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Digital Assessments For Sales Competencies

Sales
Author:
Pratisrutee Mishra
March 14, 2022

Digital Assessment of Core Sales Competencies

Sales competencies have proven their significance in the sales cycle, in the hectic world of cross-selling and upselling. The requirement for well-aligned sales reps has drastically increased in various industries. But what are the key competencies of a high-performing sales team? And how can you assess them in your candidates? Let's dive in.

The core competencies of sales professionals can be categorized into cognitive, behavioral, and emotional aspects of the candidate. Sales skills are assessed in an overall manner through digital sales assessments. Before we get into any further details, take a look at these statistics.

Some Statistics Relevant to Core Sales Competencies

It is believed that the growth of an organization is followed by excellent teamwork, creative production, and, most importantly, active participation. According to Gallup, highly engaged employees help reduce the rate of absenteeism and increase customer ratings to 10% and 20% of sales. While looking out for consistent employees, the core competencies in the sales process are highly concerning.

However, some studies made by Alan Benson, Simon Board, and Moritz Meyer-ter-Vehn in 2019 show that hiring into an industry might be experiencing unintentional or intentional discrimination by the sales managers due to the tendency to favor the same-race candidates.

Furthermore, survey data from 251 sales professionals showed that the analytical skills of successful reps directly or indirectly affect sales performance in various trading situations. Therefore, the recruitment team of an organization must be equipped enough to choose individuals based on their core competencies.

Traditionally, the recruitment team verbally evaluates the potential sales professionals and observes their level of experience and fluency abstractly. Hence, it is high time for sales managers to switch their hiring procedures according to modern requirements.

Why is sales competency important?

Sales competency is crucial because it directly impacts a company’s bottom line. It refers to the sales skills, knowledge, and behaviors that sales reps must possess in a high-performing sales team. These key competencies enable sales professionals to build strong relationships with customers, understand their needs, and ultimately close deals.

Without these competencies, your sales rep may struggle to perform effective sales leadership, lose sales, and reduce revenue.

Benefits and Challenges of Building a Sales Competency Model

Building a sales competency model has several benefits. It provides a clear framework for what is expected from a sales rep, aids in the recruitment and sales training process, and helps identify areas for improvement. However, it also comes with challenges.

These include the time and resources required to develop the model, ensuring it remains relevant as market conditions change, and getting buy-in from all stakeholders.

But we have got you covered. No more hassle to define sales competencies for your ideal sales reps. We have compiled some for you in advance!

18 Essential Sales Competencies of Top Sales Teams

The top sales team typically exhibits a range of competencies. These may include communication skills, customer focus, time management, cross-selling skills, product knowledge, self-awareness, and technology expertise. Each of these competencies plays a vital role in ensuring the team's success.

However, it’s important to note that the specific competencies required may vary depending on the industry, the company’s goals, and the individual roles within the sales team.

Assessing Sales Competencies

Assessing core competencies involves evaluating a salesperson’s skills, product knowledge, and behaviors against the established sales competency model. This can be done through various methods, including performance reviews, customer feedback, and role-playing exercises.

The results of traditional or digital assessments can then be used to identify areas for improvement and develop sales competencies with targeted sales training programs.

As technology advances and becomes more integrated into our lives, there's a growing trend towards digital assessments, albeit with considerations to mitigate their demerits.

The ideal scenario often involves a blend of both approaches, leveraging the strengths of each to provide a comprehensive evaluation of individuals' abilities.

Traditional Assessment of Sales Competencies and Challenges

Traditional assessment of sales competencies typically involves evaluating a candidate's or employee's skills, knowledge, and behavior in a sales context through methods like interviews, role-plays, and paper-based tests.

These assessments aim to identify an individual's ability to perform sales tasks, understand customer needs, communicate effectively, and ultimately drive sales results.

Demerits of Traditional Sales Competency Assessment:

Subjectivity:

The outcome can be heavily influenced by the assessor's biases or perceptions, leading to inconsistency in the evaluation.

Limited Scope:

Traditional methods may not fully capture a candidate's potential or comprehensive sales skills, focusing more on surface-level traits.

Time-consuming:

The process can be lengthy and resource-intensive, requiring significant preparation, execution time, and post-assessment analysis.

Scalability Issues:

Assessing large numbers of candidates can be challenging, limiting the method's effectiveness in mass recruitment scenarios.

Lack of immediate feedback:

Unlike digital assessments, traditional methods often don't provide instant feedback, delaying learning and improvement opportunities.

Consistency:

Ensuring that all candidates are assessed under similar conditions and criteria can be difficult.

Evaluating digital skills:

As sales increasingly move online, traditional assessments might not adequately measure a candidate's proficiency in digital communication and CRM tools.

Cultural Fit:

Determining whether a candidate's approach and personality align with the organization's culture and the sales team's dynamics can be complex without structured assessment criteria. This checks for an individual's emotional intelligence and morals to some extent.

Predictive Validity:

It can be challenging to correlate performance in traditional assessments with actual job performance, especially for roles that require people skills, resilience, adaptability, and the ability to produce more sales with long-term customer relations.

Advanced Digital Assessment of Sales Competencies

Advanced digital assessment of sales competencies addresses the loopholes in traditional assessment. It leverages modern technology to evaluate the skills, knowledge, and abilities essential for sales roles.

These assessments can be customized for specific industries or organizations, and they often incorporate a mix of question types, including audio, visuals, situational judgment tests (SJTs), and simulations, to provide a comprehensive understanding of a candidate's sales capabilities.

  1. Customization: Can be tailored to specific organizational needs and industry requirements​​.
  2. Comprehensive Competency Measurement: It evaluates a broad spectrum of essential sales competencies, from interpersonal skills to motivation and resilience​​​​.
  3. Objective and Bias-Free: The use of a variety of question types, including multilingual and visual-based questions, ensures an objective assessment free from cultural or linguistic bias​​. This provides credibility to the assessment for gauging the key skills of sales teams.
  4. In-depth Reporting: Provides detailed, real-time reports on individual and group performance, offering insights into both strengths and areas for improvement​​.
  5. Proctoring: Built-in invigilation and proctoring capabilities ensure the integrity of the assessment process​​.

Sales Competencies Assessed By PMaps Psychometrics

There are a few critical sales competencies or qualities a salesperson is expected to possess as an ideal candidate to be distinguished from the rest by maintaining high productivity. Through the right interaction and assignment of duties, individuals gradually develop to become professionally competent.

This refers to practical soft skill development such as sales team connections, customer interactivity, engagement, and goal setting. In the case of commerce and trade-based careers, the competency demands are specific and goal-driven. Here are some of the must-have competencies to foster.

PMaps assessment measures these competencies to produce a reliable and accurate candidate analysis report:

Perspective Taking

It is very important for the team to outline their goals and form perspectives regarding the customer before they jump into the fieldwork.

The assessments that measure this trait concentrate primarily on the aspect of understanding and interpreting realistic situations with clients. Non-verbal signals from the customer need to be understood to facilitate the best performance and professional sales presentation of products and services.

Also, it helps in deciding how far the sales process must be persuaded with particular clients based on their reactions and attitude towards the approach. Therefore, it saves time and energy for the salesperson, making their work smart and efficient.

Positivty

According to Marketing Donut sales statistics, only 8% of sales reps score 80% of all successful sales. At least five follow-ups are necessary to achieve a successful sale. However, 44% of sales leaders give up after the first rejection.

22% of people stop persuading by the second rejection, and 14% of sales employees hang on only until the third. Further, 12% stopped by the fourth rejection due to lack of optimism, and only 8% of sales reps went up for the final fifth follow-up.

Therefore, potential sales reps must balance their emotions while dealing with customers. Also, sales managers must maintain positivity throughout their careers. Patience and hope are the best ingredients to create a successful career in sales. The measurement of this trait assesses the candidates' positive and constructive mentality.

Motivation

According to expectancy theory, individuals in general behave in a particular manner to achieve an expected reward as a response to or result of it. To meet high sales targets and aspire to bigger achievements, one requires motivation and drive.

It is not possible for an employee to constantly stay energized for the role and responsibility.

However, a salesperson is expected to be consistently productive while approaching customers. Because studies made on sales performance show the significant effect of intrinsic motivation as a fundamental condition to improve sales performance and direct general and technical skills in successfully dealing with potential customers.

Ambiversion

A salesperson must build and maintain customer relationships, as stated in Rapport Management During the Exploration Phase of the Salesperson-Customer Relationship by Kim Sydow Campbell, Lenita Davis, and Lauren Skinner.

Another study by Scott M. Curry, Nicole E. Gravina, Andressa A. Sleiman, & Erin Richard indicates that rapport-building behavior shows positive engagement, and candidates who have the trait complete 14% more productive tasks. 

A project by Daniel Maurath analyzed the turnovers of ambivert salespeople and found that they performed much better than introverted and extraverted salespeople. 

In such a case, ambiversion personality traits can ensure high relationship-building potential with customers and colleagues. Hence, it certainly makes a salesperson ideal, as a salesperson is expected to be wisely introverted and informatively extroverted.

The candidate must pass this aspect of the assessment to stand a firm chance of getting through the interview. To be able to empathize with the customer, an ideal candidate must acquire the interactive experience that high-performing salespeople have. Therefore, this trait is an essential skill that needs to be measured while recruiting sales teams.

Benefits of PMaps Visual-Based Assessments

Visual Interface

Gen-Z tends to adapt better to the technical environment than in typical ones. The assessments prepared by PMaps are structured to evaluate the sales candidates non-discriminantly based on language preference.

The items of assessment ensure that candidates appear comfortable and answer honestly. It does not limit the answers to social expectations but rather focuses on individual personality evaluation.

Fun & Interesting

The world today believes in smart work at every phase and position. The generation looks out for hooking and innovative systems in organizations. The assessments are developed to keep the candidates on the hook till the very end.

Also, the duration of the assessment is significantly shorter. Graphics and audio enrich the digital experience of the candidates while encouraging curiosity throughout the psychometric assessments.

Quick

People these days are engaged in multiple activities, thriving to find the value of life in productivity. Organizations also experience high demands from the economy, which makes employee schedules tighter.

To avoid unnecessary time consumption, sales managers must adopt digital means of evaluating individuals for sales. A considerable amount of time is saved, as these assessments produce a complete report without any manual calculations.

Easily Accessible

These assessments allow both the candidate and sales manager to easily appear and review the interview, respectively. The advanced calculation of data procures accurate reports for the individual. Also, records of responses can be accessed from the cloud storage anytime throughout the sales cycle.

This data also gives reference to the employee for further monitoring and sales training of potential sales agents through the period of employment. 

Covers All Aspects

A study this month found that salespeople who completed the decentralized program (digital evaluation) achieved approximately 23.5% higher sales performance than those who completed the centralized program (one-to-one interaction).

This is because the onboarding process is much more scientific with digital assessments than in traditional interviews for hiring. It is also non-discriminant as it prevents first impression biases on recruiters' sides. Essential sales skill sets and competencies and evaluates the candidate based on their individual qualities.

Cost-Efficient

The easy interpretation and evaluation of sales competency with digital psychometric assessments are not only easy to use, fun to attend, scientifically accurate, and quick by nature, but they are also budget-friendly and reliable.

PMaps pre-assess is trusted by many established companies like Bajaj, Blue Heaven, Dishtv, Digicall, IDBI Bank, IDFC First Bank, Max Life Insurance, and many more.

Environment Friendly

The digital assessments are environment-friendly as they don't depend on printed papers for interviews and record-keeping. It also reduces the production cost of the overall industry. Although it might contribute a minimal portion, when adapted by large groups of industries, it would bring about a significant change.

The employee records can be accessed from the cloud, no matter where you are. Digital and sales training and competency assessments are overall very eco-friendly and economical by nature and are no doubt a healthy investment.

Sum Up: 

The need for modernized platforms, technology expertise, and tools to operate sales organizations is growing unstoppably. Changing trends have taken an express ride with social media intervention. The efficiency of employees with adequate sales competencies will earn customers only when it is administered by advanced evaluation and monitoring tools.

Save your whole team precious time by setting up your goals and criteria with the most competent salespeople from the very beginning of recruitment. Save a seat on the digital express by evaluating critical core sales competencies before your competitors fit in!

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Performance Appraisals - Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about performance appraisal commonly asked questions:

What is the sales competency matrix?

A sales competency matrix is a tool that helps sales managers and leaders identify and measure the skills and behaviors of their sales team. A sales competency matrix can help define what good looks like for each sales role, assess gaps in capabilities, guide learning journeys, and provide a powerful tool for coaching¹. One example of a sales competency matrix is the PMaps Assessment, which evaluates sales professionals on 26 core competencies based on 1.8M leaders.

How do you assess visual skills?

Visual skills are skills that allow you to efficiently examine your environment and make use of the visual information. These skills are surprisingly important when discussing qualifications, despite the attention given to interpersonal or technical skills. To assess visual skills, you can use various tests and tools that measure different aspects of vision, such as visual acuity, visual field, visual-motor, binocular function, and visual perceptual. 

What is a visual assessment?

A visual assessment is a process of evaluating the visual appearance and behavior of a software application’s user interface (UI) or graphical user interface (GUI). A visual assessment can help identify any defects, inconsistencies, or usability issues in the UI or GUI. A visual assessment can be done manually by comparing screenshots or using tools like BrowserStack that automate visual testing and compare the UI or GUI across different browsers, devices, and resolutions.

What are the 4 key competencies for sales?

There are many competencies that can contribute to sales success, but some of the most essential ones are:

- Communication skills: To work in sales, you need to be able to communicate effectively with your prospects, customers, and peers in various scenarios. You need to be able to share messages via email, phone, or video, ask clear and direct questions, and actively listen to your potential customers.

- Sales planning: Sales planning is the ability to set realistic and achievable goals, prioritize activities, manage time, and track progress. Sales planning helps you stay focused, organized, and productive.

- Rational problem-solving: Rational problem-solving is the ability to identify, analyze, and solve problems in a logical and systematic way. Rational problem-solving helps you overcome challenges, find solutions, and make decisions that benefit your customers and your organization.

- Negotiating prowess: Negotiating prowess is the ability to persuade and influence others to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Negotiating prowess helps you close deals, handle objections, and create value for your customers.

These are just some of the core competencies for sales professionals. If you want to learn more about how to develop and measure these competencies, you can check out the PMaps 26 competency framework, which provides a comprehensive and customized evaluation of your sales skills and potential.

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