How can you be sure you’re hiring the best person for your sales position? You can go by instinct, or by looking carefully at qualifications on a resume. Hiring great salespeople can sometimes feel like making a lucky guess. But sales recruiting doesn’t have to be a guessing game. You can hire for the specific behaviors that make a successful salesperson with behavior assessment tools.
What is a Behavior Assessment for Hiring?
Many hiring decisions are subjective – at best, a well-informed guess about how a candidate will fill the role and fit into the team. However, behavioral assessment tools give an objective view of how a candidate will perform in the role and work with teams across your organization. A behavior assessment as part of pre-employment testing allows hiring managers to compare candidates to job benchmarks and measure key competencies for the position.
Behavioral assessments don’t just gauge how well a potential employee will do in the job. They also measure how the candidate will fit in with your team and your broader organization. This is important because no employee can do a job all on their own. Teamwork, effective communication, and collaborative behaviors are critical to making your whole team work seamlessly together.
Behavior assessments can also be used to assess strengths and weaknesses and how to address them on the job. And if you’re looking for potential future sales leaders, a pre-hire assessment can indicate if a candidate has leadership potential you can nourish once they’re hired.
Behavioral Assessments for Sales Recruiting
So why are behavioral assessments so critical in sales recruiting?
Hiring top sales talent is a delicate business. After all, unlike many fields where a professional degree or line items on a resume are a good indicator of fitness for a job, sales is a field with more subjective requirements.
But mistakes in sales recruiting can have big consequences – after all, sales brings in most of your revenue. You can’t afford to hire the wrong people.
Luckily, behavioral assessment tools can help. Here are some reasons why it’s smart to use them when recruiting new sales team members.
Competition is Fierce
The search for elite sales reps or sales leaders is a competitive field. Truly exceptional salespeople have plenty of market power – it’s not a job just anyone can do well. And it’s not a job your company can grow and thrive without. The difference that an elite sales rep makes versus a mediocre hire can mean the difference between a great revenue year and one where your growth struggles.
Think Long-Term Fit
Hiring a salesperson who excels might seem at first like they just need to be good at one thing: making sales. But the sales recruiting process is really about much more than just hiring people who know how to sell. And this is because salespeople don’t work alone – they need to fit well into your sales team.
If you want to build a sales team that works together to get better results year after year, you need to hire salespeople who are the right fit for your company culture. That means they have behaviors that fit well into the demands of the role, and help them partner with the whole team. And you want to be on the lookout for talent who could be great leaders in a few years, with the right training and nurturing. Doing so requires more thought and effort up front. But it provides a solid foundation for the future of your sales organization and your business.
Thinking about the long-term talent plan for your sales organization will eventually help you stand out from your competitors. When your sales teams don’t collaborate well together, or if they don’t communicate effectively with other critical departments, your organization as a whole will suffer. Behavioral assessments will help fill in the gaps about soft skills like collaboration and communication that might make a big difference on your team.
Avoiding Expensive Mistakes
Hiring the wrong person for a job has big costs – in money, in time, and in team morale. Why do you need to worry about hiring the wrong person?
With business in recovery mode now, this is a great time to make sure you have all the right players on the right teams.
Your ROI on Time Invested
Hiring is typically a long process that takes up time and resources. This investment of time isn’t just limited to the hiring manager. Other sales team members and even some leaders may be involved in the search and interview process, taking up time they could be using to drive revenue instead.
Are you regularly getting to an advanced stage of the sales recruitment process and finding out that candidates who looked good on paper actually aren’t the right fit for your team? It might be time to a better way to select the high-potential performers before you waste time on rounds of interviews.
High Turnover Means High Costs
Or perhaps you’ve experienced this too-common scenario – a promising new hire starts on your sales team, but quits soon after they begin.
There are plenty of reasons they might be leaving. Maybe they’re not a cultural fit for your sales organization. Or perhaps they realize they’re not a good fit for the parameters of the job itself. Either way, you’re now forced to go through the rounds of searching and interviewing again in the hope of finding those top sales performers to replace them.
Frequent turnover is a sign you’re not looking for the right things in your hiring process. Your recruiting efforts should be ensuring that your sales hires are the perfect fit for the job and for your team. But they should also require that your organization is the perfect fit for them too. Otherwise, you’ll be facing and trying to fix a costly turnover problem.
Soft Costs Matter Too
Recruiting issues can have repercussions beyond time and money. Consistently leaving sales positions unfilled for months at a time while you struggle with hiring puts a lot of pressure on your current sales team. They may struggle to meet their goals if your team is understaffed, or if your sales managers are in hiring interviews frequently. Without a fully staffed sales team, your sales reps won’t be able to bring in all the sales to enable your company to grow.
But hiring the wrong people just to staff up your sales team is also a costly mistake. One bad hire can shake your sales team’s confidence in leadership. A pattern of bad hires demonstrates a carelessness or an ignorance of what true sales performance looks like. Furthermore, neither of those inspires loyalty and confidence in your employees.
This is doubly true when it comes to sales management – bad hires on the management team can demoralize and demotivate many sales team members at once.
Investing in your Sales Recruiting and Hiring Process
But what if you could reduce the time it takes to hire a salesperson while making sure you hired the candidate who is the best fit? First of all, you would gain many benefits. Sure, you could pay sales recruiting firms hefty fees to see if that works.
Or you could turn to an outsourced expert sales leader while you take time to reflect on what your organization truly needs from your talent. Sometimes, that’s the right step. But you can also invest in the right tools for your hiring process, like behavioral assessment tools, to achieve that goal.
Sales leaders often rely on their instincts to read and assess potential candidates. That’s natural, as part of being a successful salesperson is the ability to read and persuade people. But even the most experienced sales leader has blind spots where a poor candidate can slip in. Or perhaps you’re too persuasive, leading qualified candidates who might not be a good fit to accept a role they’re not right for.
Either way, hiring is difficult. The objectivity of the behavioral assessment can help make your sales recruitment process as efficient as possible. It’s a small additional investment of time and money that will yield positive results now and down the road.
How to Effectively Use Behavioral Assessments in Your Sales Recruiting
Adding a behavioral assessment component to your pre-employment process isn’t just about adding a few formulaic questions to your pre-hire screening. Every sales team is different – you want to customize the assessment to make sure it meets your needs for this particular role.
What Candidates Need to Succeed
First, think about your existing sales team:
- What behaviors have you noticed in your current sales reps that makes them successful in their roles?
- What qualities and competencies make them excellent additions to the team?
- Where are the weaknesses in the team as it currently exists, and what skills or behaviors could help fill those weak spots?
If you’re filling an existing role, you can also look back at the previous salespeople in that role to determine some behaviors that helped or hindered their success. This can help you decide what you need to be screening for when you’re hiring.
Have you discovered a pattern of hiring sales reps who seem like a great fit until they are faced with a challenge common to your industry? Or maybe have had difficulties when working with another department in your organization? Tailor your behavioral assessment to seek out these positive or negative behaviors. This way, you can avoid making the same hiring mistakes you’ve made in the past.
Strong Soft Skills
While hiring for specific hard skills is always important, don’t forget about the soft skills necessary to shine in a role.
Sales requires many soft skills like communication and tact. Therefore, you want to design your behavioral assessment to account for the whole spectrum of skills candidates will need to succeed at your organization.
And don’t worry too much about the skills that you can easily train in a new employee, like industry specifics when you’re hiring lower-level sales reps. You want to screen primarily for the intangible and intrinsic behaviors that make your salespeople great.
Look Forward a Few Years
The best sales recruitment processes aren’t just about filling jobs in your sales organization as it exists today. Think about the future of your sales team and your organization as a whole.
What do you hope your team will be accomplishing in five years?
Will you be exploring new industries, continuously leading your industry in innovation, or expanding into new regions around the globe?
You want to hire salespeople who will thrive in today’s organization and in the future too.
You will always need a steady supply of talented leaders, and hiring from within is often the best way to get those leaders with existing institutional knowledge. As you’re developing your behavioral assessment, remember to include elements that look for strong evidence of leadership skills. This applies even if you’re hiring for lower-level employees – you can make a plan to nurture that leadership talents over the years.
A Thoughtful Sales Recruiting Helper
Behavioral assessments are a powerful tool for hiring successful salespeople – but they’re not the whole story. They’re just one part of the whole hiring picture. Reviewing resumes for experience, calling referrals, and interviewing thoughtfully are all still important. But in the complex world of sales recruiting, behavioral assessments help provide a more complete picture of your applicants and how they would fit into your team.
Turn your sales hiring process from a guessing game to an informed and objective decision with a targeted behavioral assessment in the pre-hire phase. There’s no time too early (or too late) to start.
- building a new sales team from scratch?
- hiring to replace departing account executives?
- moving towards a new strategic direction?
If any of these match your situation, we highly recommend incorporating these assessments into your hiring process.
Your sales organization is only as good as the people who do the work every day. Hence, make sure you have the right people for the job.
In a critical department like sales, a few excellent hires can provide:
- increased revenue
- improved organizational effectiveness
- the development of your future sales leaders
We Can Help with Sales Recruiting
Helping business leaders grow their companies and overachieve their sales goals is our passion.
Let our team of experts help you find the right people for your team and get your company reaching record-breaking sales. Schedule your FREE consultation by filling out our contact form.