Companies use a combination of basic skills tests, sales simulations, and job assessments to hire driven and motivated sales professionals. The best sales representative candidates demonstrate exceptional interpersonal skills, a proven track record in sales, and the desire to put their skills to the test.
The Research Assessment measures a candidate’s ability to generate ideal leads and prospects for the company they’ll be working for. Candidates will be asked to research potential prospects, find out who they should be speaking with (and the best times to speak with them), and to create an outreach plan. This assessment typically takes 20 minutes and the average score is 10 out of 16. The Top 10% of candidates score 13 out of 16 and complete the test in under 15 minutes.
The Inbound Sales Simulation tests a candidate’s ability to provide important product information to an incoming customer. The simulation provides the candidate with product information that they can read through before handling the call while also providing them with a functional mock CRM. Candidates will be tested on their ability to accurately sell the product, answer the lead’s questions, and general professionalism in handling the phone call. The simulation typically takes 15 minutes to complete and has an average score of 6 out of 10. The Top 10% of candidates score 8 out of 10 and complete the assessment in 9 minutes.
The Outbound Sales Simulation tests candidates on their ability to write engaging and creative outbound sales emails to a list of prospects. Candidates have access to a mock CRM and will need to write emails that demonstrate exceptional writing skills (little to no spelling or grammar errors), creativity, and an understanding of their product. The Outbound Sales Simulation is typically completed in 20 minutes and has an average score of 5.5 out of 12. The Top 10% of candidates score 8 out of 12 and typically complete the assessment in 13 minutes.
Candidates are tested on their ability to pitch the product to specific prospects using both email and phone. Candidates are provided with an overview of the product they’ll be pitching and are scored based on their phone and email presence, creativity, sales tactics, and their overall professionalism. This assessment is typically completed in 15 minutes and has an average score of 6.5 out of 12. The Top 10% of candidates score 9 out of 12 and typically complete the sales emails in around 11 minutes.
Successful candidates demonstrate a proactive approach to the interview process with a basic understanding of what the company is looking for in their ideal candidate combined with an enthusiasm specific to the position and company. Strong candidates have a track record of acquiring new business and have performed well both individually and as part of a team. Employers often search for the following traits in their ideal candidates:
Sales Representatives will spend a lot of their time getting to know who they’re selling to and who their competition is. Being able to find important information quickly can speed up the sales cycle or even create opportunity where there wasn’t any previously. Successful Sales reps do their due diligence by understanding who to contact and when to contact them before sending out cold calls or emails. Research skills are also necessary in determining whether a need is present for the product that they’re selling.
Many times a Sales Representative will be met with rejection and knowing how to learn from that rejection is key to success. Losing out on a close at the last stage of a sale is an experience that no sales professional wants to have, but being able to critically analyze the situation and learn from it will set a successful sales representative up for success in the future. Sales professionals that are unable to build confidence for the future off of past rejections may not proceed as far in the process as those who handle it correctly.
Having multiple lines of communication open with a long list of clients inevitably invites the potential for chaos. Successful Sales Representatives demonstrate a proactive approach to managing their time and often have set routines in place to ensure that they’re able to keep up with their commitments. Maintaining an up to date calendar, organized filing system, and consistent communication style are all vital to success as a Sales Representative.
Many times a Sales Representative is rejected based purely on the fact that they have no connection to who they’re speaking to. Often times people are hesitant to discuss the possibility of purchasing a product they know nothing about from a company they’ve never heard of — especially if they cannot find an obvious need for it. Being able to quickly establish a trusting relationship with a prospect is a difficult but essential skill to master as a Sales Representative. Prospects are more likely to be open to discussing what a Sales Representative has to offer if they feel that they can trust them.
Since a large part of a Sales Representative’s job revolves around communication through email, being able to craft a well-written email is important. Successful representatives are well-versed in proofreading their emails before sending them and have an understanding of what engaging content looks like at all stages of the sales cycle. Being able to communicate enthusiasm through text is a lot more difficult than it is in person (and it involves more than simply adding an exclamation point), so understanding the basics and intricacies of written communication is an essential skill for successful Sales Reps.
Sales representatives are vital to increasing new business for any company. Successful sales professionals are tasked with generating business using all forms of communication. A seasoned sales professional will have mastered the art of selling on the phone, in person, and by email (and will also have a deep understanding of the standard etiquette associated with each of those forms of contact). Due to the multiple lines of communication a sales representative might have open, organization and time management is key in maintaining an efficient workflow.
Time management also comes into play when taking into consideration the large number of leads a Sales Representative can come in contact with on a daily basis. Multiple clients might ask for a quick call or lunch meeting all within the same week. Having a handle on one’s schedule and availability is crucial to success — many representatives will have a daily routine in place to ensure they stay on track. Failing to follow up on an incoming lead or flaking out on scheduled engagements spells disaster for a Sales Representative and the company they work for.
Often times Sales Representatives will spend a chunk of time writing creative and engaging outbound sales emails to potential clients which requires their English Spelling and Grammar skills to be top-notch. Poorly written emails with spelling errors, typos, and poor formatting aren’t acceptable in any stage of the sales cycle. Due to the high number of outbound emails a representative might send, a typing speed of 65 WPM (with no errors) is highly desirable.
When clients reach a point where they’d like to discuss pricing options, successful Sales Representatives demonstrate superior negotiation and interpersonal skills. Sales Representatives who lack the ability to negotiate or are unable to handle being told “No” in a business setting will not make it far. Sales reps should be passionate and engaging when discussing their product and understand that the level of effort and enthusiasm they put into the process massively influences the results that they receive.