Today, we have another rare opportunity to compare a personality assessment, masquerading as a sales assessment, to OMG's sales-specific assessment. A candidate took the test with which the recruiter was familiar, Sales Achievement Predictor (SalesAP), while the client asked the candidate to take OMG's assessment.
I later received an email asking if I could explain why OMG's assessment said "Not Recommended" and the SalesAP said "Highly Recommended". In general terms, SalesAP, like all personality assessments, makes assumptions about its sales findings.
- SalesAP states that the candidate had the ability to make cold calls, but how do they know that? The candidate had Initiative and Extroversion as findings, so they incorrectly assume that translates to cold calling. But that isn't necessarily so. OMG found that the candidate also had strong Need for Approval and Difficulty Recovering from Rejection - two conditions that actually hinder cold calling.
- SalesAP states that the candidate had the ability to close, but how do they know that? The candidate has Competitiveness and Goal Orientation as findings, so they incorrectly assume that translates to closing. But that isn't necessarily so. OMG found that the candidate has only 11% of the attributes of the Consultative selling skill set and 11% of the attributes of the Closer skill set. In addition, he had 4, out of a possible 5, Major Weaknesses with a High (bad) Severity - all factors that inhibit effective closing.
- SalesAP states that the candidate had a Strong Disposition to Selling, but how do they know that? I believe it's simply a sum of the first two findings! OMG found that while the candidate Enjoys Selling, he had a very low Sales Posturing Score, so he'll struggle making good first impressions.
- What SalesAP is completely unable to identify are specific selling skills that are relevent to the sales specific role that this salesperson would fill. OMG found that this candidate would be unable to Sell Value, a requirement for a company that has either a complex sale or products that are priced higher than the competition.
This personality test, and others like it, simply look at ranges of scores and if the scores are similar with those of successful salespeople, they assume that this person will be successful too. But unsuccessful salespeople regularly score high in these dimensions too! Personality tests are great when you simply want to know more about an individual. However, when it comes to salespeople, there are three things that personality tests are not:
- Sales-specific, and
- Predictive of sales performance.
It's not practical to use personality tests as a sole hiring or development tool, but it's fine to use them as a complimentary tool, as long as you completely ignore the recommendations. Why? Personality tests can only report on what they can measure and they can only measure the responses to their questions. Unfortunately, the questions are asked in social settings, rather than sales settings, and the findings have very little relevance to sales.