Sales assessments have become popular hiring tools in recent years. But do they actually work? Sales assessments usually consist of questionnaires or simulations that measure different aspects of a candidate's selling ability. Leaders can use them to assess everything from basic skills like communication and problem-solving to more nuanced qualities like motivation and competitive drive.
This blog post will explore the pros and cons of using various sales assessments and discuss some factors to consider when determining if one is suitable for your organization.
Top 5 Sales Assessments to Consider
Below are 5 commonly used assessments to consider:
1. The HBDI: What It Is and How It Works
The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument, or HBDI, is a well-known cognitive assessment tool. It's based on the theory that people think differently depending on which hemisphere of their brain is dominant. The test consists of 72 questions, and it takes most people about 20 minutes to complete.
Pros: HBDI is famous for a reason – it's effective. It can help you identify which specific cognitive functions are most robust in a potential employee, and this information can help assign them to the right team and role.
Cons: The HBDI isn't perfect. It's been criticized for being too subjective and not taking cultural differences into account.
2. The DISC Profile
DISC is another popular assessment tool, particularly in sales. It stands for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. The test comprises 28 statements, and respondents must rate how much they agree or disagree with each one. It normally takes approximately 10 minutes to finish.
Pros: The DISC assessment is popular because it's so versatile. It can be used to assess individual employees or to help create teams with complementary personalities.
Cons: The DISC assessment isn't perfect. It can be challenging to interpret results, and there's some debate about its accuracy.
3. The Myers-Briggs (MBTI)
The Myers-Briggs is a personality assessment that's been around for decades. It's based on the theory that people can be classified into one of 16 different personality types, based on their preferences in four areas: Introversion/Extroversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving. The test comprises 93 questions, and it takes most people about 45 minutes to complete.
Pros: The MBTI is popular because it's easy to use and understand. It can help identify which areas an employee might need development in, and it can also help managers learn how to best communicate with their team members.
Cons: The MBTI has been criticized for being too simplistic and not supported by scientific research.
4. The Hogan Personality Inventory
The Hogan Personality Inventory, or HPI for short, is a personality assessment that focuses on dark side traits. This means that it assesses things like narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy – traits that can potentially make someone a good salesperson and detrimental to a team.
Pros: The HPI can help identify red flags in potential employees. It can also help managers watch employees at risk of burnout or other problems.
Cons: The HPI has been criticized for being too blunt and not considering the positive aspects of dark side traits.
5. The Sales Potential Indicator
The Sales Potential Indicator, or SPI, is a sales-specific assessment that measures things like motivation, resilience, and risk-taking. It's designed to help identify which candidates have the potential to be successful in sales.
Pros: SPI is popular because it's so specific. It can help managers weed out candidates who don't have the right personality for sales, and it can also help identify which candidates might need more training or development.
Cons: Some critics have argued that it's too focused on sales-specific skills and doesn't consider other important factors like intelligence or emotional intelligence.
So, do assessments work for hiring salespeople? The answer is that they can be helpful, but they're not perfect. No assessment will give you all the answers, but it's essential to use them as one piece of the puzzle, alongside things like interviews and references.
Other essential actions that businesses can take include reducing/removing biases, preventing groupthink in early rounds, and focusing on values and non-trainable aspects.
The "perfect" candidates are getting hard to find (and get). Companies with an eye on ROI are investing more in training for both new hires (so that more succeed), and existing teams (so that more stay and are successful), in addition to improving recruiting practices.