Turn Your Job Candidate Search Inside Out by Looking Beyond Your Industry


Job seekers often feel like they are on the outside looking in. Those with jobs to fill, however, too often fail to look outside their industry to find fresh, true sales talent. At Sales Xceleration we believe in leaving no stone unturned in the ongoing search for talented sales performers. Why? Because smart companies today look for transferable skills. They do not get overly hung up about requiring actual industry experience. In other words, they prefer fresh talent to potentially stale experience. Let’s take a closer look at why seeking star sales performers outside your industry could be your best recruiting and hiring option:

Tried-and-true Isn’t Necessarily True Anymore

Even if you have always required industry experience, it’s probably a good idea to ask yourself why that still matters. Do you have data to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the only people who will be successful in this role are industry insiders? If you have that metric and it works for you, so be it. Otherwise, read on:

Hiring from the Same Industry Can Bring Old Approaches and Burn-out

Certainly, people with direct experience are attractive as they can be expected to hit the ground running, providing speed-to-revenue while helping save on training expense. However, industry-experienced people sometimes bring bad habits, or they are burned out selling their existing products. Since training should be ongoing anyway, it is logical that other outside sales people be given serious consideration.

Industry Insiders Seldom Bring Customers with Them

Most owners want to hire people within their industry because they feel the new hire will bring their clientele with them. But because change is difficult, clients rarely follow a salesperson to a new company, no matter how good the salesperson/client relationship might be.

Expanding Your Talent Pool Brings New Fish to the Surface

The truth is, while we frantically search for the Holy Grail of Sales, often insisting only on people with direct industry experience, other talented, experienced people with excellent skills and potential pass us by. Sales talent is scarce today and it will continue getting scarcer. By opening up your requirements to various skills sets from other industries, you can expand the organization’s talent pool.

Casting a Wider Net Can Land More Fish

Ask yourself this: Are there related (and relatable) fields whose top performers mirror the traits needed for success in your industry? Chances are you won’t have to search far to find some. For example, the worlds of advertising, entertainment, technology and culture are rapidly converging, so there’s a compelling reason to consider hiring successful professionals from these other disciplines.

Focusing on Results Yields Performers with Better Track Records

At Sales Xceleration, one thing we’ve found essential when hiring is to match the talent to the end product. For instance, a top sales person who consistently made over 100% quota had the skill set and discipline that transferred to doing the same thing for another company in a completely different industry.

It’s all about the data, really. We have found it is increasingly essential to find sales people who have proven results. Did they consistently hit their quota? Do they have experience with a similar length of sales cycle that your company has? Do they have a documented history of talking to key decision makers? And how have they been compensated in the past? Simply put, there is so much data available that can help determine the likelihood of success even if the job candidate has never worked in your industry.

Rapid Response Can be Shown by Flexibility and Adaptability

Successful sales performers today need to be able to rapidly respond to changing markets by using new strategies with competent people to execute those strategies. This fast-paced environment of constant change is often too great to accommodate just by retraining and relocating existing workers. Candidates who have experience in a variety of industries, however, have shown the ability to adapt and perform. And if your onboarding process is efficient, the new hire will get quickly up to speed regardless of industry experience.

Bottom Line:

Hiring from inside the same industry might seem like the easier option, but hiring from the outside can bring fresh perspectives from skilled, talented and proven sales performers. To take charge of our organization’s human capital, we to need to move beyond a locked-in mindset. We can’t afford to work solely within the silo of our own industry.

To learn more about how the proven systems of Sales Xceleration can help your company attract and retain true sales talent and achieve ongoing, sustainable success, reach out to an Advisor today.