Which factor drives winning sales teams, excellent reps or excellent managers? Through our findings, there is a clear and vindictive answer – while excellent reps with an average manager will outsell a team of average reps with an excellent manager in the short term, their advantage will quickly taper.
So the trade-off is eminent, but what better place than this and what better time than now to experiment!
Having an assortment of qualified candidates is the perfect medicine for many sales hire problems.
For example, when your organizations ponders on the reluctance of letting people go who aren’t performing go, it is as though they believe “the devil you know” in a sales territory is better than “the devil you don’t.” Or, as one sales leader told us, “I think in this case bad breath is better than no breath.”
Really? Is that the best you can do? How about building your bench in such a manner that your sales task force cannot reckon with your decision. Sounds decisive? Well, it’s powerful as well. But then how do you build this elusive dream team, this perfect sales taskforce bench?
Without a solid recruitment process in place, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to hire salespeople. Key steps in the process, such as coordinating second interviews or extending offers, may be delayed days or even weeks.
Inconsistencies within the process, such as how data curated assessments or pre-employment checks are being used, may also affect productivity or retention down the road.
So as a sales manager what should you do?
Start a process and stay judicious to it.
Your internal human resources (HR) group or recruiting partner is an excellent resource to help analyze what’s working and not working within your process, so you can figure out how to best move candidates through the pipeline.
As you develop a recruitment process, watch for red-flags and how you deal with them.
For instance, is it difficult to schedule in-person interviews because decision makers are traveling? Consider telephone and Skype interviews for your first round and in-person meetings for candidates who make it to the next round. This keeps the recruiting process moving and strong candidates warm.
This is best left to your software which can screen a larger volume of candidates at a faster pace, freeing you to do other things (such as all that traveling). At this stage, prescreening questions that ask about licensing or education level, for example, explore whether candidates meet the minimum requirements for the position which ultimately reduces the mundane aspect of your work. These factors often determine whether a candidate is ultimately suitable, so it’s best to screen for these skills up front to save you and the candidate from embarking on a lengthy, fruitless interview process. Simple and efficient, right?
Conduct assessments which are sales force centric
Data curated assessments which exactly know which competencies and behavioral checks should be made so that you get your perfect sales taskforce served to you in a platter to devour.
Building an effective process is the key to success
Whether a company is making one hire or 100. A solid process helps establish important milestones within the hiring lifecycle and identify measures of success so that hiring stays on target.
A good recruiting strategy backed with a data curated assessment process will serve any sales organization, large or small while taking your mundane processes for a toss. It takes discipline, but in many respects the process and tactics are no different than managing a good sales pipeline. Make it as routine as your daily prospecting and opportunity management tasks, and you will reap valuable, long-term results from these habits.
Originally posted August 23, 2017
Quality sales drives on team effort and not one individual person. Over time, the market landscape and customers have changed to flesh that statement into truth. And in this alternative reality, the everyday salesperson pivots into the spotlight, becoming what you may call a central point of contact.
He or she understands the product, its complexity, and delivers on its nuances to evolved customers with touch points to the marketing, technology and product teams. You get the picture. You need great people to fill these pivotal roles – roles that drive your business.
Funnily enough, pivots are aplenty in the talent market; but what about ones that fit perfectly into your organizational doorknob? Ah. Do we have your attention now?
Touch Points with Talent Acquisition
To sales leaders tasked with hard numbers aimed at profit margins and growth, recruitment may just equate to an unwelcome distraction – a necessary evil best passed along, and left to, the HR department. Thing is, the wrong (or right) people categorically impact company KPIs, sales culture, account retention and even growth.
In fact, today’s talent-driven market demands a close relationship with your HR department. It’s worth its weight in gold, this partnership.
Having put that out of the way, this article is aimed to unveil trends that matter to sales directors looking to acquire and retain the best talent. So, without further ado, let’s just take a grand look at what we have to say.
Starting from Within: The Salary Game
We start with this because remuneration has never always been the most important criteria for candidates, but it rarely does fall out of the top four in that regard. On one side of the coin, you have sales executives ready to ask for more, even at fairly junior levels. On the flipside, hiring managers identify that expectations don’t match commercial realities or visible skillsets.
Your most talented organizational fit is just as likely to gloss over your offering figures as much a newcomer with the potential to be a top performer. But this doesn’t mean that expectations must be met to stay competitive; just that it requires additional thinking.
Is it possible for sales leaders to work with HR to better leverage strong team culture, company brand, or powerful learning and development programs in lieu of a salary bump? Or, do you require adjustment in tandem to market realities? Of course, the latter’s only possible with a sound grasp around who’s paying what, and for whom.
Nonetheless, whatever the truth – it is a matter of cross-discussion between sales leaders and the HR function.
Sales Recruitment: Streamline Your Process
57% cite hiring top performers as key to business success. But they’re just as unaware as to whether they’re hiring that top performer.
If there’s one thing we’ve noticed, it’s that hiring managers continue to miss out sales talent because of an annoyingly long recruitment process. The longer you make them wait, the more likely they are to look elsewhere.
At the same time, organization face the dilemma of cutting time at the expense of quality within the recruitment process. However, the advent of assessment technology renders that notion irrelevant. Especially, with how it’s now possible to reduce cost and time, while boosting quality of hire.
Look at how Mettl helped Berger Paints not just hire the best salesperson, but the right one.
Sales Alternatives to New Talent: Retention as a Recruitment Tool
45% cite that they have no idea why their top performers succeed. In fact, L&D programs often fail at identifying those competencies that make top performers, rendering programs useless for employees aspiring for the same.
For all that effort you put into talent acquisition, it’s often more cost effective to retain and train. In August 2017, BMS Index suggested that salespeople are unlikely to last more than two years at a company. In terms of how it impacts your organization – these employees tend to take their skills and experience with them.
At the same time, dissatisfaction upon departure may pose a risk to your brand reputation. But research suggests that most attrition related departure focus on career development or newer avenues to improve individual skill. This provides organizations with a reservoir of opportunities to tap strong employees with well-structured L&D engines that transition to long-term loyalty.
Conclusion: A Winning Approach to Sales-Talent Acquisition Strategy
In three steps, to attract, engage and secure the right talent for your sales function is no easy job. But with an understanding of what your employees need along with business requirement, you acquire the opportunity to tailor the recruitment process on an individual level. That’s a brilliant experience to deliver, and in today’s world, experience is exactly what talent desires.
We’ve based much of our findings on an extensive survey conducted by an internal team in 2017. You can find more insights here.
Originally posted September 12, 2017
Motivation will almost always beat mere talent – Norman Ralph Augustine
Motivation and talent are the two cornerstones to the success of every winning sales team. But from a nascent perspective, how do you find the right balance of motivation & talent to inspire your sales workforce.
We summarized what industries have been going after for a long time and uncovered interesting insights. So here is an infographic. Consider it a gift to the precursor which we will give out in the expanse of this month.
Read on to find out more in this infographic:
Suppose, for a moment, that you are an aggregator of X component. You may have to decide between two possible business models, and you are uncertain about which will benefit you most. You can take your product directly to the market, where in all likeliness you will be shelling out Y number of X to an indiscriminate set of employees. Or you can align yourself with a organization where you will be able to sell big numbers but the embargo would require you to feed in constant amounts at a fixed price.
In other words, you must choose between a B2B and B2C model. If you currently face some version of this question, you may be wondering what the differences are in selling B2B or B2C. For some guidance, read on:
Sales is sales, right? If you stand with certain competencies and skill set you can sell your product nonetheless to corporates, aggregators alike, be it B2B or B2C! Well, this notion isn’t true for most parts anymore.
Intricate dissimilarities in terms of approach, intent and maybe process which have been ignored for ages. Although, these ignored facts are no less important for that kick-ass sales team we have all dreamt of, B2B or B2C.
The Sales Call Stigma, how is B2B similar to B2C?
As a first, they both require an array of special process, the prospecting, nurturing, and the works. You know it!
The difference in push – B2B vs B2C
The Logical and the Illogical Difference
B2C or retail sales are more so than never driven by emotion, a perceivers’ immediate need and non-recurring. Whereas B2B or corporate sales are pre-planned, rational and can be recurring.
e-Commerce has changed the situation a bit but in essence this differentiation stays and cannot be affected much in the future.
Cheap vs Expensive.
Subjectivity is in galore here, but on an average account, B2C deals have a much lower price point and are less likely to be paid out over in dividends. A decisive crossover where B2B sales involve products such as air conditioner supplies and such.
B2B services are on the end face of the coin are often retainer-based over a long term.
One-off vs Relationship.
B2C sales contracts are rarely done on prior relationships and seldom result in a continued manner so-to-speak. On the flipside, in the B2B arena there are instances where the entire process is based on the foundation of prior professional relationship.
While there are many B2C sales people with years of experience, the learning (and success) curve is certainly shorter than in B2B.
Your B2B workforce must all be team players and executive decision makers in addition of knowing their products at the back of their hand. That can take years to develop and the right kind of skill to make it work.
So what’s difficult?
B2C sales forces are accustomed to a relatively brief buy-sell–buy cycle and a much closer association with marketing and e-commerce. With no respite against a B2C crowd, switching in between two different business functions gets a little frustrating for the manager as well as the salesforce. Thus, the time to choose wisely is here.
On the other hand, moving from B2B to a retail environment might prove to be too intense for the average B2B sales professional, with little of the predictability or planning they are used to.
While building an efficient & effective sales workforce, organizations should take the background into account while hiring. Are they the right find and the perfect fit? Is there a transition from B2B or B2C?
Many companies find that significant training is required to achieve a high level of sales performance as these transitions present themselves. But the fear isn’t unjustified and it’s not unsolvable. Find yourself a recruiting partner which does the ground work and benchmarking for you to find the perfect semblance between efficiency and efficacy.
The decision lies in your hands.
Originally posted September 1, 2017
You’re bound to have fallen prey to generational jargon – baby boomers, millennials, neo-millennials or Gen Z. But what exactly do they imply in the grand scheme of things? For organizations and business units alike, they’re representative of a makeover within the workforce, a bout of inevitable change.
In 2016, the Pew Research Center reported that the millennials had taken over baby boomers as America’s largest living generation – at roughly 75 million – with around 53.5 million young adults at work. Probe a little deeper and you’ll notice that Gen-Z constitutes a significant portion of the statistic as well, positioned at 22% of the current living population of the USA.
But beyond the statistical overview, these generations present business leaders – most of whom emerge from an earlier generation – with an opportunity to reshape the workplace.
Under similar pretext, Chief People Officer at Apollo Munich – Dr. Sriharsha Achar occupied digital centre stage to present his insights on the matter. A powerful presence in the HR ecosystem, Dr. Achar highlighted key issues from restructuring retention & recruitment strategies to realigning corporate culture, addressing a packed audience in the Mettl powered webinar.
Based on popular opinion, we’ve gathered some of the biggest insights from the 60-minute session. And trust us when we say that it’ll whet your appetite for more.
Getting the Message Right: Who Are You Recruiting?
In a survey by the ADP Research Institute, millennial employees emerged receptive to social rewards over compensation. While they are just as result driven – if not more – than their earlier predecessors, millennials tend to prefer work that makes a difference in the world. It might sound grandiose, but we say that in the broadest sense possible.
In conclusion, organizations that stress financial outcomes as their only goal are likely to falter when it comes to recruiting and engaging top-tier mission-driven millennials. It plays out similarly with their Gen Z counterparts as well.
During the session, Dr. Achar was quoted saying, “Financial security and compensation may rank in importance to a certain degree, but expect millennials and Gen Z denizens to show greater interest in working for companies that demonstrate a positive impact on the society.”
Generational Similarities: Why You Must Alter Workplace Values
It’s been noted that workplace culture works as a direct proponent to productivity within these two generations. In a survey conducted by Randstad across 4,000 new-age employees, it was revealed that:
Flexibility in terms of working off-site, on projects outside core job functions and a revamped vacation structure also echoed as important to both generations. Yes, each generation does have its own take on workplace perks and employee benefits, but the commonalities are enormous. How you leverage them just might define your foothold in the vastly aggressive market in the decades to come.
We’re going to be depending on an era that works to live and not the other way around. Working isn’t their absolute goal in life, but a simple means to an end; something that gives them access to what they’re passionate about. And we need to accept this change.”
What Can You Do as An HR Professional?
Generation Y & Z possess a host of characteristics that are assets to your business. They’re tech-efficient and driven toward building a successful career. At the same time, they also value sound mentorship and leadership, choosing to galvanize with companies that appreciate work attitude and styles significantly different from their predecessors.
It’s nothing short of smart to adapt and thrive in such a situation. But achieving that requires a certain level of commitment and change. Here are some of the most immediate action points you can address:
Consistent Feedback Over Annual Reviews
Workplace Trends, an HR research and advisory firm reports that both generations prefer and choose to receive feedback regularly (23%), weekly (24%), and daily (19%) as opposed to annually (3%).
Let’s start with something small here. It’s in popular belief to associate working remotely to remotely working or less productivity. But research from the Harvard Business Review suggests the opposite of that negative perception, citing increased productivity, efficiency and engagement in working from home. This benefit, at least part time, is an attractive workplace policy for both new-age generations.
Cohesive Multi-Generational Management
Experts suggest that colleagues learn more from each other than they do from formal training; as a result – understanding different layers of communication, building opportunities for collaboration and cross-generational mentoring open gateways to a culture that rewards across generational lines. The strategy for a cohesive team is more important now than ever before.
Conclusion: Tap Potential Where You Find Them
Baby Boomers are bound to slip into retirement sooner rather than later. And with the incoming buzz about a millennial & Gen Z workforce, it is in a business’ best interest to absorb their new age values and work styles, thereby enabling an engaging and comfortable culture.
Bear in mind that these highly educated millennials and their younger counterparts are passionate about making an impact in the world; harness that energy for your business. You can find more from the webinar itself, but all in all – we’re descending into a new era of organizational dominance. Are we among those who ripple the change, or those to crumble under historical rigidity?
Well, only you can tell.
Originally posted September 5, 2017
In the digital age, fast moving organizations can no longer afford to hire employees just as per their resumes and the recruiters’ gut instincts. That’s why use of assessments in pre-hiring has become very popular, not just for IQ skills, but for coding skills as well. The goal here is to use an assessment which lets you dig deep into a candidate’s skills in ways that can’t be achieved through group discussions and long interviews, without bias.
However, the most popular form of assessment is MCQ-based which falls short of capturing the hands-on skills of the candidates applying for a coding role. Since the candidate selects a response from a list of alternatives rather than supplying or constructing a response, multiple choice question-based assessment only tests knowledge and recall and not creativity, unique thinking or the ability to construct. While hiring coders, it is necessary to test the candidate’s skills in real-world situations, customized to your organizational needs. This cannot be achieved entirely through MCQ based assessments and for this, Coding Simulator based assessments should be used.
In coding simulator based assessments, candidates are asked to write a code from scratch, and then the code is evaluated on various parameters. These tests are designed to not only to check common coding techniques, but also analytical, interpretational and holistic thinking skills.
Simulator based tests create a real-time environment to check the candidates’ capability to work on real life projects. Doing so gives you insights into the candidate’s skills and their problem-solving abilities; both extremely crucial for programmers. While MCQ based tests only focus on candidate’s knowledge of theories, simulator based test enables you to test candidates’ understanding of these concepts by requiring them to use these concepts in practical applications.
Correlation between MCQ and Coding TestsMettl has conducted online tests for 100+ companies with 60,000+ candidates, and we have done some analysis on our end to present a few interesting insights.
It has been observed that the candidates who have performed well in technical MCQ based tests might not perform well in a simulator based test as well. Over the years, we have seen poor correlations between the performance in MCQ based test and simulator based tests.
Only 20-30% of the good performers in the MCQ test are also able to score well in coding tests. So, while most of the candidates recall programming concepts, however very few can apply them to real-world situations. The key here is recalling v/s understanding and application, and it is understanding and application that needs to be determined.
Simulator based assessments enable you to filter out the very best candidates from the lot. These assessments allow you to gain insight into the quality of code written by the candidate and answer lot many other questions
For the effective and valid evaluation of the candidates’ programming skills, following parameters should be measured through coding simulators.
Following are the parameters:
In Mettl we make sure that every question should have at least 10 to 12 tests cases covering from basic to boundary cases.
For different job profiles, different coding skill sets are required; for a trainee level, you might just evaluate the candidate on basic programming fundamentals but for a developer role you will also focus into coding style, code efficiency, data structures etc. Different parameters measured through these simulators let you dig deep and evaluate the candidate’s coding skills are per the organization’s requirement.
Using coding simulator based assessment enables you to identify candidates with strong coding skills, and also sharpen the identification, by simultaneously evaluating the code on various quality and efficiency parameters, which is not possible through manual intervention. Automated assessments remove subjectivity from the evaluation process and provide detailed feedback of the candidate’s coding skills in a timely manner, resulting in more efficient hiring process.
Originally posted August 6, 2017
Online assessments, for hiring employees to suit the work requirements, are catching on fast. Online assessment systems allow firms to attract applications from a wider demographic of applicants. Filtering them in a time and cost efficient way is not the only benefit of psychometric testing online.
A reliable and stable method of assessing individual scales for certain roles and how they suit the organization, online psychometric tests are changing the way people are being assessed, evaluated, and hired. Assessments range from normative tests that measure the intellect, to aptitude testing which involves assessing the personality. Shorter assessments can serve to weed out unsuitable candidates at the very start.
The Work Behind Hiring: Online Assessments Change Recruitment
Interviews can be subjective. For example, a salesman will come across well in such an assessment because he/she can sell quite well. A tool is needed to tell if the basics of personality are in place, so that both weak and strong areas can be probed.
Whether you choose an online personality profiling tool, an ability or aptitude test, inventory or a solid behavioral interview, or role plays and presentations, the bases have to be covered to ensure that hiring becomes easier. Online assessments for hiring can be done at places and locations that suit them. This brings out the best in the candidate who can get a thorough understanding of the job before proceeding with the application.
Effective Measures of Behavior
There is a direct relation between testing and productivity. Online assessments that are well designed are reliable, stable predictors of behavior. Candidates cannot evade the inbuilt scale for detecting fake responses or gaming the test. As a result, test results cannot be manipulated. Lie scales ensure that the true aspects of each candidate come to the fore.
#2 Engaging Candidates
The use of online tests engages candidates in the selection and recruitment process. Candidates are more likely to engage as the test assigns a measure of behavior, cognition or attitude towards work, which can prove valuable for them as well as the employer.
#3 Predictive Value
The true measure of the effectiveness of any assessment is the capability to be able to assess the future work behaviors, attitudes, and perspectives which are precursors for detecting work productivity and efficiency. Providers develop products that measure and go into depth, providing an all-in-one assessment. The length of time taken to complete the process and the web pages visited while taking the results can also provide a measure of how tech savvy and resourceful the applicant is.
#4 Comfort Levels
As more applicants undergo tests, to be selected and recruited as part of their professional development, comfort levels also have to be taken into account. Employers should see the benefits of online assessments for hiring. Better, higher quality, well researched tools that are effective can make a massive difference to the success with which the right candidate for the job can be hired.
Understanding the essence of a person is more than just asking a few questions or assessing behavior patterns. It involves understanding their motivations, perspectives, attitudes and what defines them. Online assessments for hiring circumvent the subjectivity of an interview situation or the hurdles of offline testing. Choose Mettl for superior testing products that predict the person and not just his/her behavior in a given situation. Mettl offers psychometric tests that are built keeping international standards in mind. APA, BPS compliant tests from Mettl combine the convenience of online assessment with a solid theoretical substrate to define as well as predict personality traits for the workplace effectively.
You are the test administrator. You distribute the exam papers, read the instructions aloud, declare the time allotted, watch them answer the exams, then you declare that the time is up and you ask them to pass their papers. More or less, this is the typical scenario in testing.
Now imagine, instead of paper and pencils, your candidates are answering the exam using tablets or iPads.
That would create quite a different scenario, wouldn’t it?
Coupled with the online platforms developed, Tablets, iPads, Notebooks, and other mobile online devices offer various improvements to the testing experience of test-takers, test administrators, and test users alike:
Less Physical Material
Having these devices get rid of the idea of tower-like pile of papers on desks and shelves. Along with the testing platforms developed for online assessments, the devices offer ease in checking, compiling, and interpretation of the data gathered without losing the effectiveness of exams. In the study of Davis, Kong, and McBride, results showed that in administering exams in computer does not have a significant difference in administering exams in tablets or iPads. Also, in comparing administration of exams in paper and in computer, Al-Amri reported that there is no significant effect on the overall validity and reliability if exams on the two testing modes. In the same study, computer familiarity of the students have no effect in the result of the exams. So in answering standardized assessments whether in paper, computer, or mobile devices, results would be relatively the same.
Most online platforms and computerized assessments offer an almost instant report generation and built in interpretation after the candidate has taken the exam. Also, some platforms has the capability of showing the candidate the results immediately after the exam, hence aiding both the candidate and the test user in the assessment process. Traditional paper and pencil exams require manual scoring and interpretation of the results. Using such on a large group would be tedious and tiring for the both the scorer and the interpreter, and consumes much time. Imagine the time saved by the platforms and computerized assessments. The only thing that one should worry about is the comparison of the results to different methods of assessing – interviews, observations, etc.
Behavioral Observation is Possible
One of the problems posed by testing in computers listed in the book, Psychological Testing and Assessment of Cohen, Swerdik, and Sturman is that it would be harder to observe the behavior of the test takers. Testing in smaller devices solves the problem without losing the perks of computerized assessments. Like in the traditional pencil and paper exams, answering in tablets, iPads, or notebooks allow for the behavior – facial expressions, body movements, stances, etc. to be observed and generally, for the administrator to build rapport better. Observations are also possible in people who answer exams in computers but are limited since they are blocked by the whole unit and there would be less movement compared when answering in paper or small devices.
Answer on-site or at home or basically, anywhere with an internet connection. When testing in these devices, there is a possibility of the test acquiring the capabilities of the device itself. The use of webcams, microphones, and speakers of the devices can be integrated on the assessment process, depending on the platform acquired.
Of all these benefits, there are, of course, some issues in the use of these devices are to be considered:
In same study of Davis, Kong, and McBride, the students are asked to comment on their experiences on the device, creating word clouds, and the theme for the “tablet dislikes” had to do with the physical impacts of using the device – glares, neck, finger, uncomfortable, sitting, standing, etc.
The length of the device should also be considered. The PARCC recommends a 9.5 inch tablet size for assessment. as in the study of Davis, Kong, and McBride reported that there are problems in pointing answers due to the 7 inch size of the tablet.
In the study of Noyes and Garland, one of the problems of taking tests in computers are the technical glitches and problems that may arise in the process of assessment. This will pose a little problem if the development behind the platform is a robust one.
Even with these issues, assessment using these devices are cost-effective and has benefits to the organization. Share your thoughts!
Originally posted on LinkedIn last December 15, 2015
Image by Sean MacEntee
Small corner of the internet that we have put up for sharing ideas about personality and aptitude assessment. Our articles cover topics as light as personal reflections on the day-to-day experience of an assessment consultant to in-depth discussions on current practices and theories of the current assessment field.