Predicting the performance of sales candidates – can it be done?


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Quite simply, the answer is yes – you can predict the performance of sales candidates.

But it can’t be done by gut-feeling, or making assumptions about an individual’s ‘go-get-em’ personality. It needs to be done by carefully understanding what it takes to be a successful salesperson, and then assessing whether those qualities are present.

Firstly, it is important to know that only 26 per cent of salespeople have the ability to be high achievers. And this isn’t just some made-up number – it is data that has been uncovered from the assessment of more than one million salespeople by the Objective Management Group (OMG).

So how do you identify the ones who only make up a quarter of those in the sales profession? There are four critical elements:

  1. Desire
  2. Responsibility
  3. Commitment
  4. Outlook

And while desire had always been slightly ahead of commitment in its level of importance – recently commitment has actually become the single most fundamental factor in determining the degree of success a salesperson will see. So why this shift? Dave Kurlan from OMG explains in this article where this change has occurred, and it is down to the fact that today we have to sell differently than the way we have over the past 20 years, for the reasons stated below:

  • More competition for less business
  • More difficult to reach decision makers
  • Prospects are much more educated when they meet with salespeople
  • Selling has become more sophisticated but salespeople have not kept up
  • There is more resistance than ever before
  • Prospects are generally more skeptical
  • Prospects are placing more pressure on price
  • Companies are pressuring salespeople to sell value
  • There is more pressure to perform without effective coaching to support it
  • Thanks to the recession, there is less money available to spend

So how does this relate back to predicting the performance of salespeople? If you have an accurate, fool-proof way to uncover someone’s level of commitment (to do whatever it takes to achieve sales – ethically of course) then you are well on your way to being able to predict whether they will be able to come on board in your business, and succeed.

It must be stressed though, that commitment isn’t something that can be seen from the outside – it is an internal driver that is extremely difficult to measure without the right tools. (Check out this blog from Dave Kurlan to see what we mean.)

However, before you think this is the magic bullet for your business to grow – unfortunately it’s not. As there are other many other factors to consider when assessing sales candidates for their ability to perform well.

From having the right mindset, to the will to sell, and essential sales competencies, these are all important capabilities that need to be tested for.

The good news is, there is a way to accurately measure these various factors required – using a sales-specific pre-hire assessment. And we’re pretty sure you will be astounded by the results.

Download a SAMPLE Sales Candidate Assessment and see for yourself the incredible insight that you can gain when assessing your next candidates.


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