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Utilizing a Sales Assessment Tool

When Vilfredo Pareto formulated his famous 80-20 rule in 1900, I wonder if he could have guessed that 100 years later his rule would apply to sales in organizations like yours —”about 20% of all salespeople make 80% of all sales.”  Research consistently demonstrates that over half of those in professional sales lack the basic attributes required for success in this difficult profession, attributes that world-class salespeople possess as natural gifts or developed through training or single-minded focus. Of the remaining half, half of these again have the potential for success in some form of sales but are currently selling the wrong product or service — leaving just about 25% who sell about 80% of the world’s products and services. Scary!

According to a Harvard Business Review article by Steve W. Martin, 70 percent of top salespeople are born with natural instincts that make them successful, and the other 30 percent are self-made and must learn to be successful. Martin goes on to state that for every 100 people who enter into a sales job without natural sales traits, 40 percent will fail or quit, 40 percent will perform at an average level, and only 20 percent will perform at an above average level.

That is why it is essential for those of us with the responsibility of driving our businesses forward to have a keen understanding of the attributes that make for world-class salespeople — so that we can hire more of them. It’s also crucial that we recognize where any struggling salespeople on our team might need training or support.

As hiring managers, we have all had the disheartening experience of hiring an individual who did not prove successful on the job. In spite of the well‐written resume, completed application form and our best efforts during the interview, the candidate slipped through the rigors of our pre‐employment process and resulted in an unsuccessful hire. Research reveals that despite our best efforts, 70% of all hires (without the benefit of job match assessment data) will prove to be unsuccessful or result in a hire that is not a top performer. The most skillful interviewer will regularly make hiring selections that are less than desirable.

When asked, most managers indicate that their pre‐employment process is designed to help them identify individuals who will be able to come into their organization, learn and perform  the assigned task or set of tasks with a reasonable amount of training, coaching, resources, tools and time. The successful individual should possess the ability to learn the job requirements, demonstrate a work style that is consistent with the behaviors needed for success and an interest in performing the type of work associated with the position. Successful hires (good job matches) are marked by less turnover and strong job performance.

The appropriate insertion of a proven job match assessment tool, with predictable performance qualities, will greatly enhance the success level of hiring managers during their pre‐employment process.

The Profiles Sales Assessment is designed to help managers uncover the qualities that typify individuals who are generally successful in a given sales position or job. These qualities include learning style, behavioral style, job interests as well as critical sales behaviors that coincide with certain behavioral traits. Together, with the performance model prescribed by the company, predictive performance can be determined as a factor of percent job match and characterized as “good fit” or “poor fit” for the position. In addition to the three major headings evaluated within the PSA assessment, the individual is evaluated against twenty core attributes and seven sales behaviors to include:

Thinking Style

Learning Index

Verbal Skill

Verbal Reasoning

Numerical Ability

Numeric Reasoning

Behavioral Traits

Energy Level








Objective Judgment

Job Interests 


People Service





Critical Sales Behaviors


Closing the Sale

Call Reluctance


Working with a Team

Building/Maintaining Relationships

Compensation Preference

So, if your organization needs to evaluate current employees who are currently in a sales role or candidates who are in the pre-employment process, utilizing the Profiles Sales assessment is a good way to make sure that you have the “right” candidates in the sales role. Doesn’t your organization want to have a sales force that is successful?  Wouldn’t you like to have 100% of your sales force closing 100% of your potential sales? What a successful organization it would be!

For additional information on the Profiles Sales assessment, please contact Talent Management Initiatives at info@talentmanagementinitiatives.com.

Written by: David Brown


Talent Management Initiatives, LLC





New Focus HR is a human resources consulting and training company that services all organizations. Our expert team collaborates with businesses to attract, motivate, retrain and retain their biggest assets, employees. While engaged with an organization, our focus is to find solutions that improve the company’s internal HR-related practices while increasing results at the same time! Our focus. Your results.