I have hired and given chances to candidates who are inside sales reps in the past but never for an outside candidate that doesn't meet the mininum qualifications for a job. I understand that some candidates that have zero outside sales experience want to break into outside sales and will apply for any job posting in their city/town, but most often, the result is usually a denial because during the candidate selection process, the candidates without the minimum experience is weeded out. You stand a much better chance of getting an interview if you have proven yourself with the current company you are in and develop a career progression with your current manager as well the hiring manager you are wanting to work with. This is one of the best benefits of moving within your own company.
Many internal candidates think that just because they are already in the company and that they have product knowledge, that they are well qualified for any sales job within that organization. Unless the position is an entry-level position, you don't stand a good chance of landing the senior level sales job. You must approach your sales job pursuit with realistic expectations and outcomes. Spend time gaining the necessary experience to help you be qualified for the senior level or higher level outside sales roles. Mostly every sales rep has gone through this progression and in most cases, it is better as you would be better matched to succeed in a role.
The best way I can describe it as a hiring sales manager is that, you don't know what you don't know. Many entry level candidates feel that they are qualified and when asked to give examples, their depth of experience is very limited. This is why you want to gain experience so that you may talk about your experience and give examples of what you have done to bring in sales successfully. Without this valuable experience, you are looked at as more of a risk and unproven talent. Even though some might be successfully by being persistent, a majority of entry level talent will not be able pull from past experiences to handle challenges that come their way when faced with complicated customer situations that requires quick responses and usually when you are in front of the customer.
To sum everything up, make sure your sales job search matches your experience and skill level. It is ok to pursue a higher level in your career, but expect a low success rate of actually landing a higher level sales job. The job here is for you to develop yourself, build your experience and be successful as you progress in your sales job to move up to a senior level sales role.
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