The Science of Sales Hiring: How to Predict Sales Success

Sales Hiring PredictionsWhen you’re hiring sales reps, how do you evaluate crucial attributes like ambition and resilience?

Traditionally, sales managers consider a candidate’s track record, such as experience, education and GPA. But this standard resume information is not a reliable indicator of future success because it doesn’t measure a person’s internal drive or ability to overcome adversity.

Every poor hiring decision a sales manager makes costs the company a bundle in missed sales opportunities — as much as $205,000, by some estimates.

Even though finding the right talent is widely seen as a top sales challenge, HR departments have been slow to adopt analytics because they generally aren’t skilled in IT or statistics.

Hiring teams continue to use outdated criteria and rely on their instincts and intuition — with lackluster results. CSO Insights reports that nearly 40 percent of sales reps miss their annual quotas.

XANT has cracked the code on using data to make better hiring decisions. The result is Sales Indicator, an easy-to-use online assessment tool that predicts success based on four key attributes that affect sales performance.

See an introduction to Sales Indicator by watching the webinar, “Data-Driven Hiring: Using Science to Build a Winning Sales Team.”

Sales Indicator helps you uncover what makes your top performers successful so you can hire more of them and gives you specific guidance for coaching your other reps to help them become more like your top performers.

Dr. James Siebach, senior research fellow at XANT, has identified the four essential attributes for the optimal sales candidate.

1. Ambition

Dr. Siebach defines ambition as an intense urge to be successful in life. He found a strong correlation between ambition and top sales performance. Interestingly, he has discovered that the status of your parents’ careers and the level of demand that your parents place on your education have been shown to affect your ambition.

2. Resilience

Resilience is the ability to handle and overcome adversity. This one’s not too surprising, considering how often sales reps face uncertainty and rejection.

“Optimal sellers are not pros at losing,” Siebach says. “Optimal sellers are pros at denying there is a loss. They inflate their own abilities and deflate adversities. But the inflation and deflation must be moderated because your brain knows when you’re lying to yourself.”

3. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in your client’s position or to feel what somebody else feels. In a sales role, it’s also defined as the ability to pick up on what your client is thinking.

Dr. Siebach’s research shows that excessive empathy actually hurts sales performance, while appropriate empathy improves it. This important finding is built into Sales Indicator’s sophisticated algorithms.

4. Openness

Openness refers to curiosity about the world in which we find ourselves. It is the desire to learn things and to acquaint oneself with new ideas.

Openness includes a tolerance for different points of view, different explanations of human life and its richness. Openness seeks to expand one’s set of beliefs by understanding more of one’s social and cultural environment.

Sales Indicator Report

The first step is to give the assessment to your existing sales staff. Sales Indicator uses patented predictive analytics technology, called Neuralytics, to identify optimal scores for your organization based on the criteria you select.

When a candidate completes the assessment, you will receive a report via email. This report shows you a Sales Indicator score and predicts the level of quota attainment this candidate will achieve.

XANT also offers training modules that can help you coach your existing reps to improve in each of the four essential sales attributes.

Click here to see Sales Indicator in action.

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Image credit: Sean McGrath

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