The hiring process for salespeople can be tough. They sell – it’s what they do! So even a somewhat mediocre salesperson (or a good salesperson who’s not a cultural fit for your team), can end up charming the hiring team into thinking they’re a great fit.
They’re not to blame, of course – they’re just trying to get the job. But as a sales manager it can be frustrating to have salespeople on your team who are clearly not the right fit.
One tool that help cut through that confusion is an assessment. There are various kinds – DISC, Meyers-Briggs, Predictive Index – but the purpose when they’re used in hiring is almost always the same. It’s not usually the goal (or even possible) to identify whether or not someone is a good salesperson. You can, however, see if they’re a good fit.
Here are three tips for using behavior assessments in the sales hiring process.
Identify Your Ideal Profile
Have you used assessments with your existing sales team? If you have some data on assessments, and can match it to sales numbers, do you see any trends?
Often our clients will identify an ideal profile for their salespeople, based on the specific activities that are involved. For example, a sales team might have three roles – lead generators, account managers, and sales engineers. What are the characteristics of each of those functions? Some might need a little more drive and determination, while others might need more attention to detail.
What you may discover is that you have one consistent successful profile, or you have a few key characteristics that are evident in your successful sales reps regardless of their complete profiles. Any information you can identify will be helpful as you evaluate sales candidates. You may also want to include this information in your job descriptions.
Ignore the Charm
This one is a little harder, but if you can pull it off it’s really helpful!
If you’re looking at a report for a sales candidate, try to strip away everything you know about them as a person and just look at the report. Picture a generic salesperson with those characteristics – would they be a good fit?
Sales success is dependent on a lot of factors, not all of which can be easily captured in an assessment. Personal presence, for example, is important, but in the long term it might not overcome a bad behavioral match. If you can look at a candidate’s report and focus on their behavior style, you might identify someone who’s a great person but will always be pushing the boundaries and rubbing you the wrong way. That can save you a lot of headaches in the future.
Integrate into the Team
One thing to keep into account is that everyone on your team – including sales managers – has a behavioral and communication style. Just as the fit for a specific position is key, so is the fit within the team.
Does the sales manager like to set goals and develop plans, or would he prefer to have salespeople take the lead and only step in if there’s a problem? Does she like to socialize with the team, or would she rather stay completely professional? What’s the reporting style? How are meetings facilitated?
You might find a salesperson who checks all your boxes, but if they clash with the sales manager, it’s going to be a difficult fit.
Many assessments provide insight into how people prefer to be motivated and managed, and it’s worth taking some time to review that information. If your sales manager is unwilling or unable to meet the candidate’s needs, they might not be the best fit.
I hope these three tips are helpful for you as you integrate assessments into your hiring process. What additional advice do you have? Share your thoughts in the comments!