Research shows that the use of validated talent assessment tools is associated with higher productivity, lower employee turnover, and better corporate financial performance (Huselid, 1995; Terpstra & Rozell, 1993). However, not all talent assessments are equally effective.
Based on O*NET information, the core activities of sales jobs include: (a) locating new clients or customers, (b) determining customers’ needs, (c) providing information about products or services (e.g., features, benefits, pricing), (d) convincing customers to purchase products or services, (e) negotiating sale prices and terms, and (f) providing follow-up services.
Speaking: talking to others to convey information effectively.
Conscientiousness: being dependable, reliable, attentive to detail, and trustworthy.
Active listening: giving full attention to what others are saying, taking time to understand points made.
Asking appropriate questions: Discovery questions, Probing questions, Problem-Resolution Questions, Agitation Questions, Solution- and Feeling- Based Questions, Needs-Based Questions, Feature-Benefit Questions, Objection-Testing Questions, and Yes/No Questions.
Adjustment: poise, flexibility, maintaining composure, and dealing calmly with high stress situations.
Service orientation: actively looking for ways to help people - friendliness, responsiveness, courteousness, and cooperativeness.
Interpersonal orientation: being pleasant, cooperative, sensitive to others, and preferring to associate with other team members.
Social perceptiveness: maintaining an awareness of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Achievement orientation: setting personal goals, persisting in the face of obstacles, and willing to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Time management: managing one’s own time.
Persuasion: persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
Cognitive ability is a strong predictor of performance for a wide range of jobs (Hunter & Hunter, 1984). However, research that is specific to sales occupations is mixed. Certain sales jobs require high levels of critical thinking and problem solving, such as those that require consultative selling and ongoing relationship management. Other sales jobs (e.g. retail sales) do not usually require high levels of cognitive ability.
The talent assessment strategy you use to hire and retain high-performing sales talent is critical to your long-term success. Without the right sales people in place, your company will struggle to obtain profitable revenue growth. HireSmart can improve your sales production based on decades of recruiting, hiring, and retaining high-performing sales talent for a wide variety of businesses.
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