Harnessing Behavioral Assessment To Hire Sales Reps That Hit High Quotas

The lifeblood of every sales organization is their sales team. They’re the gateway to any organization’s revenue stream. Their failure or success is critical to an organization’s operation. That’s why hiring sales reps is a top focus for Chief Revenue Officers in 2021.

There are several ways to measure a sales rep’s performance. Activity is one, but sales quota attainment is the logical place to start. That’s because quota is a very practical metric, as it directly ties to an organization’s business outcome: revenue. Sales quota attainment represents whether or not sales reps within an organization has met that organization’s sales target for a given period. Sales leaders are now matching behavioral insights to quota attainment to inform their hiring decisions.

Without connecting key behaviors to objective performance metrics, hiring sales reps is difficult. Surveys conducted by CSO Insights indicates that an average of 43 percent of salespeople met their sales target. In other words, 57 percent of sales people weren’t able to meet sales targets. In organizations where that is not addressed, that means that high performers are carrying the load for the majority of the lead, resulting in poor morale and high turnover.

Those numbers have recently nosedived, and sales leaders have a grim outlook on revenue in 2021. Hubspot highlights that in 2020, only 40% of Chief Revenue Officers met their goals. According to Gartner, only 6% of Chief Sales Officers expect to meet their revenue goals in 2021.

A Problem For Sales Managers Or Hiring Managers?

At first, it seems quite obvious who has to deal with the problem of quota attainment. However, modern businesses have evolved to understand that propelling company goals — no matter which domain it falls under — requires a company-wide approach. That means that hiring sales reps is a top business priority. While sales manager inevitably get the stern look when sales rep fall below quotas, the problem of quota attainment starts at the interview desk. That’s because hiring top sales reps reduces the managerial workload required to manage salespeople to meet targets. Most times, sales managers usually react to results (something that has already occurred) as opposed to seeking out behaviors that will drive those results. They rely heavily on external metrics while pushing to change sales narrative. The problem is, sometimes the people they’re working with might not be the best fit for the role.

Hiring Managers on the other hand have an enormous power to address quota attainment before employees even step their foot into their offices. They can beam their searchlight on potential hires whose behavioral profile can boost their chances of reaching sales quotas within the context of their organization. In other words, they can handpick people who will find it easier to hit high quotas free the organization of quota attainment headache.  But how can this be done? How do you hire sales reps that smash quotas?

Hiring Quota-smashing Sales Reps

It all starts by weighing the behavioral profile of your potential hires against your organization’s sales dynamics.  The key thing is the underlying behaviors that drive your required outcomes. For instance, in some organizations, the sales dynamics might highly prioritize a candidate with high emotional perception. To put simply, someone who is able to see things from the perspective of a potential client. Not just see things but also feel the pains and the problem they’re feeling in order to identify a way in which the company’s product can solve the client’s problem. It could be quite hard for traditional recruitment processes to identify the right candidate for such a role. This is because the hiring unit must identify the perfect set of behaviors that drives such outcomes.

A behavioral assessment will be able to identify dozens of traits that are relevant to an organization’s unique sales dynamics. Some of them include:

  • Interaction style: how will they likely interact with potential clients? How empathetic are they? Can the relate with the client’s problem? Can they proactively try seeing things from the client’s perspective?
  • Love for autonomy: do they like to be instructed at all times or prefer to go solo? Do they prefer to go against the grain or work strictly as instructed?
  • Communication abilities: how great are they with conversations? Can they easily initiate small talks that culminate into business deals? How assertive or persuasive are they?
  • Resilience: can they stay positive after a rejection? How much of rejection will break their spirit?
  • Reaction to change: how do they deal with unusual scenarios? Can they adapt easily to changes? Are they experimental and creative?
  • Discipline: how disciplined are they? The average enterprise deal requires 14 meetings. So, do they have the endurance to keep following-up with relevant information all the way through?


The amount of each behavior required for sales rep varies depending on what is being sold, the size of the organization and the organization’s dynamics in general. Nonetheless, a behavioral evaluation represents a potent tool for identifying such combinations of behaviors. By establishing a candidate’s behavioral profile against performance metrics, organizations can make better decisions. It starts with identifying whether a candidate possesses the behaviors needed for peak performance.

In conclusion, knowing how your potential hires will behave in certain situations or respond to specific triggers is a huge advantage to your organization’s sales objective. Not only will it help guard your organization against potential losses, it will put it on a growth trajectory. Learn how Aptology helps sales organizations get insights into candidates in just 15 minutes.