Exposed - Personality Tests Disguised as Sales Assessments
Yesterday, I met with a long-time client who, in his previous company, used OMG's Assessments to identify what needed to change in order to double revenue from $30 million to $60 million. In his new company, which is already about 12x that size, he wants to double revenue again. He said, "I just wasted two years with the _____ Assessment. The assessment he referred to was a personality assessment marketed as a sales assessment. It could have referred to any personality or behavioral styles assessment.
Many people are not going to like this article. I am about to expose the findings in personality based and behavioral based assessments that companies have been marketing as sales assessments for the last dozen years.
First, you'll need to read this piece, Personality Assessments for Sales - The Definitive Case Study. Really, you need to read it first!
There isn't a tremendous difference between personality assessments and behavioral styles assessments. Popular behavioral styles assessments, like the various versions of DISC, produce findings along 4 dimensions (categories) while some personality assessments, like those using the PF16 as their underlying instrument, can measure traits in as many as 16 dimensions.
But Personality Assessments and Behavioral Styles assessments are not predictive of sales performance. They don't conduct Predictive Validity studies as we do because their assessments don't predict. Instead they conduct Construct Validity studies, which only show to what extent an assessment measures a specific trait. And not the traits you want to know about, but the traits they can actually measure.
So here's the problem. Their marketing material usually says something like, "Salespeople must be able to Prospect, Question, Manage Objections and Close. They must have Product Knowledge. They must be accountable, have drive, be self starters and be coachable." You read those words and say, "yes, yes. That is exactly what we need." And the masquerade is on.
As I wrote in the other article, personality based sales assessments don't really measure what you need to know. Instead they report on what they can actually measure. In the table below, I'll list some of the most common "findings" in personality and behavioral styles tests that are marketed as sales assessments, describe what is really being measured, and compare that to what Objective Management Group (OMG) measures and reports.
I can't display a table on this site so here's a link back to the original article where you can view the table and read the rest of the article
If you are continuing to read here, following is the remainder of the article without the table:
Those are just some of the most common findings. Since OMG's Assessments are so sales specific, there are literally dozens of findings covering everything that can possibly happen in sales including, but not limited, to prospecting, closing, qualifying, account management, farming, use of the sales process, ability to handle stalls, put-offs, objections and work remotely, growth potential, development needs and more. What's most important to understand about assessments is that:
* the questions in the personality tests are asked in the context of social settings, not sales settings, so none of the findings are sales specific.
* Because the findings in personality assessments are not sales specific, they are not predictive.
* Personality assessments are generally one size fits all, without regard to your market, its challenges, your competition, your pricing, the resistance your salespeople will face, your compensation plan and how specific selling strengths and weaknesses will impact those conditions.
* Assessments of your existing salespeople should be useful for development. If you don't have sales specific findings, you are only developing them as people, not salespeople.
* How is OMG Different? Assessments are only a minor part of an effective sales force evaluation. The most important part is to be able to learn:
* What impact sales management is having on the salespeople
* Whether you've been hiring the right people
* Whether your sales force can execute your strategies
* Whether your systems and processes support the sales force
* How effective sales management is
* If you can develop more of a sales culture
* Whether the salespeople can make a transition like - account manager types to hunters and closers; presenters and quoters to consultative sales types; transactional sale to a solution sale; etc.
* Who can be developed?
* If you're attempting to down-size or right sales the sales force, who are the individuals that actually have the ability to help you do more with less?
* How much better can they get?
* What it will take?
* What the ROI on development would be
* Why you get the specific results you get
* What is the quality of your pipeline?
When used for Hiring and Selection, an assessment must be an accurate predictor of sales success for a particular sales role in your particular company, calling on your particular market, with its particular challenges and competition. A personality assessment won't consistently identify the people who will succeed while OMG's Assessment, with its 95% Predictive Validity, will. We can differentiate between Hirable (they meet our criteria and yours); Hirable - Ideal (they are hirable and they will ramp up more quickly than normal); and Hirable - Perfect (they are hirable ideal and they meet additional customized criteria that match up with your most effective producers).
In summary, whether you are using a personality assessment, behavioral styles assessment, psychological assessment, or psychometric (describes all of the above) assessment, it's the marketing that is sales specific, not the findings. Use them at your own risk.