Hiring Skilled and Qualified Sales Personnel through Online Pre-employment Sales assessments

Innovative product or service offerings need to be backed by a strong go to market strategy. Sales personnel play an important role in the go-to-market strategy. The crucial role of bridging the gap between customer’s needs and products/services offered by the business is done by sales personnel. Hiring qualified and skilled sales personnel has a direct bearing on business outcomes. Pre-employment sales assessments enable effective and quick screening of thousands of profiles.

Importance of Sales Personnel in a Business

Having a great product or service alone is not enough, businesses need a solid sales strategy to take the product or service to its target customers. Sales comes from a number of sources, with each channel driven by specific sales strategy. Here are 3 reasons why sales personnel are important in a business.

Business growth and development:
Sales generates the revenue needed to grow and develop businesses. Sales personnel help build loyalty and trust in customers, which in turn attracts favorable reviews for the business and more sales. Recommendations and reviews of products and services are valued highly by prospects and customers. The sales team contributes to building a positive brand image.

Conversion of sales leads:
sales personnel deal with already warmed up prospects with preliminary information about the brand through marketing and advertising. They introduce further information to guide the customer in making an informed buying decision and close the deal.

Customer retention:
engaging customer service has the potential to transform unhappy clients into happy ones. Since sales is essentially a customer facing role, the strategy must be customer-centric. Advertising takes care of how the product/service is positioned in the market. The salesperson takes it further to provide complete information on the product/service and convince the customer to make the deal. The salesperson’s role does not end with sale of the product/service but extends up to after sales follow up. Looking after existing customers and addressing any grievances that they may have ensures that they do not switch over to other brands.

The contribution of the sales personnel has a direct impact on customers. Hence, recruitment of sales personnel needs to be backed by thorough research and complete evaluation of qualification, skills, and behavioral traits.

Hiring Sales Personnel

Apart from being professionally qualified, sales personnel need to have good interpersonal skills. The pre-employment sales assessment should evaluate the professional skills and personality traits. Recruitment of salespeople is not just about the hiring process, but also deciding the right time to hire and the right personality types that suit your business culture. Comprehensive sales assessment ensures that the right candidate in all aspects is hired.

Two important points to be borne in mind while hiring sales personnel is
1) to hire for the task, and
2) to focus on behaviors.

Hiring for the task:
sales jobs vary according to the product or service being sold, the customers a salesperson interacts with, and technical knowledge of the product/service. Selling effectiveness also depends on market, sales strategy, target customers, stage of business, and buying channels. While hiring for sales personnel, the task that they need to execute needs to be clearly defined. A complete understanding of the relevant sales tasks in the market and strategy, and then reflecting on these tasks from a hiring standpoint is required while hiring for sales personnel.

Focus on behavior:
poor job fit is considered as the leading cause of poor performance. Sales personnel hired against roles that are not a good fit for their skills and preferences do not stick to their jobs for long. Sales assessments, therefore, should be upgraded to assess behavioral traits and cognitive abilities.

Here is a comprehensive hiring process for sales personnel:

Identifying the right time for hiring:
hiring sales reps at the right time is crucial. Hiring teams need to stay updated on the latest trends and patterns in the sales market and within the company. Staying updated and accurately forecasting the demand will help determine the right time to hire. Hiring must be done only when the data and trends support the need for new sales hires.

Building a hiring profile:
Once the right time for hiring is decided, the hiring team needs to build a hiring profile. The type of sales personnel (skill, experience, and overall background) required on the team is decided by the hiring profile. The profile must be aligned to the company’s product/service profile and reflect the entire sales ecosystem.

Adopting relevant questions and techniques for screening:
A solid screening strategy consists of online pre-employment sales assessment tests, subsequent interviews, and offer discussions. The pre-employment sales assessment must gauge the skills and unique traits of the candidate. Ability to communicate clearly, to work under challenging situations, and to handle upset or irate customers are some of the preferred traits of sales personnel. They should also understand buyer behavior and build relationships with prospective customers.

Create a clear and winning job description:
a well-drafted job description that explains every aspect of the job is important. The job and its responsibilities should be explained in a clear and concise manner. Complete details on the daily/monthly responsibilities and preferred skills and qualifications must be mentioned in the job description.

Know the qualities of salespeople:
communication (both verbal and written) skills are a must for sales representatives. A HubSpot research revealed that sales people spend 1/3rd of their day just talking to prospects. Apart from this essential skill, salespeople need to be quick learners, exhibit good resilience, be a good team player, and be ambitious.

Build a sales pipeline:
an important part of the hiring strategy for salespeople is to build a sales pipeline. Job requirements must be frequently put up on sites that prospective candidates visit frequently. Job portals help the hiring team tap into networks and reach out to other organizations for referrals. Once a list of suitable candidates is acquired, a good CRM system can be used to create a hiring funnel for the recruitment process.

Having a solid onboarding and retention strategy:
choosing the right candidate is only half the battle won. Convincing the candidate that your company is the best place to be by rolling out a compelling offer and having a solid onboarding process are also equally important. A sound onboarding process and a retention strategy help bridge the talent gap in the sales team and retain talented candidates.

What is a Sales Assessment?

Selling requires specific skills, some of them are universal skills while some are skills specific to the product or business. Sales assessments are used for screening sales candidates and enabling organizations to hire the right talent for open sales positions. With the sales landscape evolving in tune with technological advances, sales interactions are moving towards remote communication. Current day sales representatives must be capable of communicating across various digital platforms. In addition to regular skills and qualifications evaluated during pre-employment assessment, aptitude, cognitive ability, digital awareness, and behavioral traits also need to be assessed.

Pre-employment sales assessments are a combination of aptitude, domain, and personality evaluation. Online pre-employment sales assessments like the ones offered by SkillRobo are effective and quick ways to screen thousands of candidate profiles. Using sales assessments to screen and shortlist candidates saves the hiring team a lot of effort and time.

How do sales assessments help the organizations?

Hiring the right salespeople:
the sales team makes significant contributions to organizational growth and revenue. Salespeople should be aligned to the organization’s vision and goals. Sales assessments enable holistic candidate evaluation by assessing the domain skills and behavioral traits. Essential competencies like resilience, patience, motivation, ambition, etc. can be gauged through sales assessments. Objective screening of candidates and comparison of results can be easily done in pre-employment assessments.

Save time and money:
online pre-employment sales assessments optimize the hiring process by saving on the time and effort spent on screening candidates. The possibility of hiring the wrong talent is almost nil when candidates are screened via pre-employment assessments, which eliminates time and effort wastage during recruitment.

Improves sales:
sales assessments help in building a high performance sales team by screening capable and skilled candidates. High performing sales teams drive sustainable business growth and higher sales.

Efficient interviews:
sales assessments provide deeper insights into candidate’s capabilities, which provide useful information for further interview questions.

Evaluating Sales Competencies

Sales competencies are a combination of skills and competencies required by an individual to excel in a sales role. Personal attributes, cognitive skills, and interpersonal skills are usually referred to as sales competencies. Basic sales aptitude and organization specific skills together form a sales competency framework that works for your organization.

Sales aptitude are the basic sales skills that are needed to perform sales roles well. These are generic skills that are not specific to your organization. For instance, communication or numerical ability are generic skills without which performing a sales role would not be possible. The list of sales aptitude skills related to sales success are:

  • Coachability: how quickly a candidate is able to learn and absorb the concepts taught to him.
  • Intelligence: the grasping power of the candidate when new concepts are introduced and how effectively he communicates with the customer.
  • Work Ethic: how well the candidate fits into the culture of the organization.
  • Curiosity: how proactive the candidate is in learning customer requirements by asking relevant questions.
  • Relevant prior experience: how well the candidate has performed in previous sales roles.

Sales context skills are skills that are specific to the nature of the product/service and the organization. The product of service being sold, the target customer, the medium through which sale is happening, and the type of buyers (first time or repeat buyers) are some of the aspects that determine the context of sales skills. In short, what to sell, how to sell, and whom to sell are the 3 determinants of context based sales skills.

The common types of sales skills available in the market are sales aptitude tests and sales personality tests. The former evaluates the core skills of a role, while the latter evaluates the personality attributes and behavioral traits to succeed in a sales role. Reasoning ability, critical thinking, attention to detail, numerical ability, verbal ability, and abstract reasoning are evaluated in sales aptitude tests. Situational judgement, role plays, sales simulations, and case studies are the type of tests in Sales personality evaluations.

Choosing Sales Assessments

To get best results out of sales assessments, you need to consider the following criteria.

Is the sales assessment in sync with your company’s needs?
Choose sales assessments that are in sync with your company’s needs

Is the sales assessment standardized?
Sales assessments must comprise valid and reliable questions.

Does it provide a smooth user experience?
The user interface of the sales assessment must be easy to use, easy to administer, and simple to understand.

Does the test provide reports and analytics?
The sales assessment must provide data insights and reports for analysis of candidate’s performance.

Does it provide fraud and cheating prevention mechanisms?
Online sales assessments must conduct the test in a safe environment with appropriate fraud and cheating checks.

Choice of sales assessments is important for the successful hiring of sales personnel. SkillRobo is an online pre-employment assessment solution that can be used for evaluating a variety of skills across industries. The fully customizable skill library in SkillRobo can be modified according to the job requirement.

Conclusion

From aggressive sales pitches to sophisticated sales strategies based on predictive analysis and AI – the sales industry has undergone a radical change. The hiring strategy also needs to be aligned to the changed sales landscape. A high performance sales team is one that comprises highly skilled and capable salespeople. Online pre-employment sales assessment solutions like SkillRobo empower the hiring teams to conduct effective assessment of salespeople.

Change the way you screen and shortlist salespeople with engaging and interactive pre-employment sales assessment from SkillRobo . Your search for faster and efficient recruitment ends here. Call us today for more information.