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Building industry survey asks if companies prefer industry experience or superior selling skills
Pinnacle Consulting, leading UK recruiters for the building product sector asks in a new survey what is the best route to take when a company is recruiting a salesperson - Industry experience or superior sales skills?
Recruiting a salesperson is a vital decision and should be considered to be a long-term investment. Earlier this year Pinnacle discussed why employers make so many poor decisions when it comes to recruitment and one common mistake we identified was that even if you poach a candidate from a competitor, there is very rarely an ‘off the peg, select and forget” solution. This leads to the question, what is the best route to take in your selection process so that you maximise your return on investment?
The two options are to appoint a salesperson with industry specific experience and contacts or to appoint a high calibre sales professional from another industry who can learn about the building product and construction industry and provide even greater skills and rewards for companies
A salesperson, or any customer-facing professional, is given a huge amount of trust by their employer. To many involved in the purchasing process, they are the company and their opinions on the company can be formed from the professionalism, reliability, approach and knowledge of the individual or team that they deal with.
Product is naturally of paramount importance too, but the salesperson makes the difference between someone selecting from two products of similar specification. It is no good having a great product solution if the benefits are not explained to the right people in the right way that supports the marketing activity of the company.
Selecting someone with direct industry experience is often the correct decision, but it can also be the easy option for the employer - the one that, once the appointment has been made, they can just leave the sales person to get on with it, as they assume that they know what they're doing! Companies will often lean naturally towards this approach as they think that they will get some easy sales conversions and do not need to invest as much in training. They also feel that it gives confidence to the customer that the sales person knows what they are talking about – this is not always true.
However, the key area that is much more difficult to train someone in is how to actually sell? This is a talent, whereas industry experience is just acquiring knowledge. Skills are transferable and can be used to sell any product to any market.
Of course there are many salespeople with industry-specific experience that have superb sales skills and techniques too.
You can vote and join the debate here http://pinnacleconsultinguk.blogspot.co.uk/