To successfully manage an inside sales team, you not only have to recruit the right talent, but also utilize that talent effectively. Because of the strong competition to hire SDRs and inside sales reps, managers are often forced to hire inexperienced sales reps without a storied career full of proven victories. In fact, many SDRs are hired directly out of college. So, due to a lack of candidates with previous experience, some organizations find that personality tests are a great way to recruit reps and predict which ones might have what it takes to hit their numbers.
While there isn’t a single personality type that indicates if a rep will be a success, there are a variety of popular personality assessment tests that can help managers gauge how a rep will fit in with their particular sales culture. Though controversial, proponents of these personality assessment tests often believe that they at least can be useful during the hiring process. For example, a rep with an aggressive/alpha personality type might be perfect for one company’s sales culture but be miserable at another company. Personality tests can also help managers gauge how to best manage individual reps. Perhaps most importantly, sales personality assessment tests can also be used to identify reps’ potential for leadership.
If you’re interested in taking a more data-driven approach to sales recruitment, check out this list of seven awesome personality tests that can help you predict reps’ potential for success, and how they can best fit into your organization. In an effort to be unbiased, when possible, I’ve linked an article in favor of and critiquing each assessment test.
The Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (or 16PF for short) was devised in the mid 20th century by British psychologist Raymond Cattell. It purports to identify and assess 16 personality traits possessed by all of us in varying degrees. Users answer 164 questions and the test seeks to predict how well prospective reps might complete tasks or handle high stress situations (common in sales). This test differs from certain other personality (such as Myers-Briggs) since it focuses directly on how individuals might react to specific work situations.
You may be familiar with this one, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a very popular personality test. Though not specific to sales, The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is the most widely used assessments. The test seeks to sort test takers into one of the 16 personality archetypes devised famous psychologist Carl Jung. The test attempts to sort individuals based on four variables: introvert/extrovert, intuitive/sensing, rational/emotional, perceptive/judgmental. This test may not be able to predict a rep’s potential for success. One might think that extroverts make better salespeople than introverts. But some of the best salespeople are actually strategic introverts with excellent social skills. The true value of this test lies is in its ability to help leaders better manage employees. As an example, say you lead two reps. One is idealistic, emotionally-driven and the other is pragmatic and rational. Each rep will require a different style of management to succeed. Understanding this can help managers do a better job of inspiring their entire team to succeed.
On the flip side, here is a criticism of the Myers-Briggs.
For more than half a century, businesses have used the Caliper Profile Assessment Test to identify 25 traits that relate to job performance. This test, which can be taken online or on paper, purports to provide clear, objective information on an individual’s strengths, limitations, motivations and potential. Caliper consultants are also available to work with businesses to ensure that tests are correctly interpreted.
The DiSC (which stands for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness) is a leading assessment tool that measures employees’ personality and behavior style. While no personality style is inherently indicative of success in sales, this test can help predict whether a rep will be a good culture fit. As I mentioned before, many sales environments seek out reps with dominant, alpha personalities. While there other companies seek out reps that are collaborative and accommodating. Like the Myers-Briggs, this test can also be used to help manage reps with divergent personality types.
The Grit assessment tool was devised by Dr. Angela Duckworth from University of Pennsylvania. According to Dr. Duckworth, grit can be defined as “sticking with things over the very long term until you master them.” This test seems more useful as a hiring tool for organizations looking for long-term employees, since it can potentially identify sales reps that are “marathon runners” instead of “sprinters.” It is also a short and relatively easy to administer test.
The test is recommended by several top sales leaders including The Bridge Group’s Trish Bertuzzi and Quota Factory’s Pete Gracey.
Here’s an article by Alfie Kohn criticizing the Grit test.
Gallup introduced the first version of its online assessment, StrengthsFinder, in the bestselling 2001 management book Now, Discover Your Strengths. In the book StrengthsFinder 2.0, Gallup has unveiled an expanded and improved version of the popular assessment test. In addition to the assessment test, the book reveals hundreds of strategies to help apply various strengths. While it’s not sales-specific, this test can potentially help managers identify how reps’ core strengths can best be put to work in a sales organization.
Objective Management Group (OMG) is a sales assessment company that offers several sales-specific assessments for roles including sales reps, managers and directors/VPs. While some of the other tests listed here are applicable to but not specific to sales, the OMG is included because it is 100% focused on assessing sales reps. OMG’s assessment services may come at a higher price point, but seem to offer more sales-specific granularity than some other assessment tests out there.
An article in Huffington Post praising the test.
While I didn’t find any articles directly criticizing OMG’s test, if you’ve had personal experience with it, feel free to share in the comments section!
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Zack is a Sales Content Specialist at RingDNA. He is passionate about solving everyday problems and increasing performance through innovative technology. Zack has worked directly with sales teams and understands the challenges they face on a daily basis. When he's not developing and sharing knowledge at RingDNA, he loves being outdoors, hiking, and coffee.