Unveiling the Power of Sales Assessments and Data Analysis

Unveiling the Power of Sales Assessments and Data Analysis:

A Conversation with Jill Guardia, SVP, Revenue Enablement & Operations at Thought Industries, on Building High-Performing, Inclusive Sales Teams

BCI (Baker Communications Inc): Today, we have a special guest, Jill Guardia, an SVP, Revenue Enablement & Operations at Thought Industries. Jill, thank you for joining us to discuss the critical role of sales assessments and data analysis in making informed hiring decisions. Can you start by sharing your insights on why these tools are essential in the competitive business world?

Jill Guardia: Thank you for having me! In today's competitive business landscape, sales truly serves as the lifeblood of any organization. To thrive, companies must have a strong sales team capable of driving revenue growth and achieving their objectives. However, building this team is an ongoing challenge. Hiring the right salespeople is a constant, time-consuming task, and the costs associated with a bad hire can far outweigh those of a great one. This is where sales assessments and data analysis come into play, offering a valuable means of making informed and confident hiring decisions to ensure that sales teams are comprised of the right talent for success.

BCI: Could you elaborate on the role of sales assessments in evaluating potential candidates and existing team members?

Jill Guardia: Certainly! Sales assessments have proven to be an invaluable tool for assessing the strengths and weaknesses of both potential candidates and current team members. They establish a baseline for what success looks like within your organization. These assessments provide insights into a candidate's selling style, ability to collaborate within a team, communication skills, and their overall sales approach. Through my experience, these assessments grant talent teams, enablement teams, and hiring managers a comprehensive understanding of the candidate's suitability and fit for the sales role.

BCI: Data analysis, coupled with assessments, seems to be a powerful combination. Can you explain how it helps in making informed hiring decisions and building strong success profiles?

Jill Guardia: Absolutely. Data analysis is a critical component in making informed hiring decisions. By analyzing historical sales data from your existing team and defining a strong success profile, hiring managers can gain valuable insights into what attributes contribute to success within your organization. Collaborating with talent teams, I've used this data to create candidate success profiles for various sales roles, outlining the key characteristics required for success. These profiles serve as a tool to evaluate potential candidates based on their fit with the profile and guide a solid onboarding plan to expedite their ramp-up. It's important to remember to also consider cultural fit and intangible traits that may or may not align with the data-driven profile.

BCI: Can you share some of the benefits you've observed when using sales assessments and data analysis in the hiring process?

Jill Guardia: Certainly. I've witnessed several significant advantages. Firstly, it increases the likelihood of making successful hires by identifying candidates with the critical skills and attributes for sales success. Secondly, it reduces the risk of making costly bad hires, which can have negative implications in terms of time, money, and lost revenue. Thirdly, it contributes to lower turnover rates by ensuring candidates are not only a fit for the sales role but also for the organization, resulting in higher job satisfaction and retention rates.

BCI: Beyond hiring decisions, how have these tools helped you identify training and development needs for sales team members?

Jill Guardia: Sales assessments and data analysis have been instrumental in identifying areas where sales team members may need additional training or coaching to enhance their performance. By analyzing performance data, enablement leaders and hiring managers can pinpoint these areas and improve the effectiveness and productivity of the sales team. It's a continuous process that drives revenue growth.

BCI: Given the growing emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion, how can sales assessments and data analysis contribute to building diverse and inclusive sales teams?

Jill Guardia: That's a great question. One of the most significant advantages of using these tools in hiring decisions is the ability to create a diverse and inclusive sales team. By relying on objective data and metrics, hiring managers can reduce the impact of unconscious bias and establish a fair and equitable hiring process. This fosters greater diversity within the sales team, which, in turn, leads to increased creativity, innovation, and a broader perspective on sales strategies and tactics.

BCI: In your extensive experience, what last thoughts would you like to share about the impact of sales assessments and data analysis on hiring and team success?

Jill Guardia: Having used sales assessments as a hiring and performance tool in various roles, I've consistently witnessed numerous benefits. Understanding precisely what profiles the highest likelihood of success and culture fit has led to improved manager performance, higher retention rates, and faster ramp-up times – all critical measures of success. By hiring the right salespeople, providing them with the necessary training and support, and cultivating diverse and inclusive sales teams, organizations can drive revenue growth and achieve their business objectives. Sales assessments and data analysis are powerful tools that facilitate these outcomes and ensure that sales teams are equipped with the right talent for success.

Want to Read More?

Jill Guardia is one of 18 contributors to share their expert insights in our new book, A Field Guide to Data-Driven Sales Enablement. This field guide helps sellers and sales teams address the top three challenges in sales:

  • High sales turnover rates which currently average 34.7% across all sales organizations;
  • Low quota attainment rate which currently averages 43% of the sales organizations; and
  • The time and cost required to get individuals and teams to peak performance.

Hear from industry experts on how they were able to reduce sales turnover by 62% and increase the number of reps making quota by 88%. This book will show you how to substitute data for opinion.

Grab your copy today!

About Jill Guardia

Jill Guardia has been working with sales and revenue management teams for over 20 years in various roles. Her experience includes building and running enablement organizations in both small and large companies, mostly in the software space. Jill has been recognized as an Enablement Leader to watch by Sales Enablement Pros and has spoken at numerous industry conferences covering topics such as new hire onboarding, gaining a seat at the leadership table, and building successful kickoff programs.

Jill is currently SVP, Revenue Enablement and Operations at Thought Industries, a customer learning management SaaS (Software as a service) company. She is living a nomadic lifestyle while the remote workplace post Covid is promoted - with stints in Panama, St. Thomas, and Cape Cod. Jill can be reached at www.linkedin.com/jillguardia.