Thursday, March 18, 2010

Is Hiring Salespeople From Your Competitors Always the Right Thing to Do?




I recently ran across an article by Lee B. Salz titled "Beware of Hiring Your Competitor's Sales People". Lee makes some great points on why focusing purely on hiring salespeople from competitors in your industry is a bad idea. While I'm not totally against hiring salespeople from your competitors, I certainly agree with Lee's main points in his article.

If you are a salesperson making a transition to another company in the same industry, you definitely need to have a great explanation ready for your customers (especially if this involves bringing your old customers over to your new company). "I'm making better money" would not be a great answer. "My company was sold, so I'm not sure what the future will hold for either one of us" would be an example of a great explanation. Whatever the circumstances, make sure your message is very clear to your customers on why you are leaving.

Please check out Lee's article by clicking here.

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

Will
Perfectly true. The very best sales people tend to stay put because they're recognised as such and well treated. If they do leave it's for a better position or to become an entrepreneur and start their own business.
--
Good selling
Mark
www.reallifeselling.com

Brian Jeffrey said...

Like Lee, I'm not a big fan of grabbing a salesperson from the competition but, if you ever decide to do it, don't do it directly. Have the initial approach done via a third party such as a recruiter who can protect your identity.

The advantage of ultimately hiring a good salesperson from your competitor is that you're up one and they're down one, a gap of two in your favor.

Brian Jeffrey
Brian@SalesforceAssessments.com
http://www.SalesforceAssessments.com

internet fax said...

Well, I don't know if it's a good thing to hire sales staff from your competitor or not but it's not a perfect world by any stretch of the imagination and it's hard to find people truly passionate about their jobs in any case (not just sales positions). The more experience you have in the workforce the less likely you are to have passion. One wakes up to the realities of the workplace and all of it's disappointments - eventually.

AlterOsmot said...

I am currently writing an article for Germanys sales magazin "SalesBusiness" on this topic. Bottom line from my interviews with headhunters, sales trainers and sales staff themselves is (as always in life): it depends. Some learnings: If you need people to enter new fields, to gain a windfall profit, hiring from competitors is a good strategy. Otherwise, if you depend on it, that mostly means other management measures like talent management or retaining your own people have failed. Motivation to leave the competitor is mostly not getting along with senior management or wanting to get a quick raise. So if you are able to identify top performers that are frustrated, hiring them is a good strategy. Of course, segregating them from others who want a quick raise is not easy.

Marketing Strategies said...

Perfectly true.. you are right this must be done in hiring any competitor..
Thank you for the post..

jonathan said...

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Jonathan
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Raffy Addam said...

Actually, got pros and contras. If you know the staff, you may try. Maybe he/she is the best you may get. But, make sure he/she agreed to join your company not because they a 'run' away from problem they make! God bless!

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Anthony Burke@Outsourcing your sales said...

It may not be considered ethical to hire from your competition, especially salesman who may have insider knowledge of the product. However, outsourcing your sales team could be an alternative option to consider.

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Steve Waterhouse said...

Thank you for posting this link. It is an interesting article. I agree with many of his points, but I don't think that only the bottom 20% are available from your competitors. At any rate, enjoyed the article and am looking forward to reading more on his site.

Scott Sylvan Bell said...

I believe that people know understand why a salesperson may leave to company or position that they hold. If one has been in business for a while they would see that the transition between companies is normal part of business.

Gordon G - Closingpeople.com said...

Tough question... It really depends on one factor... Will it benefit your company. If you can steal the top reps from your competitors - it will definitely help your bottom line... Especially if they bring their contact list.....
ABC
Gordon G

to get rich fast said...

when I sold insurance I had a situation much the same.
I always went to a new company because of better products that I could offer the customer.

bajasalesman said...

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Steve Ludlow - Executive Sales Recruiter said...

Great article Will.
In all likelihood, the best sales person for your business on the market right now is not currently working with one of your competitors; but how do you know if they can make the transition across to your industry?

Consider this; there are other industries that face similar challenges to your own throughout the sales process. I call this 'Envirnmental Selling Factors'. Here's an article that lists the top 12 ESF's to consider when selecting sales talent > http://ht.ly/587al

Mark Stephenson said...

I think you make some great points here. I have actually hired very few salespeople from my competitors, preferring to start from scratch.

Mark Stephenson
http://www.infobarrel.com/Users/MarkStephenson761

IT sales recruitment said...

Thanks for the link...really good article.

Hiring is always a tricky thing and poaching people from your competitors can be beneficial in as much as they know your sector inside and out.

Always an ethical point though...but like Brian says, it does give you a great edge over the competition.

Buy 4 Less said...

Is that so. Well i think as long as there nothing illegal taking place its fine. Thanks for informing us.

Dario Cucci said...

Great content in regards to going to the competition when working in Sales.

Another thing that I do is that when I speak to loyal clients that I tell them clearly the truth without putting down the company I used to work for.

For example when left my full time job to focus on my own Sales Coaching Business I told the clients exactly that.

Fundoodata said...

Very nice article....Many companies do this.But I think its not ethical.

careers in sales said...

I think you have make some great points here, but is it moral, or does that fly out of the window?

security equipment said...

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Learn Naked Academy said...

nice article thanks for sharing with us.

Jonathan | SalesCounselor.blogspot.com said...

There are always pros and cons to hiring people from your competition. Since our company was just starting, the best method was to recruit from our competition. There were many advantages to this:
1. Our training costs for new hire was down leaving us with enough cash to focus on our other important endeavors.
2. Since we recruited from top companies, and headhunted the best people, these individuals brought with them the intangibles: values, orientation to deadline, discipline and other values taught to them by their previous company.
3. These salespeople are the ones teaching us more about the industry. They have a good grasp of the competition and the milieu of the field, so to speak.

There are also disadvantages:
1. Salespeople from competition tend to hold on to their ways. Some of them are resistant to change.
2. If the technology used is different, some of them takes long to adjust. There are costs involved around here.
3. If they come from a relaxed environment, they tend to be lax as well.

Just a short tip: screen your recruits well. Interview them thoroughly and the advantages will far outweigh the disadvantage.
NB. (I was a headhunter before.) :-)

Peak said...

I think if you work under the practice of poaching sales talent from your competitors there is no reason to expect them to adopt a similar practice. Not to mention the ethics of.

Great article though, enjoyable read.

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john.rich16 said...

Yes it is very risky sometimes because the existing customer gets familiar with the previous one and they need time to adjust with the new people.
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Business for sale

Business for sale said...

This is very risky sometimes as customer face some problem with the new employee so I would recommend that you should take care that your existing employee never leave the place.
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Anonymous said...

I think its OK, to a certain extent, but then again, you will always be questioning their loyalty.
-Jack @ Incentive Meetings

ActualExams said...

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Anonymous said...

One of the main reason i dont like to hire sale people from diffrent organizations is because they can be very hard to change their ways. ie thats not the way we did things at XYZ corp. i would rather get a young rising star that you can train in your organizations ways then a retread of a saleman that has picked up bad habbits.

www.closing-a-sale-from-A-Z.blogspot.com

address management said...

I think there are other ways to get an advantage than by poaching staff. We got in new contact data from the http://www.qas.co.uk/your-needs/address-management-and-postcode-solutions site. I find this to be more ethical than poaching.

juegos olimpicos 2012 said...

very nice post

sales training melbourne said...

I think it is right to hire sales people for your sales competitors. It is also important to hire talented and experienced sales people. An experienced sales person can double your business sales. Thanks!

paolo said...

ok thanks

Nishi said...

Very efficiently written article.It will be supportive to anyone who uses it, including yours truly.
Regards
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Matthieu Bruckert said...

This is the reason why you should never say bad things about your competitors: one day it could happen that you work for them...

Matthieu Bruckert

Matthieu Bruckert said...

This is the reason why you should never say bad things about your competitors: one day it could happen that you work for them...

Matthieu Bruckert

Jules Thomas said...

Firmly on the fence on this one, not entirely convinced I would hire from a competitor, but I would certainly interview them. It depends on the circumstances. A great article

Thanks

Jules

Nay Mah said...

Great post..very informative
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Nice article and good blog..........great

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Jill said...

Good article, thanks for sharing. Here's the link to our blog with some articles you might also find interesting:

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Thanks and good selling!
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Brian Wilson said...

A business can’t exist without customers. Even if you offer the best service on the planet if nobody knows you offer it, you won’t have any customers. First you need to look at all your current contacts. While you may think hey all know exactly what you do, how it helps people, and why you are the best thing since sliced bread, I bet over half really have no idea.

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