Should You Hire Sales Staff From Inside Or Outside Your Business?

No matter whether your turnover or staff is low or high, the day will com when your business is going to need to hire new sales staff. 

Hiring a new staff member is an opportunity to add fresh skills and a great personality to your sales team. The question for many businesses is whether or not it’s better to hire from inside or outside the business? Both options have their pros and cons. Let’s take a look at how to decide and how to give your new salesperson the best chance of fitting in. 

Hiring From Inside: The Pros and Cons

Hiring from the inside offers one immediate advantage: Your new hire is more likely to have a good working knowledge of your business, the market, and the product or service at hand. An inside hire will also be familiar with your company culture, and most likely has working relationships and contacts within the company.

When you hire from the inside, you know what your new hire is like to work with, and what kind of chemistry they have with colleagues. Familiarity with the business and their colleauges can help your new person settle in and get results more quickly.

Hiring from inside also shows your other employees that promotion is an option within your business, and makes them feel more confident about their own career paths.

On the other hand, hiring from the inside does have its issues. Your new sales person might have difficulty transitioning from one role to another. They might face challenges in working with a different set of colleagues from before, or find it hard to relate to their old colleagues in a different way.

An inside hire also carries their own baggage and history with them. If they’ve had previous issues with their work or colleagues, those issues could spill over into their new role.

Hiring From Outside: The Pros and Cons

Hiring from outside has its benefits, too. An outside hire brings a fresh perspective to your team, which could be just what you need. They’ll also bring fresh ideas and perspectives to your team.

An outside hire might well have existing contacts and clients that your business can benefit from.

Outside hires also come with knowledge of the competition, which you can use to make your own business more competitive.

On the other hand, someone from the outside will take longer to settle in to their new role. That means you will have to invest more time and money in training and will face a longer settling in period before they start meeting performance goals.

An outside hire might also have strict ideas on how things should be done, and prove inflexible about those.

How To Decide Which Is Best For Your Business

The answer to whether to hire from inside or outside will depend largely on your existing resources, and your business’ needs. To help make the decision, ask yourself:

  • Do you have employees within your business who you already know to be excellent team players and effective workers? Some people stand out and you know they would be a good fit for your sales team.
  • Have you spotted an employee with great potential? Sometimes you just know that with the right training and opportunities, an employee could be a high achiever. If several staff members have suggested the same person, perhaps you should consider them for promotion.
  • Are you happy with your company culture? If you’re happy with your company culture, an inside hire who already fits that culture could be just the right choice. On the other hand, if your company culture has become stagnant, an injection of new life could be just what it needs.
  • Do you need specific skills or a track record that can best be found outside? Sometimes you need specific skills or an experienced salesperson with a strong track record, and you know you’re more likely to find those in an outside hire.

Taking all these factors into account will help you see clearly which option is best for your business.

How To Help Your New Sales Person Integrate Quickly

Whether you decide to hire from inside or outside, taking steps to help your new sales person settle in will make all the difference.

If you’re hiring from the inside:

  • Make sure your new hire has access to the best training for their new role.
  • Don’t assume anything – this is a brand new role, so assume everything is new to them.
  • Support them in the transition to working with different colleagues and changing relationships with past colleagues. Promote a healthy positive culture that doesn’t make them feel they’ve “switched sides” in some way.
  • Check in with them regularly and help them set goals for the first few weeks.

If you’re hiring from the outside:

  • Make sure your training and induction program is up to date and effective.
  • Appoint someone to keep an eye out for them and show them where to go and what to do.
  • Have everything they need waiting for them when they arrive, including HR and payroll information and logins for your computer system and email. Make sure they know where to go if they need help.
  • Be patient – transitioning to a new company takes time.
  • Check in regularly to see if there’s anything they need help with and ask how they’re setting in.
  • Take time to listen to their ideas and input.

Internal and external hiring both have advantages for your business. Be clear about what your business needs, and take time to help your new salesperson settle in, and you’ll have an effective addition to your team in no time.

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