So one the biggest questions when hiring a new sales person is do I hire someone with industry knowledge or do I hire someone that knows how to sell. Well it really depends on the make up of your organization. Ask yourself these questions, does my company have a strong sales management team? Does my company have a strong technical staff that can support a strong sales person? Is the sales person going to have other teammates to learn from? Why am I hiring a salesperson? Do you need a hunter or an account manager?
If you find a candidate with strong sales skills chances are they will be a driven person with a desire to learn as much as they can about your products and services to be successful. Sales is a skill in its self and takes years to develop. With the advancement in technology it could be said that more and more people lack people skills, and in sales you will almost always be required to effectively communicate. A salesperson needs to have social skills that allows them to uncover needs and deliver necessary messages. I would argue that it would be easier to teach a new hire about your industry as opposed to teach a new hire how to effectively prospect and sell.
If you find a candidate with industry knowledgable and no experience in sales you are taking a gamble. You need to make sure your company can support the efforts to give this employee attention. That does not mean that you shouldn’t hire someone that has never sold. It just means that you need to make sure the candidate is willing to learn that skill and that your company is in a position to invest in their learning efforts. Is selling an art or a science? I believe it’s both and that will take time to learn and develop.
A GREAT sales person can be a jack of all trades but should strive to be the master of one….Selling!