July 31, 2013


Sales aptitude testing is an indispensable part of sales improvement. According to Craft Systems, 50 percent of outside salespeople’s results are attributable to their natural talent for the job. This is a sobering statistic for sales trainers like myself, but the good news is that it allows us to build better teams through testing and identifying the roles employees are best suited for.

If you are new to sales aptitude testing, here is a quick primer on how to implement it in your organization.

Step 1: Assess Existing Salespeople and Managers

Put all of your existing personnel through a sales aptitude test. At Asher, we provide a quick and affordable online assessment called the Craft Personality Questionnaire, which we are biased towards because we feel it is the most in-depth and effective.

Regardless of which assessment provider you choose, however, ensure that you don’t exclude anyone from the team. All sales employees, including support personnel and managers, should be assessed for aptitude. Those few people you fail to test might be the reasons your sales aren’t up to snuff.

Step 2: Reorganize

Once the results are in, you might discover a few surprises, such as an inside salesperson that has a natural talent for rainmaking and would be better suited to an outside sales hunter position. You might also discover that your revenue is suffering because some of your existing outside sales team would be better suited for support positions or even management.

Reorganize carefully based on test results and one-on-one interviews, making sure that you don’t crash production by destabilizing the team too suddenly with rapid personnel moves.

Step 3: Train

Once everyone has been placed in the best roles in accordance with their natural aptitude, it is time to reinforce that talent with formal training. The benefit of training after testing is that you don’t waste resources on people who will never make it in certain positions.

Follow up classroom training with one-on-one coaching for select personnel (top performers and those with the greatest potential) for even better results.

Step 4: Assess all Prospective Sales Employees

All future applicants should be tested before hiring. This will help filter out those who aren’t the right match for your needs much more effectively than just an interview.

It also makes for happier employees and easier onboarding, as you won’t be trying to fit a square peg into a round hole — as is the case when you hire someone as a manager who really should be in a sales or support position, for example.

Sales aptitude testing might be the missing factor in your sales organization’s success. If you have not considered it, I highly recommend you conduct your own research into just how effective it is and how much money you can save by preventing bad hires. As it is estimated that each bad hire can cost upwards of $150,000 in the first year, it makes sense to try to prevent them so you can focus on building a team of winners.