Industry Feature: Technical Sales Candidates on the Decline?

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I recently read an article that suggested good Technical Sales candidates are becoming increasingly hard to find due to a career path in sales not being measured as a serious profession.

I was surprised to read this- from my experience of recruiting Technical Sales professionals it is not just a serious profession to consider but a popular one too. The pull of being able to discuss technical specifications and provide solutions to customer problems is an attractive one.

Increasingly I am finding that companies are looking for Engineers who are technically trained in their specific field of expertise, who can then go and provide a consultative sell regarding the products and services on offer.

Alternatively, a Technical Sales position is a good route for people who want to enter the engineering industry who have none, or very minimum, qualifications as it builds on their ability to communicate, network, and effectively problem solve.

Linked to this is a trend that I personally think is on the rise. That is one of only accepting candidates from a specific industry- whether that be nuclear, oil and gas, rail amongst others. Perhaps this is due to companies wanting to utilise new employee’s contacts and allow them to hit the ground running. I fully understand this, however when coupled with needing the relevant product or service experience it can be detrimental in cases and seriously tighten finding the right candidate.

Broadening your search to include people who have a broad engineering background, and concentrating on the right culture fit and their individual sales ability, can help to find these good technical sales people that are supposedly becoming hard to find. Transferable skills are key. Consider the phrase “people buy from people” when next recruiting for a sales person, and factor in how transferable their engineering experience is to your specific industry and products.

AUTHOR: MEL MORTIN

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