• Mike Poledna

5 Ways for Sales Leaders to Hire and Evaluate Talent More Effectively

Updated: Jan 13

To improve effectiveness at hiring and evaluating sellers, it’s essential to understand what a rigorous, systematic sales talent assessment process should look like. Companies implementing this approach reap the benefits: CSO Insights’ Sales Talent Study showed that organizations that use data-driven tools to select candidates have a 13.6% higher quota.

Rely on Data-Driven Assessments

Companies who use data-driven tools while following a rigorous, systematic talent assessment process can identify revenue opportunities sooner than those who rely on intuition when hiring and evaluating sellers. Let’s discuss five different methods of assessing seller talents that can be used to generate comprehensive metrics-driven knowledge about each candidate and remove the guesswork.

  • Predictive Assessment: Each sales role has the required skills. Predictive assessments offer binary insights into an individual’s sales DNA. This assessment can be used when evaluating new hire candidates as well as current employees.

  • Skills Assessment: This type of assessment is used to identify the skills sellers have learned throughout their careers to determine their strengths and what areas they need coaching.

Remove Subjectivity

Defining what constitutes a good salesperson is difficult and open to personal bias, so it’s important to rely on in-depth data that shows sellers’ behavior over time. Employed by companies of all sizes, talent assessments answer the question: "Does this person belong in their role?"

Not All Sellers Should Be Sales Leaders

A sales leader may be tempted to make the first goal for new sellers an attractive (but not necessary) one, such as a global account manager. But after conducting a comprehensive assessment of a seller’s strengths and weaknesses, you should discuss which goals would optimize their success with the buyer. Being a strong sales leader requires an entirely different set of skills than what an individual seller entering into the field should be focusing on. The more sales leaders recognize this, the better positioned they are to ensure that their sellers strive for appropriate aspirational goals that match both groups’ skill sets.

Make Culture Fit Part of the Process

Some organizations believe that because a candidate has the required skills, success in sales is guaranteed. But there are many assessments of sales performance that don’t test for cultural fit. A successful assessment may give a company only 50% to 60% of what they need to know about whether someone will succeed on their team, so it's important to evaluate cultural fit during the interview process.

Assess for the 'Extra-Mile Factors'

Talent assessments are often focused on core selling competencies—at the expense of other talents, salespeople bring to the table. For example, some sellers are exceptional brand ambassadors who appreciate that beyond their technical skills, they also need such soft skills as empathy and customer service:

  • they go the extra mile to negotiate client case studies

  • they convince clients to attend company events

  • they work with finance to customize billing to accommodate a high-value customer

Although details like these may be the minor aspects of a product or service, they add immeasurable value to the customer experience. Find ways to pinpoint what qualities best represent your company's brand when it comes time for selection and evaluation.


In the current B2B buyer climate, companies need to implement a rigorous approach when evaluating sales talent. Relying on gut instinct is not enough in this environment because 23 percent of buyers consider salespeople as a resource to solve a business problem. Hiring and performance evaluation should be dependent on metrics-driven talent strategies that remove personal biases from the process. To get the most out of your sales team, remember these key techniques:

  • Employ robust data-driven tools for hiring outcomes

  • Push back on the temptation to rely on personal bias

  • Don’t assume that being a sales leader is the career path for every seller

  • It's necessary to assess culture-fit in hiring

  • Seek the 'extra-mile factors' in sales candidates

At SalesLab, we utilize Talexes' proprietary assessments - scientifically validated, predictive assessments used to determine if a candidate will be successful and whether that candidate is a good culture fit, which many other predictive assessments don’t consider.

Get everything you need to execute a productive sales interview. Our ebook, 3 Essential Resources for Interviewing Sales Candidates, has the tools to make it easy. You’ll get an outline for the perfect interview, a list of questions to ask (and ones to avoid), and a candidate evaluation form to make sure you and your team make the best hire.

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