Friday, September 25, 2009

Industry Experience & Formal Education Levels are Overrated When It Comes to Finding Successful Salespeople

Industry experience and individual education levels are often overrated when it comes to hiring new salespeople. Passionate, motivated, and goal-driven individuals are far more likely to achieve sales success regardless of their industry experience or education level.

This is not just my opinion, either. A recent article posted on the Gallup Management Journal confirms this, too. Studies have shown that hiring salespeople with more industry experience or higher education levels does very little to improve a sales team's results over the long-term. Instead, companies that are succeeding in this economy with their sales team are going after the top talent and nurturing their own top performers.

I'm certainly not trying to deter anyone from gaining industry experience or obtaining more formal education. However, this is not the driving force in what makes an individual salesperson successful.

For more information on this very important topic and debate, please check out the Gallup Management Journal article when you get a chance.

10 comments:

Shannon said...

I see it every day. I work with sales reps who've been around for 20+ years and others who just started. My most well rounded, motivated, goal-driven rep is 26 years old and this is her second sales gig. She is outperforming veterans. I call her "scrappy." She doesn't care WHAT I call her, haha, as long as she makes money!
Nice blog, by the way...
Best Regards,
Shannon

Steve Waterhouse said...

While experience and education are certainly predictors of success, the hiring manager must recognize that circumstances often affect performance. For example, many sales people were excellent three years ago when the leads were plentiful and the buyers had cash. Now, in this economy, many of those successful reps are failing. Be sure the environment that the were successful in is similar to the one you are hiring them for.

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Bhanu said...

How true!
Hunger to achieve, to outperform and winning those small battles day after day is what makes a great salesman and not those degrees or the proportion of gray hair that one possess. But the sad fact is that many of such outstanding salesman remain just that..SALESMAN. While those fresh college grads..many of them so lethargic .. become sales managers. I don't see this changing in a sales world where systems, SAP and Excel reports are increasingly more important than those charmers.

nice blog btw

Paula said...

I find that individuals (regardless of experience or education level) who innately enjoy meeting new people, building a rapport, thrive on competition and excel at presentating their product because they believe in it, will be effective revenue producers.

Anonymous said...

This is a good survey, but it does not take into account talented, educated and experienced individuals who enter the sales profession only to find that their superiors severely hamper their performance due to inability and inadequacy. This is haunting me in my current profession. Management "intervention" and "equally dispersing leads" to less talented or ambitious sales people makes it nearly impossible to overcome company biases and favoritisms towards certain sales people. I am finding that every organization in the industry I work in seems to have a similar situation. So much for believing that if you actually get an aducation, work double the hours that you will actually be rewarded. Not so ! The companies ALL bias towards individuals that are relatives or that owe the company money, etc. That stinks !

dedy budiman said...

I'm agree.
That there is no correlation between education and sales achievement

emilly said...

nice article the issue that has been disscussed should be considered
..the way an experieced person can deliver the lecture is quite better
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Salespreneur said...

I recently completed a study with a group of successful salespeople. This study included asking them the same bank of 69 questions and looking for common denominators. The results surprised me....there was no correlation between education and experience. There was strogn correlation between how they handled negative experiences and self-accountability.

RES said...

Thanks for writing this. I really feel as though I know so much more about this than I did before. Your blog really brought some things to light that I never would have thought about before reading it. You should continue this, Im sure most people would agree youve got a gift.