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On Hiring Non-Salespeople for Sales Roles

Having too few salespeople may be your problem. You can’t make your number without the proper headcount, and you can’t cover all the opportunities in your territory without the human capital necessary. You may want to hire fast, and you may want to hire right now. And there are a lot of people right now who need jobs. Some of these people may even pretend to be salespeople in order to get work.

But hiring non-sales people for a sales role is a mistake. I’m not writing about hiring people without sales experience. If you have the ability to train and develop sales people there’s nothing wrong with hiring people without sales experience.

What I’m writing about here is hiring people who don’t really believe that they’re sales people. They don’t enjoy the work of selling. They don’t love the challenge of winning a new client. They don’t love the challenge of opening a relationship with a prospective client, creating enough value to win their business, and eventually acquiring a new client.

They don’t love the chase. They don’t love the hunt. And they don’t love the hustle.

Some of these people may have worked in roles that they considered sales, but roles in which the clients came to them. Like retail. These people are perfectly comfortable in sales–without the opportunity acquisition component and without the “asking for commitments” component. If that’s the kind of salesperson you need, fine, hire them.

But if you truly need hunters, the sales people who can acquire opportunities for your business, then hiring non-salespeople will only give you the false comfort that you have your headcount and that you can make your goals. But you can’t. And you won’t.

It’s difficult to find hunters. It’s tough to building a salesforce that can acquire opportunities. It takes longer, too. But it’s the fastest path to growing your revenue. Anything that feels easier, is probably wrong. Take your time. Hire well. And then work like crazy to coach, to train, and develop your sales hunters.


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