In this article, we compare data on sales roles posted over the last year and discuss how employers can benefit from using pre-employment tests to hire top sales talent.
Photo credit: DCStudio
The sales industry landscape has seen plenty of changes since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many stores were shut down and the number of in-person shoppers reduced drastically. This forced many businesses to adopt an online model which rendered many people in the sales workforce jobless.
These changes are also reflected in data we found on roles posted on Fuzu showing more sales roles openings this quarter (January - March 2022) compared to the same period last year as indicated below:
2021 Fuzu Data on Sales Roles Posted
Basic level roles - 92 (Sales representatives, sales executives, business development executives/officials, sales agents)
Experienced senior workers - 83 (sales executives, account managers, community managers, relationship officers, sales officers, marketing officers/associates/leads, business development managers, marketing and sales managers)
Expert non-managerial roles - 12 (sales managers, marketing specialists)
Intern/Trainee roles - 16 (sales, debt collection, marketing)
Managerial roles - 37 (sales manager, head of sales, head of BD, marketing manager)
Senior managerial roles/ department heads - 12 (sales manager, head of sales, head of BD, marketing manager)
2022 Fuzu Data on Sales Roles Posted
- Basic level roles - 1,168 (Sales rep, sales executive, business development executive, sales agents, promoters, sales officers)
- Experienced senior workers - 1,699 (sales executives/specialists, account manager, community manager, relationship officer/manager, sales officer/executive, marketing officer/associate/lead, business development manager/executive/officer, marketing and sales manager, digital marketing manager/executive/specialist)
- Expert non-managerial roles - 198 (sales executive associate/manager, marketing specialist/officer/manager, digital marketing lead, business development lead)
- Intern/Trainee roles - 320 (sales, debt collection, marketing, business development, social media and digital marketing)
- Managerial roles - 1,023 (sales manager, head of sales, head of BD, marketing manager)
- Senior managerial roles /department heads - 147 (sales manager, head of sales, head of BD, marketing manager)
- Executive Directorial Roles - 12 (Sales/Marketing Director, Head of Marketing, Chief Marketing Officer)
Clearly, there is an increase in demand for salespeople at all levels ranging from basic to senior-level management. This shows that companies are looking to build their workforce back up to their previous operations numbers pre-COVID. Most counties were still in lockdown from January to March 2021 and now, businesses are trying to recover and simultaneously prepare for the General Elections. Not to mention, the election period can also be a highly unpredictable period for the economy. The growth in sales employment is also accompanied by a change in business methods to embrace remote work, automation, less travel, and reduced interpersonal engagement. Of course, this will include more training and skill improvement to embrace these new ways of conducting business.
Specific roles like those of basic level sales representatives and senior-level marketing and business development officials are available in plenty and ripe for the picking. Given there has still been a consistent influx of customers for most businesses and regardless of the pandemic, the goal for these companies is to develop new business models that both improve customer experience and increase sales. We are all hoping for business operations to somewhat stabilize in 2022, which calls for an increased need for workers across all sectors. Especially with more businesses shifting to online sales, most if not all, businesses will need to keep up with the times.
Hiring Sales talent: What can you do differently?
That said, even though there are more sales roles to fill, businesses still need to reevaluate how they are recruiting and hiring for sales positions. Think about how you are going to get the right people in those sales positions and keep them there for the long haul using the right engagement strategies.
When hiring, you want to validate that your current sales team has the necessary skills to handle the job and support future sales growth. Thus, businesses are repositioning themselves to attract the best sales talent to develop their sales capacity.
So what can be done differently?
To hire better sales talent, companies need to develop a process and plan to help them measure employee performance because conventional hiring methods just won’t do anymore. When recruiting and selecting sales talent, it is important to find the right match for your business, especially looking at the specific skills necessary to handle the demands of the role. Even though past experience and ability are great to have, the candidate also needs to be able to flourish in your business environment.
You need to attract the right potential candidates to engage with for the role. If you want to hire top talent, you have to ensure you’re attracting excellent performers. Once you do that, then the rest of the hiring process is about finding out if these people can succeed in the role and selling them the role.
Make them want to work at your company by positioning it as a great place to work and offering sufficient incentives and compensation for the role. This is a sure-fire way to entice exceptional candidates because we know for sure they aren’t afraid to turn down offers they don’t feel they deserve.
To get top talent, use any means possible, specifically using online tools and technology during recruitment. This will help you optimize your recruitment processes while allowing you to determine your prospects’ competencies, knowledge, personal values, and traits that are compatible with your business.
After getting the potentially right people for the job, now you need to test out their skills. At this juncture, you can use relevant pre-employment screening and assessment tools to get the best results for each candidate. Remember, you are hiring the person as a whole, so you’ll also need to base the assessment on job-specific requirements, the company culture, and goals. Pre-employment tests, crafted specifically for sales roles, can give you insight into each candidate's possible success and relevant abilities to the role.
Why use pre-employment tests when hiring sales talent?
Practical assessments can give you precise data and enhance the subjectivity of the recruitment process. Sales assessments can help employers measure a candidate’s fit and skills. Predictive analysis is also employed in these tests to assess the information submitted by applicants so recruiters can get an idea of who is more likely to thrive in your organization. Once you narrow down the list of potential candidates using this information, you can take advantage of in-person interviews to further drill down.
Being strategic in the assessment tests you use can help recruiters save time and avoid unintentionally overlooking high-quality sales talent. This also helps you avoid hiring candidates who may not be suited for the job.
A pre-employment sales assessment should help to evaluate the following in potential candidates:
Closing and influence
Management of the sales process
Analysis of customer requirements
And in terms of personality factors and fit:
Depending on the type of values you have and the business your company does, you can choose from any of these types of pre-employment assessments during the recruitment process:
1. Skills and work sample assessments: These tests help to evaluate the candidate's hard and soft skills by focusing on practical applications.
2. Cognitive ability assessments: These tests look at the applicant’s problem-solving skills and thinking capacity.
3. Integrity assessments: These focus on the potential candidate’s trustworthiness and character, but they are not as foolproof as the others because of the individual’s potential to lie.
4. Job knowledge assessments: This type of test evaluates the candidate’s capabilities and knowledge on a specific subject.
Sometimes candidates are hesitant to take pre-employment assessments especially if they are too challenging and long. For this reason, strive to make the tasks included in these assessments as relevant as possible to the position in question. You can also mention the possible duration of the recruitment process overall and state that the test helps to hasten the final decision.
Usually, the candidate who is the best fit for the job and your company and who wants it the most, will not mind taking some of their time to show you what they’ve got.