Your sales team: What is the right level of experience?

Your sales team: What is the right level of experience?

Your sales team is the cornerstone of your business development. It provides the necessary capital for expansion and is a large part of your representation in all essential markets.

We’ve already talked about how making the right hire is a decision with significant cost risk. So, how do we build an effective team of salespeople to finance our professional vision? What type of team should be the public-facing part of our company? Do we want proven veterans, confident in their experience and galvanized by past victories, or do we lean towards the inexperienced rookie driven by the need to prove themselves to themselves and decision-makers? 

Our Survey

Recently I conducted a casual LinkedIn poll gauging my personal connections’ preferences regarding sales experience. Fifty of you answered the question, “When it comes to your sales team, would you prefer seasoned salespeople or fresh-out-of-college talent?” with one of three choices—seasoned, freshly out of college or makes no difference. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they wanted a seasoned salesperson. Just 10 percent said that a salesperson with no substantial experience would be preferable. And 22 percent said that experience level made no difference to them. 

The results weren’t exactly surprising, but we really should look at our results and try to determine the why. Is an experienced sales team consistently superior to an inexperienced one? What might cause this difference of opinion?

The stage of your business

Let’s look at this from the small business or start-up point of view. You have limited resources and you need to be as efficient as possible. Your leadership might have an idealized version of the sales team you want to create, but hiring a group of inexperienced salespeople to train, educate and ultimately mold into that ideal can reap big rewards, but at this point, you might not have the time or resources to make that happen.

Early on, an experienced sales professional brings with them a career’s worth of connections and knowledge that can provide immediate results crucial to your business’ ability to build the momentum it needs to achieve escape velocity during this sensitive period of growth. Experienced salespeople know the market, have the training and can hit the ground running, allowing you to focus on what comes next.

Building a genuine brand

What comes next, after the start-up phase and moving toward the enterprise level, is firmly establishing what kind of company you want to be and how you want to be perceived. 

Businesses have never been more visible than they are today. In order to solidify your brand, you must establish your core values, consistent messaging and build a sales team that is an outward expression of these ideals. At this stage of development, bringing in less experienced salespeople can be advantageous. 

Veteran salespeople come with practices that have proven successful in the past, but their approaches, while deeply rooted, may conflict with your business’s objectives and brand moving forward. As stated before, having a fresh sales team, with unobstructed perspectives and who are eager to prove themselves, who can be taught to engage the public and market your way is essential to building a company culture that will continue to reflect your professional vision. 

At Swift Placement and Consulting, we’ve worked in manufacturing, at every stage of business. We know the industry, the evolving markets and the people who make all of it possible. We understand that this space is diverse and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to what we do. Work with us and we can find a solution that will be absolutely customized to meet your unique hiring needs.