Test High-Priority Sales Skills Before You Hire

Role plays and pre-interview exercises can help you hire the best candidates for your Sales Organisation.

test new sales hire skills

Question: Has your Sales Organisation designed role-plays and exercises to test high-priority skills and traits required for all sales positions – and are the current role-plays and exercises effective in testing the high-priority skills and traits required for the position?

The Reality 

According to our research at ThinkSales Global, only 30.5% of Sales Organisations have designed role-plays and exercises to test high-priority skills and traits required for all sales positions.

In addition, 26.3% of companies rate their confidence as Outstanding that their current role-plays and exercises are effective in testing the high-priority skills and traits required for the position.

The ‘Sales Talent’ Problem

Many companies could benefit from firming up their hiring process – particularly when it comes to role-playing and exercises to identify specific sales ability and other skills necessary for the job.

The reality is that when a person is hired who either does not have the skills or attitude to excel in their sales role in your organisation, the lost revenue costs can be high – not to mention the time and costs involved in hiring the person in the first place.

Test skills before you hire

Making exercises harder in sales interviews can uncover how sales executives will perform under pressure – and go a long way to demonstrate their true selling potential.

The pre-interview assignment

Introduce a pre-interview assignment to weed out candidates that are looking for any job – not specifically your job. You are specifically testing for passion around sales and a love for engaging with customers and providing them with solutions.

You can create a short questionnaire as well as an excel spreadsheet assignment to see whether they will be able to follow processes and meet their metrics.

The skills you need to evaluate include:

  1. Numeracy: This is an often over-looked skill. Create an assignment that tests whether the candidate understands numbers, profit margins, and where their customers will get the revenue from to purchase the solution on offer, and what that same solution can then save or make them in the long run.
  2. Excel: Some B2B sales positions require sales executives to use Excel to calculate quotes or ROI scenarios. A basic excel assignment will test their current excel skills level.
  3. Business proposal writing: Can your candidate put a business proposal together? 

Do This: 

During the interview process, the team leader who is managing the hiring process has the opportunity to role-play with the candidate. As a sales executive, they should relish the challenge to show off their skills – if they stumble or are shy, they might not have the sales DNA required for the position.

Design role plays that test the following:

  1. Whether the candidate has sold in a similar selling environment.
  2. That you are matching farmers to farming roles and hunters to hunting roles. You don’t want transactional sales types in solutions sales roles, channel reps in direct roles, or reps from big companies trying to master selling in a small company.
  3. Does the candidate’s competencies match the buying cycle length of your business?
  4. If they are selling a technical product, do they have the ability to explain complex details in an easy-to-understand manner or do they default to jargon?
  5. Can they demonstrate an ability to sell value in a price-sensitive market to defend margins (ie selling without discounting)?
  6. Can they be aggressive in opening new doors for a predominantly new business environment?

Assess the health of your sales organisation

Designing role-plays and exercises to test high-priority skills and traits required for all sales positions and using them to test high-priority skills during the interview process are two of 322 measures of a world-class Sales Organisation.

ThinkSales Global is a specialist revenue engineering consultancy.

We assist our clients to deliver market-defying results through strategic and tactical intentions within a Sales Organisation Maturity Model that addresses the five key pillars of high-performing Sales Organsations, namely:

  1. Competitive Strategy
  2. Customer Engagement
  3. Sales Talent
  4. Sales Management
  5. Sales Enablement

How does your Sales Organisation stack up? Find out by taking the ThinkSales 5 Pillar Strategic Sales Assessment™.

This first-of-its-kind 360-degree gap analysis report enables your Sales Leadership team to assess its strengths and detect weaknesses and impediments to revenue growth across the five pillars.

Click here for more information on the ThinkSales 5 Pillar Strategic Sales Assessment™.