May 24, 2013


As I mention often when training and consulting, the idea that anyone can sell professionally is nonsense, just like the idea that anyone can play the cello or basketball professionally. While skills can be taught that improve performance somewhat — even in those with little natural sales aptitude — there should be some inherent talent present in order to really get anywhere.

The answer for sales organizations to determine both who to hire and in whom to invest the best training resources is to perform aptitude testing on existing staff and all hiring candidates.

Otherwise, you just might be filling your ranks with personnel that simply do not have what it takes to make it as salespeople, and who might actually drive good salespeople away.

The Craft Personality Questionnaire

The Craft Personality Questionnaire (CPQ) is a thorough, affordable assessment comprised of 75 questions. It rates a person on a scale from one to 100 on eight basic personality traits. These scores are then plotted on a chart that indicates the ideal score range for success in each kind of sales position.

I firmly believe this is the best sales aptitude test on the market. Furthermore, I believe that if you are not using it in your company — on ALL of your salespeople and managers — you are at a serious competitive advantage.

This is why we place aptitude testing at the start of our Sales Improvement Roadmap — it is that important.

Build a World-Class Sales Team

Like a coach selecting the “diamonds in the rough” that he or she will build into a game-winning force, sales managers and executives can use aptitude assessments to choose the best possible candidates for each type of role, whether it be inside sales (farmers), outside sales (hunters), or managers.

This is markedly different from the old-school process of “revolving door hiring” that recruits and fires repeatedly until somehow a team comes together that manages to make quota.

Take the guesswork out of the equation as much as possible:

  • Assess your people
  • Reassign based on sales aptitude
  • Put hiring candidates through testing as well, and use the results to place them in the proper roles
  • Train everyone based on the specific skills they need in their roles

This process works. Companies that adopt this approach enjoy less turnover and lower training costs, not to mention a much healthier bottom line.

Stretch to Success

A recent addition to our sales aptitude  program is the Stretch to Success Development Manual. This is a 133 page manual which helps candidates whose scores fall somewhat outside the ideal ranges “stretch” those areas of their personality with specific tactics.

Combine this with the consulting from our Certified CPQ Specialists and, all in all, I think what we offer in terms of sales career aptitude assessments and guidance around this topic exceeds anything else you will find in the marketplace.

But don’t take my word for it. Request a sample CPQ assessment report so you can see the power of this tool for yourself.