales assessment test will likely be relevant to your specific industry, scale, and company. They can also prepare for some common sales assessment questions and answers, so they'll be ready with thoughtful, detailed responses.
Though candidates can often finish sales assessment tests at their own convenience, let them know it's good to be prompt. Usually, they just need to schedule an hour or two to go through the process, and the best sales reps tend to try to get projects done sooner, rather than later, anyway.
Subjective questions in self-assessments help you get an idea of how a potential employee's personality will fit into the team dynamic. If they give the first answer that comes to mind, you get a good idea of how they would act in real life. Let them know that this is more important than them figuring out the "right" answer — it's best for both the future employee and your business to hire the right fit for the role.
For multiple choice questions, remind them to select the option the answer they think is most relevant or important when there are multiple answers they feel are correct.
A sales assessment test is just one of the tools you can use to find the best sales reps. Instead of spending your valuable time researching more of these tools, The Sales Connection can help you find reps guaranteed to return your investment tenfold within 100 days. Book a diagnostic meeting with us today so we can discuss your business's needs and challenges to figure out the sort of sales professionals who would help your business the most.
Kayvon has over two decades of experience working with high-level closers and perfecting his sales methodologies. He has earned the title of Canada’s #1 pharmaceutical sales representative and continues to share his expertise as a keynote speaker and through his multi-million-dollar coaching program.