BTS Strategic Execution Blog

Beyond 360s and Ride-Alongs: Using Assessment Centers and Business Simulations to Identify and Develop Great Sales People

Monday, March 07, 2016 | Category :
    • Sales

Sales excellence is dependent on your organization attracting and retaining a talented team of individuals who have the right skills, knowledge, tools and mind set. But how can you be sure of the capability of your salesforce? You may have access to their past sales performance, but does this reveal the complete picture, including their ability to deliver sales excellence out in the field in your business?

Assessing and benchmarking an individual’s sales performance can prove invaluable when:

  1. Determining candidate suitability for recruitment or promotion
  2. Understanding and planning for skill gaps and resourcing within your organization
  3. Determining the exact training requirements for an individual or group – “one size fits all” approaches no longer cut it!
  4. Accurately measuring the capability uplift associated with a training and development program

So, how can you collect real time data to assess an individual’s sales capability? And, if you had this data, how would you make the best use of this extraordinary insight?

We know that the following steps are the best way to accomplish this:

1. Define Great: Set a new standard. What does a Great salesperson at your organization look like? For each sales role or level, create a Great Profile, which defines the high-impact behaviors that allow reps to succeed and separates someone who is great from someone merely average.
2. Conduct a day in the life assessment: Immersing sales people in a virtual sales simulation of a few hours of a day in the life of a salesperson creates a rich environment for observing them in action and assessing their capabilities. Salespeople (or candidates) log onto a cloud platform and experience all of the events and perform the real actions needed to be successful in the role. They have scheduled conversations with prospects and clients. They get unexpected customer calls and can make outbound sales calls to a phone bank of role players. The experience emulates lead gathering and nurturing via social media and simulated CRM.
3. Get better results and performance is observed and assessed across the Great behaviors and benchmarked against minimum requirements for the business or industry best practice. Individual and aggregate reports are generated, allowing for proactive sales enablement activity.

This data allows a clear inventory of current capabilities and gaps, and identifies strategies for aligning skills and resources to the business strategy. Other benefits include:

For sales professionals…

  • Heightened self-awareness of ‘blind spots’, increased motivation for improvement and readiness for targeted development
  • Clear understanding of what it takes to be a top performer within their company and industry

For sales leaders…

  • A unique view of the capability of their team
  • The ability to design and prioritize targeted development, leadership and coaching strategies
  • Confidence that new recruits will perform in the role
  • Assessment of how your team members are positioning their discussions with customers in a face-to-face scenario
  • Measurement of the effectiveness of training, demonstrating ROI

Because virtual assessments can evaluate your people based on what “great” looks like for your company, they enable data-driven talent decisions and set your company up for success at all levels.

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