Skip to Content

Your Next Salesperson May Come From Another Department

Your Next Salesperson May Come From Another Department

Every new salesperson you hire represents an opportunity to convert more prospects to customers, increase your revenue and ultimately grow your company. No wonder many firms look far and wide — on job boards, across LinkedIn and among their contacts — for the best possible candidates. Being

Every new salesperson you hire represents an opportunity to convert more prospects to customers, increase your revenue and ultimately grow your company.

No wonder many firms look far and wide — on job boards, across LinkedIn and among their contacts — for the best possible candidates.

Being thorough about where you recruit salespeople is always a good idea, but what if the right person wasn’t working at a competitor or some other organization?

What if your next salesperson was already working elsewhere in the company?

In many businesses it’s already an established policy to post all open positions internally first. For those who have already demonstrated good performance and loyalty to the company, it’s only fair to let them take a shot at getting a promotion or advancing their careers.

Even if your company doesn’t have that policy, smart managers often take a good look around before they dust off a job description or begin screening resumes they might have kept on file. Normally, though, the internal candidates we expect are the ones who already have a background in the business function where you’re looking to fill a position. You expect a marketing specialist to apply for the marketing manager position, for instance, or for an IT director to put their name in to become a CIO.

When you’re hiring a new salesperson, though, people who have never sold anything in their entire lives might realize they could transfer some of their existing knowledge and education and still meet all the objectives you’re looking for.

Depending on the salary and commission structure, working in sales might offer a way to make more money. It might also seem like a good move to further their professional growth.

These kinds of candidates can crop up in all kinds of areas. Let’s look at a few of them and why you should think about adding them to your list of people to interview:

The marketing candidate

Sales and marketing used to operate as independent fiefdoms, wth little sharing of information and sometimes outright hostility to each other. Today it’s very different, where most companies have been working hard to give both functions similar goals, metrics and technologies to work more collaboratively.

Someone in marketing who has worked more closely with your sales team could have a natural interest in moving beyond demand generation or driving awareness. They might be drawn to the excitement of closing a deal.

You know what? They might do a great job, too.

After all, those in marketing roles may have been involved in helping create the value proposition for your products and services. They probably studied the customer personas that represent prospects you’ll want your next salesperson to approach.

If you interview a marketer, ask them about how they’d strengthen the relationship with sales even further, and what kind of marketing data might be getting overlooked or under-utilized in the current process of collecting and scoring sales leads.

The IT candidate

You see someone who works for the IT department and assume they’re into “speeds and feeds,” or the underpinnings of sophisticated software applications and hardware. That may be part of what drew them to their current role, but it’s likely not the entire story. Not by a long shot.

Many IT people are born problem-solvers. They like to find ways to use technology to do things faster, more efficiently, or in a way that gathers data to provide insights about a process.

The sales department may already have worked with the IT department to set up an e-commerce platform, offer purchases through a mobile app or simply enrich the way products and services are presented across multiple channels. That kind of work might inspire them to actually make the most of those tools to boost the health of the business.

Think about how much an IT person might already understand the ins and outs of sales technologies like a CRM. In asking for the green light to purchase new technology, they might have had to make a business case similar to the pitch you’d make to a customer.

Before you write off an IT person as a potential salesperson, consider how much digital tools and data are changing the way the job is done, and what a tech-savvy employee could bring to the team.

The customer service rep

If you avoided the contact centre because you didn’t want to hear about angry or disappointed customers, you might barely know the people who are helping minimize the damage and save customers from walking away for good. Until one of them applies to work with you, that is.

Consider, though, that those in the customer service department often have to know the ins and outs of the company’s products and services better than even some of the most experienced sales reps.

Instead of simply describing and selling those products and services, they know what to do when something goes wrong — which means they might be able to get more customers off to a better start when they close a deal.

When a service rep applies for a sales job, ask about the extent to which they already cross-sell or upsell customers as part of their day to day role. If that’s not a practice within your business yet (and it probably should be), ask how they’d add it to their current responsibilities.

These are often people with deep empathy, strong communications skills and who already use their own sophisticated applications to manage many different aspects of customer relationships at once.

You might not have expected your next salesperson to come from another department, but seeing how they bring their own unique value to the customer experience might change the way you look for candidates when the time comes again.

A lot of companies will say that, in some ways, selling is everyone’s job. With the right tools, training and aptitude, it could become almost anyone’s job.

Get timely updates and fresh ideas delivered to your inbox.