Sales and marketing today have evolved into more scientific, efficient practices thanks to raw computing power and advances in data science. While psychology has always played a part in sales, we now understand better which parts of the mind and personality most affect success in these fields due to the sheer amount of transactional data and analyses available.
Scientists are discovering that while we have many more answers to how the mind reacts, predicting sales success is not all that simple. Many recruiters make best guesses, but they won’t know how their candidates will behave on the job, until they are on the job – which is too late. They need more insight to avoid making expensive hiring mistakes.
It takes a variety of tools to understand candidates so that you hire only the most suitable salespeople. One of these tools is the APQ Sales Aptitude Assessment.
Hiring top performing salespeople is not simple
We’ve been advocating for the APQ Sales Aptitude Assessment for years due to its correlation with sales success. Every once in a while, we catch wind of someone else espousing some form of testing – but they usually miss the mark in some way.
Here’s an example. In an article on Forbes.com, writer Jim Keenan explains how optimism relates to sales success. Based on a test developed by Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania, optimists were shown to outperform pessimists by as much as 57 percent within a couple of years.
This makes sense, and I am not disputing the findings. However, optimism is just one of nine personality traits we test with the APQ Sales Aptitude Assessment. And you need all nine in ideal ranges to really make it in sales – as proven by test after test as well as correlation studies.
The nine traits for sales success
Here is a list of the nine traits tested for on the APQ:
- Need to Analyze
- Need to Serve
- Drive for Recognition
- Interpersonal Trust
These nine personality traits interplay one with the other to determine aptitude and suitability for job roles. As you can surmise, hiring an optimistic salesperson with a low intensity/drive score is not going to produce any great outcomes. So simply testing for optimism is not enough.
There are ten secondary traits which also play a factor and are evaluated with the APQ Sales Aptitude Assessment. These are:
- Achievement motivation
- Empathy to understand the needs of others
- Prospecting motivation
- Employment stability
- Receptivity to coaching/supervision
- Ability to handle confrontation
- Proficiency to manage time and resources
- Charisma to influence others to buy
- Confidence/persistence to close the sale
- Customer service orientation
As I stated in the opening paragraphs, predicting sales success is a complex task. Tests such as the APQ Sales Aptitude Assessment are the best way to gain some insight, but they are just a piece of the puzzle. Further training, study of the latest research, and experience can provide the rest.