Sales Assessment Tests: What to Expect + How to Prepare
If you're applying for a sales job, part of the hiring process includes completing a sales assessment test.
You want to become part of this sales team, and questions immediately start rushing through your head. How do I prepare for this? What’s the format like? What if I fail or get a low score? Do I still stand a chance of being employed?
Although it may seem intimidating, a sales assessment test is nothing to worry about. Instead, spend time practicing and getting familiar with the test so you can show your best self to the employer.
Not sure where to start? This post will show you how to best prepare for and ace your next sales assessment test--and land that dream sales job.
What is a Sales Assessment Test?
A sales assessment test is a standardized aptitude test that sales hiring managers and recruiters use to evaluate applicants' sales skills during the hiring process.
Candidates must demonstrate the sales skills and reasoning required to succeed in a sales role, such as adaptability, numerical proficiency, teamwork, goal-setting, and ambition.
Today, many companies use sales assessment tests to make the right hires. Even though they require time and effort to set up, employers find investing more time in recruiting the right people leads to better hires, lower turn over, and higher sales numbers.
Most companies rely on third-party assessment providers to conduct the test, like Gallup, TestGorilla, Caliper, SalesFuel, Brainbench, or Practice Aptitude Tests.
Here are a few sales assessment question examples (we’ll share a long list of them later) to give you an idea of what to expect in the test:
1. Skill is more important than attitude.
2. The key element to succeeding in sales is:
B. Presenting benefits of your offer in the most appealing way
C. Asking prospects to buy early and often, always going for the close.
3. The best salespeople are:
B. assertive, confident and charismatic
C. disciplined, competent, highly knowledgeable
4. Moving the sales conversation forward fast matters more than making the prospect feel comfortable with the process.
5. You're selling website design services, and a prospect tells you that the last agency they worked with couldn't get it right. How would you respond?
B. I can tell, looking at your website there's so much that could be executed much better, and we're the right team to help you with that. Let's start working on this together?
C. What about the work they delivered wasn't right?
Why do Companies Use Sales Aptitude Tests?
Sales assessments improve the sales hiring process and ensure you and the company find the right fit. Most sales managers use these tests to:
- Get More Insight into a Candidate's Personality: Sales assessments make it easier to objectively screen and compare candidates on essential sales competencies that might not be apparent in a traditional interview, including whether they're a good fit for the company's culture.
- Determine if a Candidate is a Good Fit for a Particular Sales Position: Not all sales positions are equal. For instance, a company hiring for an SDR position might want to know if an applicant can hold a conversation and have a good tolerance for sales rejections.
- Learn Which Clients a Candidate is Best Suited For: Tests can be tailored to feature scenarios and questions specific to factors like the client’s business model and industry, allowing the hiring manager to determine where the applicant would succeed in the company.
Most Common Sales Assessment Questions – And How to Answer Them
Potential employers want to ensure new hires have the right skills, experience, and personality to fit in with the organization and do the job right.
Let’s look at some common assessment questions and an example question or exercise. We’ll also explain what a good and bad answer might look like.
Keep in mind that sales assessment questions will vary from company to company—instead of memorizing each example, it’s best to look at the “bigger picture” behind the questions and what they’re aimed at accomplishing.
Sales Skills Assessment Questions/Exercises
When assessing your sales skills, employers might look at things like your competence in communication, objection handling, qualifying, closing, goal setting, pitching and presentation, reaching decision-makers, time management, and performing research.
Example Exercise: Write a cold email to a decision-maker of a SaaS company with 200+ employees to pitch a marketing tool. The estimated deal value is $20k annually.
Good answer: Ensure it’s well-written, succinct, and clearly structured. Speak the language of the prospect and address a common pain point. Only include one clear call-to-action (CTA).
Bad answer: Long-winded, too much information about your own company and yourself, no clear or multiple CTAs, contains attachments.
Hypothetical Sales Scenarios Assessment Exercises
Employers might present you with hypothetical sales scenarios to evaluate your situational judgments and decision-making skills in the moment.
Example Question: You’ve been negotiating a contract with a potential customer for two months. They’ve expressed strong interest and discussions are going well. But all of a sudden, they say they’re not interested. How do you handle this?
Good answer: Be clear and specific about your steps and actions. Explain why you would take those steps and what the potential outcomes of those steps might be.
Bad answer: Unclear and vague, too aggressive or too passive in your hypothetical plan, failure to show a meaningful and strategic thought process, failure to be resourceful and even creative.
Sales Personality Test or Self-Assessment
Your personality is important—for making sales and fitting in with the team.
Example Question: Which of these personality traits are your strongest and weakest? Teamwork, leadership, organization, coach-ability and adaptability, time management, conflict resolution.
Good answer: Be honest. Elaborate on your strengths and give examples of past scenarios where those strengths have shined in the workplace. With each weakness, describe how you’re working to resolve it.
Bad answer: Bragging, lying, or sneakily turning weaknesses into strengths. (No one believes your greatest weakness is you're just too perfect!)
In addition to sales-specific skills and knowledge, you’ll need to show cognitive abilities during the interview process, like command of the English language and basic math and analytical skills. These may come in the form of a test similar to the SAT we took in high school, or as a few isolated questions. For more examples, see this helpful guide.
Example Exercise: Review these performance data spreadsheets and identify the key trends that you find.
Good answer: Show your ability to look at the data from a high-level perspective, as well as a more granular perspective. Think about what’s meaningful to the company’s bottom line and to your sales role.
Bad answer: Fails to perform basic analysis or to find consequential considerations — or fails to answer the question at all.
Technical Skills and Industry-Specific Knowledge
This is where you need to show your industry chops, not just your ability to chat on the phone.
Potential employers will likely ask if you've worked with the company's tools, like customer relationship management (CRM) platforms or outreach tools. In some fields, domain knowledge is critical, especially in fields like pharmaceutical or medical device sales where there is typically a rigorous training process, and hiring decisions come with higher training and onboarding costs.
Example Question (for a pharmaceutical role): How do you research pharmaceutical products?
Good answer: Show that you’re fully informed and involved in industry news and resources. List specific sources — and be sure they’re reputable and well-respected in the industry. Explain what types of information you look for during your research phase and why.
Bad answer: Unclear and vague, failure to list specific sources, failure to show that you’re actively involved in the industry and that you value learning and factual perspectives.
Hey, aspiring leader! The magic of sales manager training tactics is waiting for you in our comprehensive article.
How to Pass Your Next Sales Assessment Test
To nail your test, it takes some preparation and a positive mindset.
As far as preparation goes: Congrats! The simple fact that you're reading this is already proof that you're preparing.
Here are some key tips for making sure you pass (with flying colors, hopefully.)
Research the Company and Their Industry
Take at least an hour to deep-dive and gather as much information as you can.
Start by researching the company. Learn about its size, services, current clients and ideal customer profile, recent news, competitors, and anything else you can find.
Then, “zoom out” a bit. Look at the company’s industry and market. What’s the current state? Are there any notable trends?
Learn common industry lingo or terminology and the tools and resources that are commonly used.
This research will come in handy during the assessment, where you can showcase your knowledge and willingness to learn.
Brush Up on Your Sales Skills
It never hurts to refresh your memory on areas you think you might need.
For example, has it been a while since your cognitive aptitude has been tested? Try searching online for a practice test you can take at home and studying the answers you got wrong.
Or, if you want to make sure your cold-calling skills are up to par, review a few cold calling scripts, so you know just what to say.
Even if you don’t explicitly use this new information during your assessment, you’ll feel more confident in performing well.
Be Honest and Open
Don't try to give the answers you think they want to hear or is theoretically correct. Instead, give the answers that you believe to be true.
This is particularly important during a self-assessment. Choose the answer that best represents how you would behave in real life.
Avoid dwelling on questions for too long as you move through—pick what feels right first. Sometimes when facing a multiple-choice question, you might find that more than one answer seems correct. In those cases, pick the one that you think is most important.
Especially in remote sales, you can often complete the sales assessment test at your own convenience. Our best advice: don't delay.
Schedule an hour or two as soon as possible and get it out of the way. Hiring managers often note this, and they’ll likely factor in how long it takes you to move through the process and complete the questionnaire.
After all, the best sales reps typically have a get it done sooner rather than later attitude.
Sample Sales Assessment Test Questions
Remember, there's no universal assessment tool; different sales organizations structure their questionnaires differently. This section aims to give you an idea of the kinds of questions that sales leaders often use to assess the skill sets of prospective sales talent.
1. You're in the middle of a product demo to a group of core stakeholders. One of them cuts in and asks a question about a very specific use case, that isn't really an important factor in the buying decision. How would you handle this?
- Answer the question to show that you are competent and that your solution can indeed be applied to that use case. Then proceed with your demo.
- Answer the question to show that you are competent and that your solution can indeed be applied to that use case. Then ask the person if they have any further questions.
- Tell them: "That's a great question and I'm happy to address that later in the presentation."
- Ask others in the room: "Does anyone else think this is an important point to address right now? Otherwise let's stay focused on top priority items."
- Politely tell the prospect that this isn't the time and place to address this question, and proceed where they interrupted you.
- Ask them: "Why does this matter to you?"
2. When was the last time you had an unusually long losing streak? How long did it last? How did you stay engaged, and what turned things around for you? Was there anything you wish you would have done differently, or you would do differently the next time? What have you learned from that experience?
3. You're selling a highly specific CMS solution, and the prospect tells you that high customizability without hiring expensive developers is important to them. You tell them your system is a great fit for that, and they respond by saying: "There's no CMS that claims they're hard to use, everyone, claims great usability." How do you respond?
- I'm a bit surprised that at this point in the conversation you don't trust my words. I've answered all your questions and presented all the information you asked for honestly and never given you a reason to doubt me. Where is this coming from?
- That's a valid concern. You're currently on Xtacy CMS, and I can share case studies of companies like yours that made the switch from Xtacy to our CMS and were able to customize it better to their own needs while also reducing their reliability on expensive dev hours.
- If we would establish that our CMS actually is highly customizable without the need for hiring expensive developers, would you be ready to buy? Or are there other concerns we'd have to address first?
4. The ability to handle objections is the most important skill for sales professionals.
5. Making the prospect feel understood is more important than being confident at any point in the sales conversation.
6. Which of the following would you not do:
- On a discovery call a prospect says he's willing to schedule a call for a product demo with you, together with another decision maker. You ask them to pick a time in the calendar right away, but they say they'll need to talk with the other person first. You say you understand, ask when they'll be able to get back to you, and you appreciate their time.
- On a discovery call a prospect says he's willing to schedule a call for a product demo with you, together with another decision maker. You give more supporting information, to make sure the prospect will be even more interested in the demo.
- On a discovery call a prospect says he's willing to schedule a call for a product demo with you, together with another decision maker. You ask them to pick a time in the calendar right away, but they say they'll need to talk with the other person first. You insist on scheduling an appointment right now, and tell them that if that doesn't work, they can always reschedule.
7. During a sales call, you encounter an objection you've not heard before, and don't know how to answer. You tell the prospect: "I don't know how to respond to this, but I promise I'll get back to you with the answer. Assuming I can address this satisfactorily, is there anything else that we'd have to cover before you'd make a buying decision?" After the call, you:
- Go through your sales training and internal documentation to find the answer first.
- Ask your sales manager first.
- Ask your peers first.
- Brainstorm the best possible response first, then ask your manager and present them with your best response, and ask for feedback.
When you look at these questions, you'll find some questions have clearcut right and wrong answers. But typically, questionnaires are structured in a way where there's no universally "correct" answer.
Instead, the questions are designed to indicate whether you will naturally fit into the overall selling style of the company or not.
When It Comes to Sales Assessment, a Little Preparation Goes a Long Way
Now more than ever, organizations are laser-focused on finding the right team members for their sales roles—and they’re using sales assessments as critical tools to ensure they’re identifying top performers.
While a sales assessment can seem intimidating, you’ll likely find that it wasn’t as tough as you thought.
Remember the tips you’ve learned in this article, and spend time upfront to feel prepared and confident.
Once you do this, you’ll be able to approach your assessment as a way to showcase your strengths, showcase your sales skills, and prove you’re the right salesperson for the job.
Looking for more helpful info and tips? Download our sales resource collection!