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.