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Win the War for Sales Talent

assessing talent for inside sales


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One way to stay at the forefront of sales talent management is through a strength-based approach: focusing on what people do well and tapping their natural talents, versus trying to improve their weaknesses.

The concept works in two ways. It supports the identification of strengths that you want to bring into your team, helping to make sure that you recruit the right people into the right roles. Secondly, research shows that when employees are given feedback related to their strengths and when their work plays to their strengths, they are more likely to remain with that organization.

I am currently completing a master’s degree in Positive Psychology, and in my work, I’ve found quite a lot of research and information on the subject of creating strength-based organizations and teams. As the experts say, people who use their strengths …

  • Perform better at work (Corporate Leadership Council, 2002)
  • Are more likely to achieve their goals (Linley, Nielsen, Wood, Gillet & Biswas-Diener, 2010)
  • Experience less stress (Wood, Linley, Maltby, Hurling, 2010)
  • Have higher levels of energy and vitality (Govindji & Linley, 2007)
  • Are more engaged at work (Harter, Schmidt & Hayes, 2002)
  • Have higher levels of self-esteem (Minhas, 2010)
  • Are more confident (Govindji & Linley, 2007)
  • Stay longer with companies (Stefanyszyn, 2007)
In 2004, a survey by author and researcher Tom Rath found that when managers focus on strengths, it significantly reduces disengagement by employees. Specifically, when managers primarily ignored employees, their chances of being actively disengaged were 40%; that figure shrank to 22% when managers focused on employee weaknesses, and it dropped to 1% when managers focused on employee strengths.

What we can learn from these statistics and surveys is the value that a strength-based approached has in creating high-performance workplaces. When people are engaged, energized, and less stressed at work, they give much more to their organizations. It’s a winning equation for all involved.

Now, think about this in terms of teamwork. When managers know the strengths of the people on their team, they can craft different work opportunities that play to those strengths. Managers can also assemble work groups that blend the strengths of different employees, effectively leveraging the talents within to suit the task at hand.

To put the theory of strength-based leadership in practice, managers need to assess the people on their team. Many online sales assessments are available as convenient and useful tools. Richardson Sales Performance partnered with Caliper Management to offer TalentGauge™, which is an online sales assessments that evaluates behaviors and motivators that drive success, resulting in a rating based on specific predictors of performance.

The actuarial science behind TalentGauge measures the potential to perform in a certain role, and each sales assessment is tailored to the specific company, based on sales skills that have been identified as most critical to success within each role.

With tools like TalentGauge, sales managers can identify the strengths of their people, leverage those strengths, and work with higher-performing teams. Sales professionals get to draw on their natural talents to do work that they enjoy and are challenged by, and they tend to stay with their employer over time.

This is how organizations can win the war for sales talent, by hiring people with the right skills and then keeping them energized and engaged.

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