Sales Testing – Sometimes We’ll Rain On Your Parade!

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One thing I have frequently observed is that, at times, hiring managers have a tendency to ‘talk themselves into a candidate’.  This happens for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s as simple as the fact that the candidate is personable to the extreme and knows all of the right answers to the interviewers questions. At other times the recruiter has real pressure to fill the role and has had very few candidates apply, so it is a case of hiring the best of a bad or small bunch.

A frequent situation is when the hiring manager lends great credence to the candidate’s industry experience while downplaying the candidate’s obvious weakness in other areas.  An example of this is when the candidate is a proven sales farmer but lacks the hunter sales style that the recruiter is actually looking to hire.

Experts have written volumes to explain the reasons why people make decisions that make no sense, based on the facts and evidence that is right in front of them. There are no doubt, many reasons why a hiring manager will talk himself into hiring a candidate despite all the evidence that is arguing against it.

An often over-looked benefit of using SalesTestOnline.com is our role as counselors and providers of sober second thought since we have nothing vested in whether the candidate is hired or not. While our sales testing is fully automated, we support it with full and unlimited telephone advice whenever you need it. We have done a lot of testing over the last 32 years and we are pleased to share our insights and advice or just to serve as a sounding board.

Whether we are confirming your nagging doubts, revealing new insights or just answering some specific questions, our approach is practical and very direct. Even if your ultimate decision is to hire the individual anyway, our insights will often assist you to give the candidate the best shot at success. And of course sometimes we’ll rain on your parade. Of course when you stop and think about the time, money and grief you’ve avoided you’ll be happy we did!

Sales Testing – Is Your Sales Test Scalable?

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When considering implementing a sales test in your organization, it makes perfect sense to first feel comfortable not only with the accuracy of the test but also the relevance of the information that the test reveals.

Almost as important as accuracy is whether the sales testing system can be scaled to fit the growing requirements of your sales organization. Of course, for many small companies, scalability is not important. On the other hand, if yours is a large or growing company, you should ensure that the sales testing system is not only scalable, but more importantly, is it scalable in the way that is most convenient to your present and future needs. Though not an exhaustive list, below are 9 areas worth addressing with your sales test vendor.

Languages

A sales test that is only available in English can be a major hindrance if you plan to expand overseas. Being forced to use a different sales testing instrument to address the language issue is awkward and inconvenient. It is not just the inconvenience but also the fact that by using different instruments your ability to compare individuals and groups based on the same metrics is seriously hampered.

Different Sales Roles

By now it should go without saying that sales roles can differ very dramatically within the same company. If your sales test is not adaptable to differing requirements of your sales roles such as inbound, outbound, account management and really all the permutations of what sales really means, then whose needs is the sales test serving? The sales test should be completely customizable to your needs for all of the sales related positions for which you are hiring.

Management and Supervisory Roles

In our experience here at SalesTestOnline.com clients who use our sales test will very often want to test for other roles as well such as sales management and supervisory functions. Being able to use the same vendor and platform to test for these other roles is convenient and seamless, just as it should be!

Integration with Applicant Tracking System

Sales testing software that cannot be integrated into your applicant tracking system is going to be a real headache and a bottleneck in your recruiting and hiring plans. Make sure both your ATS and your sales testing software can ‘talk’ to each other.

Multiple Devices

Most sales testing today is done by applicants on their own devices away from the presence of the interviewer. Given that for many people their only access to the web is via their phone or tablet it is extremely important that when you scale up that you ensure your sales test can be taken on all devices.

Easy Test Administration

Believe it or not, even today some sales test vendors expect you to ask an applicant to sit for 1-2 hours in order to complete a sales test. In our experience this is not only unnecessary but it is also unrealistic and impractical. Anything beyond about 15 minutes is problematic when testing in any serious numbers.

Reporting and Analysis

Analysis of current and past test results as well as integration with actual sales results is more than just a convenience when testing hundreds or even thousands of reps each year. Bulk uploading of testing data into a spreadsheet alongside your other metrics should be considered a basic requirement if you are scaling up.

Multiple Managers Access

Are there limits to how many managers that may have access to the test results? Can access be tailored so that managers either see or are restricted from seeing what is appropriate to their level of authority. If you are testing sales people all over the country or around the world you may wish to take the testing down to some local level such as a branch or region, for example. Being able to give access to some and not others in these and similar scenarios is critical.

Cost

The cost of sales testing varies dramatically. Any Google search for sales testing, sales assessment or related terms will find literally thousands of potential vendors, many of whom are fine for testing a couple dozen applicants. On the other hand, if you plan to test in the hundreds, thousands or more, the cost becomes a primary issue. As a general rule you can plan on testing 3-5 applicants for each sales role to be filled. You may find though that a set yearly price that enables you to test an unlimited number of applicants is actually the best and most economical approach. Our clients who use this option find this offers additional benefits in being able to have any and all applicants take the sales assessment test.

Conclusion

The nine areas above are a great place to start if you are doing research into sales testing for your growing sales organization. We have a great deal of experience with this. I would be very pleased to speak with you personally to learn about your plans and objectives and I am happy to share any of our insights.