Almost without exception businesses selling products or providing services need efficient salespeople. In many sectors competition makes the role of salespersons extremely important with regard to the success of businesses.

Fast rotation of employees is often typical of positions including sales activities. The trend is partly due to the fact that at one end we may find people who are not optimally disposed to reach the sales objectives set for them. These individuals are often let go or they may draw conclusions themselves and move on to more suitable posts. At the other end we might find top salespersons who keep searching for more profitable positions.

However, most people in the branch will be found in the middle of this continuum. Some products and services may be easier to market and sell than others, these considerations in part defining what kinds of competences and skills are needed to make sales. These features of the work, job definitions are important when trying to fill sales positions with optimally performing professionals.

The measures used to monitor sales are often different from the instruments for controlling success in other lines of work. Efficiency and productivity in sales work is easily shown by way of counting the number of deals and profits gained. For this reason in sales work good results are often compensated for by giving commissions.

Unfavourable hiring decisions are costly in various ways, resources are used in vain and sometimes potential clients lose their trust. All relevant information improving the estimation of suitability and prediction of performance is valuable when making recruiting decisions - especially if information is cost-effectively acquired with little marginal costs.


How good sellers can be found?

Recruiting salespeople poses some special challenges for companies. It often happens that people with no experience or training in the line look for opportunities in selling. In these cases the recruiting organizations have very little suitability information to base their recruiting decisions on.

Usually the best salespersons are already hired and making profits somewhere or may be between jobs looking for more fruitful positions. On the other hand, sales hungry persons wishing to improve themselves keep their eyes open and are always on the lookout for new opportunities.

Suitability assessment helps in finding skillful salespersons

A typical problem for recruiting organizations is that of finding the right kinds of suitable salespersons cost-effectively. One approach is to hire a person and see if he or she gets results. This hiring practice may not be very cost-effective, binding organizations’ resources and causing direct and indirect costs, potentially even negative good-will outcomes.

Unfavourable hiring decisions are costly in various ways, resources are used in vain and sometimes potential clients lose their trust. All relevant information improving the estimation of suitability and prediction of performance is valuable when making recruiting decisions - especially if information is cost-effectively acquired with little marginal costs.

In many product and service sectors selling processes take time and concrete results by which to evaluate salespersons are available months or even years after hiring decisions.

One problem is that persons may not themselves know how good sellers they really are. There is a wealth of professionals in the job market (see Nokia / Microsoft engineers) whose sales potential has never been tested. Among them, there are certainly excellent sellers who have not tested their sales skills and capabilities.


The seller's role in the sales process

Every now and then the comment is heard that "a good product speaks for and sells itself". And surely this argument may be true for some really great products and services. However, people who work with sales and marketing know that making sales is often not quite this simple.

There are a lot of factors affecting sales work: e.g. the content and price of the product and service, the length of the sales process, the nature of customer contacts, the accessibility of potential customers, customers' prior information and perception of the supply, not to talk about competition! These and other relevant factors play a role and determine what kind of sellers are needed.

A good seller is well-informed and knows the product or service being sold inside out and backwards. The seller should also understand the customer's needs. The seller will have to answer to the customer needs with available solutions he or she is selling, and often in different interactional situations. The contact may be through writing, take place virtually using over-the-air communication devices, or happen face-to-face.

All sales tasks require a certain kind of entrepreneurship and hunger for success. This in turn entails that salespeople have a desire and an ability to influence different kinds of potential clients. Furthermore, interaction skills and social gameplay are of utmost importance, no matter what is sold. These skills will no doubt improve in sales people all the time as they become more experienced in other respects.

Sales of expensive goods and services (e.g. cars and homes) usually involve several face-to-face meetings with the customer. Alongside smooth diplomatic behavior, external factors also have an impact on the seller's success. Working as a seller will improve non-linguistic interaction skills of all professionals working in the field, something that contributes positively to sales figures. Using these skills may come very naturally for some professionals, who thus have to an extent inborn readiness for the job unlike others who may have to train hard to reach similar level of competence.

Phone sales and on-line sales processes are becoming more and more popular. Especially in telemarketing, where sometimes the first seconds determine the duration of interaction and hence the result of the communication interactive capabilities - language skills, fluency with words, insight, perception, creativity and ability to influence without sacrificing credibility - are particularly important success factors.

Persuasiveness and expertise are often important qualities of salespersons dealing in technical services or products, especially if the target group is assumed or known to be likely to need or somehow benefit from the products or services being sold. The salesperson should be able to credibly but diplomatically produce and offer realistic and innovative solutions to the customer's problems and needs. Typically, this requires that the technical vendor has practical work experience related to applications of the offered solutions or other contact surfaces with the product or service than mere sales catalogs.


Suitability ratings

Mindfindr provides an excellent means of evaluating the suitability of applicants to support hiring decisions. Usability estimates can be used to perform recruiting pre-screening or evaluations can be used to acquire relevant information about the qualities of applicants.

Different types of sales tasks require different personal skills and competencies. The sales-related professions in the Mindfindr service include e.g.: sales manager, solution vendors or technical and other sales reps.

For different positions in the chain, defining sales tasks requires considering different features of work, and even combining competencies relevant for different positions, e.g.

  • Musical talent of a person working in the music department is a bonus
  • Good aesthetic judgment of a seller in an art gallery is a must
  • Real estate agent should also understand construction work to an extent, etc.

Recruiting is often done with limited information. To remedy this common problem in an organization’s most important process of hiring people all available and cost-effective information should be channeled to support the decision-making.


The Mindfindr service provides a comprehensive and continuously expanding list of occupations.

If your organization or business is aiming to fill a vacancy or position with previously unspecified competence requirements within the scope offered by the service, you are encouraged to contact our development team through email