Want a sales job in a new industry?

David O Flaherty 08.10.2012

Are you a salesperson hoping for a new role in a new industry? Here's some points to bear in mind when looking for your next dream sales job:

‘One fits all’ sales professionals

Many sales professionals think industry experience and education are overlooked in the process of hiring salespeople. They believe that a successful sales person can ‘sell anything’. Unfortunately hiring managers do not feel the same way. 
Nowadays, selling has become more complex and trickier than ever, especially in the booming IT and software industry. The complex products and services being sold require in-depth product and industry knowledge, especially when it comes to selling software solutions. As a result, it's advisable to stick to what you know and what you will be able to sell.

Be realistic

So you're probably thinking, what happens if I don't have the relevant industry experience? Is there any hope?
It depends, generally jumping from one industry to another can be difficult, of course some industry crossovers are common such as IT to ICT or telecoms. However, going from the FMCG or food and drink industries to IT can be hard for hiring managers to accommodate. Be realistic, selling consumer products is a lot different to selling software solutions.

Why not learn a new language?

Unless you have been living in the bat cave for the last couple of years, you will know that numerous blue chips have set up their European operations here and are crying out for multi-lingual sales candidates.
There is a shortage of multilingual telesales and account managers (particularly with German and Nordic languages). The most in demand languages are Dutch, Italian and German.
Regardless of your industry experience or education level, having a second language gives you a competitive advantage. No doubt many of you have a second language, now is the time to put it to use!
For those without, you need to look at learning the languages that are in most demand by hiring managers and relevant to the industry you are in. Is it too late? It is never too late!
If only we could have foreseen this when we were studying for our Leaving Certificate all those years ago…