Should You Be Looking for Sales Pros from Other Industries?  5 Reasons it May Be in Your Best Interest

businesss and office concept - two businessmen shaking hands inBy: Andy Wright

When searching for top sales talent, it can make a critical difference to think outside the box. That’s why hiring managers should not only mine their own business and industry for talent that’s worth promoting, but to also make sure that they (or their sales recruiting company partner) seek out sales pros from different industries who can meaningfully add to the value and performance of the company.

Let’s take a look at a few key reasons why outside sales hires from alternate industries sometimes makes the most sense when searching for the best sales talent.

  • Pure Talent vs. Technical Knowhow

Hiring a salesperson within your industry may seem like a good bet: existing knowledge, less training required (maybe), and what seems like a sensible choice. But a track record of sales success is a much better indicator of achievement than rote technical proficiency. Look for salespeople who lead their industry and chances are they’ll be able to translate that success at your company, too.

  • A Diversified Book of Business

Hiring a sales rep who sells a different product or service than your company—but to the same or similar customers—is an excellent way of hiring outside your industry. Not only do you land a sales pro who has a solid sales track record, but one who also has a strong book of business/database of contacts that can boost your business.

  • Positive Perception

A company that hires outside their industry shows a creativity and foresight that some of the most exciting companies swear by, including tech giants like Google and Facebook. Attracting top sales talent from other industries is all about signaling a forward-thinking, modern perspective that fosters talent wherever it’s derived.

  • A Fresh Set of Eyes

Sometimes it takes an outsider to recognize inefficiency or spearhead positive change. When hiring managers seek sales talent in outside industries, they are bringing in far more than a top-performer—they’re also getting a fresh set of eyes that can offer an innovative perspective.

  • Far Fewer Limits

Though the frequent hope is that new hires from the same field might bring clients and customers with them, the legal minefield of non-compete agreements and customer block out times could hinder these types of hires. By looking outside your industry for capable sales talent, you are saving valuable time and effort in cultivating candidates who won’t bring legal woes with them.

Although there are clear benefits to hiring sales professionals from other industries, it’s imperative that only companies with a strong onboarding/training program opt to go this route.  Before hiring sales reps from outside industries, take the time to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of your in-house training program in order to understand if an outside hire is right for your company. When in doubt, rely on your trusted sales recruiting company partner to help you determine your best pool of candidates.

Andy Wright is the owner and an active recruiter at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting. 

Andy began his recruiting career in 2003, and has a proven track record of helping companies both large and small increase sales team retention and productivity through recruiting top talent.  Prior to launching Grapevine in December of 2011, Andy held key leadership positions for two Twin Cities-based search firms, training and managing teams of recruiters while developing new business and managing national account relationships. Visit, call 952.856.2371 or

5 Things All Hiring Managers Should Look for on All Sales Rep Resumes

Close-up Photo Of A Businesswoman Holding Resume

By: Adam Vortherms

In this ever competitive sales climate, it is increasingly difficult to find sales professionals who are the right fit for the position, adept, knowledgeable, and

have a proven track record of success in sales. That is, finding someone who will actually take your business to the next level, can prove quite challenging.

Unfortunately, even a large pool of recruits doesn’t necessarily mean that the pool is full of qualified prospects, who have the experience, skills, and successful sales record your company needs. Consequently, hiring managers often find themselvesoverwhelmed with decisions to be made, and certainly don’t have time to spend going through every single resume. After all, when it comes to sales, efficiency can make or break your bottom line. So what tactics can a hiring manager employ to weed through resumes in search of the proverbial needle in the haystack? Obviously, employing the help of a highly reputable sales recruiting company will thin the herd. But hiring managers can also check for five specific items on a resume to quickly determine if a potential sales professional candidate deserves a second glance.

1. Intro That Excites: When considering a resume ask yourself, “Does this prospective candidate stand out from other applicants? How well have they showcased their talents and strengths?” If a sales professional cannot grab your attention in the first few lines of their resume, then they probably are not going to be able to grab the attention of a client or customer either. Favorable first impressions are invaluable in the sales industry, thus your ideal candidate’s resume should reflect they are unique, confident, and experienced. In other words, they make a good first impression before you even meet with them.

2. Statistics That Speak Volumes: Most resumes you will come across include all the basic skills required. For a sales professional to stand out they ought to exceed basic skills qualifications and show initiative. This means that they should include who they sold for, who they sold to, what they sold, their sales goals, sales goals exceeded, and any sales records. That is, their resume should explicitly state their own sales successes via statistics.

3. Industry Insight: Take note of the language used by a prospective sales representative in their resume. An experienced applicant will use words specific to your industry that will signal to an employer they know what they are talking about. A qualified candidate with industry know-how will write with a sophistication and proficiency that speaks to their expertise in their field. Look for keywords and particular language that indicates a prospective candidate not only understands but has experience within the industry.

4. Specifics That Show They Are Serious: An experienced and successful sales rep will cater their resume specifically to the position you need filled. Any seasoned sales professional who is serious about joining your team will have done their research about the position in your company. When considering applicants, look to see that a candidate’s resume is custom tailored to your business and the sales position they are seeking.

5. Conveys The Kind of Company They Keep: Hiring managers care about their business’ reputation. When vetting potential qualified sales representatives, experience and reputation are everything. Sales stars with excellent track records also tend to have reputations that precede them, because they have worked for some pretty impressive companies. When hiring managers are seeking qualified candidates, they should pay attention to those who have experience, and a history of success with reputable business.

While these tips should increase efficiency for a hiring manager looking to bring on a top new sales rep; ultimately companies and hiring managers who insist on employing only the best and most qualified professionals need a better tool for finding those recruits. Grapevine Targeting Sales Recruiting specializes in finding the most experienced and successful sales professionals and is committed to delivering high performance, top quality sales reps and sales managers. If you’re looking to recruit outstanding sales performers to join your team in 2016, give us a call. Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting has helped countless companies take their business to the next level by providing a painstakingly selective recruitment process to ensure that an outstanding sales professional is available to you for hiring.

Adam Vortherms is a recruiting manager at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting. Visit , call 952.856.2371 or email

5 Ways to Attract and Manage Millennial Sales Representatives

By: Adam Vortherms

In the globalized, increasingly complex world of today, talented professionals are more important and less prevalent than they once were. According to a report at, the issue of talent availability in the workforce has even become an executive concern. Many companies with a goal of sales recruiting have attempted to rectify this imbalance by courting millennial workers—those ages 18-33, who are educated, feedback-oriented, and socially engaged.

It is no coincidence that some of the leading tech companies are fronted and staffed by millennial workers, definitively upending the notion that millennials are unwilling to professionally engage. It only stands to reason that since millennials will eventually lead the future professional world, the time is now to engage, hire, and successfully understand how to manage millennials as future top sales representatives and sales managers.

Below you’ll find some tips and tricks to attract millennials sales representatives for your business, as well as a few additional techniques to manage a millennial team member:

  1. Foster Ambition: Provide the Potential for Growth

Fair compensation and the opportunity to grow within a company are mainstays on a millennial’s must-have list when looking for work as sales representatives. In a recent report, 44% of millennials polled said that competitive wages were a motivating factor in choosing employment, while 52% of millennials polled reported that growth opportunities were paramount.

  1. Be Straightforward and Transparent

Because millennials grew up amidst the technological revolution, most have a certain expectation of transparency—a reason why many millennials put their dollar towards ethically minded businesses. Fostering an open atmosphere, being communicative about big decisions, and building a business culture of trust are excellent ways to attract millennial sales reps, and keep them around for the long haul.

  1. Ditch Traditional Hierarchies

Just as millennials prefer companies lean towards transparency, they also prefer to work for businesses that value individuals’ voices and insights. Promoting due to longevity rather than performance is a surefire way to lose a millennial worker’s trust and jeopardize his or her morale. The old standby of waiting 3 to 5 years to be promoted won’t fly with the millennial generation, who would rather put their ambition to work and reap the proportional result. 

  1. Feedback in All Its Forms

Millennials have a reputation for asking a lot of questions, but a staple of the younger generation is their thirst for feedback and clarity. An excellent way to provide feedback and nurture professional growth from within is to consider mentorship as a business tool. Mentoring and reverse mentoring—where the young mentee also provides valuable insights to the older mentor—can improve the weak areas of both parties, providing value and developing talent within your business.

  1. Get Connected

Millennial workers highly value a personal connection with the brands they want to associate themselves with. The same is true for the place they choose to work. Millennials are more than happy to share positive news and stories about their workplace through social media, an indispensable way to gain traction online, as well as with likeminded and talented young professionals. Defining and championing a company-wide message or mission is a great way to personally engage with potential millennial sales reps.

There is a wealth of potential within the millennial generation. Raised in an era of groundbreaking ideas and digital expansion, millennial sales representatives can provide an untapped well of talent that can drive your sales numbers up and boost your business for the long term.

Adam Vortherms is a recruiting manager at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting. Visit , call 952.856.2371 or email




11 Things Leaders Need to Talk About When They Meet With Their Staff


A few years back I wrote an article called Stop Having Status Meetings! 5 Better Things to do Instead.

Status updates squander time that could be spent using your team as a team. At the bottom of that article I mentioned 11 things to do instead of reporting status.

Now, I want to use this article to elaborate on these 11 things.

Discussion to drive the business forward

Getting your team together offers a precious opportunity to focus the team energy on great discussions that will drive the business forward.

Learn what people really think. Have debates. As a leader you need these conversations to make you smarter and to inform which direction you should be taking the team and the business.

Here are 11 ideas of great things you can do with staff meeting time.

This list is by no means exhaustive. There are just some ideas to get you thinking about higher value conversations you can have with your team.

1. What are the key outcomes we are on the hook for?

How will we know if we are achieving them?

It’s really worth putting this question of key outcomes out there, and aligning on both the list and what the measures are. You will be surprised how many different opinions will exist if you haven’t had this discussion already.

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The Secret Formula to Making Workplace Incentives Work

businessman drawing chartBy

Whether or not incentive programs are effective has been a long standing question, spanning multiple academic disciplines.

Some point to studies demonstrating the motivational potential of performance incentives, while others point to a “crowding-out” of intrinsic motivation when incentives are present.

Given the data that has amassed on either side of the debate, where do we stand today?

When do incentives become more effective?

Some recent research may help shed light on this question. Using a field experiment to assess the conditions when incentives become more or less effective, several interesting findings emerged.

First, the authors found that the use of monetary incentives alone actually contributed to decreased performance, where the task was simple data entry of sports data in exchange for base plus piece-rate pay. Initially, one might assume that incentives crowd out the intrinsic interest and value that workers may place in a task.

A second set of findings, though, provides some more color to that conclusion. The researchers found that incentives, when combined with motivational language, actually resulted in improved performance, in terms of both quality and quantity of work.

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6 Red Flags that Hiring Managers Can’t Afford to Ignore While Interviewing Sales Reps and Sales Managers

red flagThe interview process provides a one-of-a-kind window into a potential sales rep’s capabilities and personality. To a hiring manager, the interview process can also serve as an opportunity to detect any inconsistencies or mismatches in a potential sales candidate. After all, even when working with a top sales recruiting company, at the end of the day, the decision to hire a sales manager or top sales professional will be up to the hiring manager.

When it comes time to sit down for an interview with a potential employee, hiring managers can’t afford to ignore any of the following six red flags.

  1. A Lack of Timeliness

Life is unpredictable, and sometimes matters of promptness are out of an individual’s control. But, when it comes to tardiness before an interview, it can make all the difference in the world if the candidate who is running late calls ahead to warn of his or her time delay. A candidate that truly thinks ahead would factor in a cushion of time for getting lost, unexpected traffic, and the like, but at the very least a call ahead shows consideration, and respect for your time. Furthermore, if they are late to meet with you, who is to say they won’t be late to meet with potential customers?

  1. Arriving Unprepared

A talented sales candidate should know as much as possible about your company, both from working with a reputable sales recruiting company, and through additional research they have conducted about your company. Since a frequent interview question posed to candidates is, “How much do you know about our company?” A candidate may not know everything there is to know—that’s partly what interviews are for, after all—but showing initiative, and a genuine interest in what you and your company stand for, by conducting their own thorough research is a sign of a candidate’s ability to be proactive. When it comes to sales positions, candidates who are not proactive are not likely to be successful.

  1. The Candidate Has No Questions About the Sales Position

A good hiring manager tries to offer a comprehensive take on what his or her company does, but that doesn’t mean a sales representative or sales manager candidate shouldn’t have their own questions to ask. Top sales reps and managers will almost assuredly have questions they expect you, as the hiring manager to answer. When a candidate poses thoughtful questions during the interview process, it not only indicates their serious interest in the position, and the work your company does, it is also indicative that they have an inquisitive and industrious mind.

  1. Poor Self Presentation and Communication

For many job candidates, interviews can seem like a daunting process, so it’s normal to be nervous. However, this shouldn’t be the case for a potential sales rep or sales manager. After all, if they can’t sell themselves, how can they sell your products or services? A talented sales professional will be dressed sharply, prepared, and enthused about the work your company does. Thus they should have confidence shining through. Sales reps and sales managers should also be able to communicate clearly, calmly, and with confidence in their capabilities, and their ability to succeed in the sales position they are pursuing.

  1. The Candidate Provides No Concrete Details

Take heed to look for concrete examples that clearly and concisely serve as proof of a sales candidate’s experience and successes. If a sales rep led a campaign at his/her previous employment, what were the specific figures? How many people did the sales manager oversee? How much revenue was generated? How many accounts has he/she brought in? A track record of success should be rooted in specific details, not nebulous figures.

  1. The Candidate Failed to Close

Everyone knows that first impressions are important, but the final impression that a sales candidate leaves can be just as telling. This is especially true when it comes to sales reps, as being a successful closer is vital to generating sales for your company. Does the candidate ask for the business cards of all those present for the interview? Does he/she address any concerns or remaining questions that a hiring manager might have? Does the candidate finish with a strong handshake and assurance to follow-up? If a potential sales rep or sales manager can’t close you, they’re not going to close sales for your company either.

Even if a candidate has come highly recommended and vetted by an experienced, reputable sales recruiting company, the hiring manager will ultimately be responsible for deciding on whether or not a potential sales rep or sales manager will help to meet the goals of the company. Keeping an eye out for the above red flags can make a hiring manager’s job far easier, as the strongest sales candidate for the position will stand apart from the pack.

Andy Wright is the owner and an active recruiter at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting. Andy began his recruiting career in 2003, and has a proven track record of helping companies both large and small increase sales team retention and productivity through recruiting top talent.  Prior to launching Grapevine in December of 2011, Andy held key leadership positions for two Twin Cities-based search firms, training and managing teams of recruiters while developing new business and managing national account relationships. Visit, call 952.856.2371 or

Hiring Without a Strategy Will Kill Your Company


Your business is doing well — your customer base is booming, your product’s popularity is soaring, and the world is your oyster … except your company can’t keep up.

If you are in high-growth mode, you’re going to need more people. At the same time, the competition for talent has never been fiercer. That means incredible pressure for companies today to hire as many people as they can, as quickly as they can to lock prospects down before anyone else snaps them up.

Don’t make that mistake. We all know, theoretically, that making a bad hire sets companies back. Simply put, a bad hire (someone who lacks the skills or drive to get the job done, or is not a fit with your culture) won’t move you forward and in fact may move you backwards. But most companies have no idea the impact of a single bad hire has on their business. Believe it or not, data shows that the average cost of a bad hire is up to five times that person’s annual salary!

That’s a pretty sobering statistic, but in the midst of a company growth spurt when the pressure’s on, it’s easy to default to making the first hire instead of the right one. You may think, “So what if we make a few bad hires? — we’ll take care of it later.” The problem with that approach is that bad hires almost never end up having zero impact — they have negative impact instead.

The Real Cost of Bad Hires

Most mangers think that if they hire quickly and fill a role, then they’ve plugged a hole. People think, “Someone’s better than no one, and even if they turn out to be a bad hire we’ll just replace them.”

In reality this plays out as follows:

  • It takes you six months to truly figure out that the person is a bad hire.

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Why Company Culture is Essential for a Successful Business

15 Website ServicesEvery company has it’s own unique culture, made up of the working environment, the special ways that things are done and the people who make up the team. The culture of a company can affect lots of aspects of the business, from talent attraction and the retention of existing staff, to the brand’s reputation among the public and the industry.

The company culture plays a large role in your job satisfaction, as if the work environment doesn’t match your personality and working style you could experience a clash of interests. Therefore, for a business to build a workforce of staff who are motivated to achieve their best and are going to stay with the company long term, it’s important that they hire people based on their culture fit.

This infographic from Washington State University explains just how important company culture is and the impact that it can have on employee happiness and attracting the top talent to the organisation.

A few examples of a really strong company culture

  • Walt Disney Corporation are one of the most widely known brands in the world and they have built a fantastic employer brand by getting their employees involved.  The brand focuses on making dreams come true, so staff are trained to treat all of their guests like royalty.
  • focus on providing exceptional customers service and one of their employees volunteers at Ronald McDonald housing, making balloon animals for kids.

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7 Secrets to Retaining Your Talent in 2016

In the much-touted war for talent, we often forget to look inside our organisations and realise the potential we have — until the moment we get that resignation across our desks. And at that point, it’s far too late. As a talent advisor, what can and should you be doing to make sure that those moments are few and far between?

Here are seven things you can start doing tomorrow that will not only attract the best talent, but will also make sure the best people in your organisation stay happy, motivated and (most importantly) with you.

1. Know your talent.

The first step to talent retention is talent identification. It sounds simple, but it is the area where most organisations fall down. Most talent identification processes merely skim the surface. They’re short term, risk adverse and highly subjective. How can you retain what you cannot see? Identify your future workforce needs and think about your skills shortages: This is about the future as well as the now.

2. Take risks.

When you take someone and place them in a genuine stretch assignment, you not only motivate them — you motivate everyone around them. Take a few risks, appoint people before they’re 100 percent ready, and back yourself to make the right choices. Demonstrate that talent really does progress around here and that success is rewarded quickly.

3. Break pay structures.

Most organisational pay structures reward longevity and external experience. This means if they’re home grown talent, they’re probably being paid under the market rate. If they want to get a big raise, they’ll need to leave. You’re going to have to break some of those internal mechanisms if you really want to retain your top talent. Time to crack open the piggy bank.

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Winning Sales Hiring Game Plan: Reasons to Conduct a “Ride Along” or “Shadow Day” With Potential Sales Rep Candidates

ShadowOnce you (or your trusted sales professional recruiting firm) has waded through resumes, and completed preliminary interviews to identify only the best pool of candidates for your sales position, the proverbial finish line is well within sight. Congratulations!

However, before you completely cross that finish line, it’s worth considering going the “extra mile” to ensure that the candidate you’re prepared to hire is indeed going to be a strong addition to your team. Fortunately, this last leg of the journey isn’t anything close to having to run an extra mile. In fact, it’s more akin to an extra 50-yard dash. But since you’re filling an instrumental role, it’s worth the few extra steps.

In this case, we’re talking about hosting your potential sales representative on a “ride-along” or “shadow day.” In other words, you’ll be giving your potential candidate a hands-on trial run at the position for which he or she is being vetted. Conducting a ride-along or shadow day will give you metaphorical courtside seats, as to how the potential sale rep or sales manager handles day-to-day tasks and interactions, the types of ideas he or she contributes, and how the candidate might fit into the overall environment and workflow of your business.

Of course, a shadow/ride-along day is best conducted after a final interview is complete and you are convinced that the remaining candidate(s) will be the right fit for your sales position. This is particularly true, if you’re recruiting a passive candidate, as they may need to take a few hours off, from their current position.

All the same, in addition to allowing existing team members, sales managers and the potential candidate to have the chance to experience a future day-in-the life of their new sales position, shadow days and ride-along days are useful for several other practical reasons including:

  • Providing an opportunity for an in-the-field sales trial

Providing a ride-along experience for your potential sale rep provides them with the opportunity to spend time in the field with a top producing and/or senior sales rep—allowing the candidate to get a true sense of the day-to-day responsibilities that are required in the position, as well as the types of customers your business serves.

  • Learning how the day-to-day office duties are performed

Inviting a potential sales rep or manager to spend a few hours shadowing the office allows him or her to:

  • See how inside sales are performed
  • Become familiar with other positions within your company and how hierarchy and collaboration is structured
  • Understand daily workflow and processes
  • Become generally familiar, or reacquainted with regularly utilized software
  • Get a feel for incoming and outgoing calls
  • Interact with various potential-coworkers, seeing how he or she fits in among them


  • Assessing a candidate’s contributions and potential

While the candidate gets the opportunity to understand the office’s inner workings; the employer also has the chance to assess the candidate’s interactions, contributions, and overall fit with other employees and within the company. Does the candidate ask thoughtful questions? Does the candidate contribute to a positive and productive professional atmosphere? Does the candidate share insight and ideas? Does the candidate take instruction well?

A shadow-day or ride-along day can be useful not only for employers but also for potential top sales candidates as well. A few hours of shadowing can confirm the potential you see within a candidate or alert you to qualities and characteristics you might not have assessed in the traditional interview setting. Either way, both the employer and the candidate will win, in their own way.

Andy Wright is the owner and an active recruiter at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting. Andy began his recruiting career in 2003, and has a proven track record of helping companies both large and small increase sales team retention and productivity through recruiting top talent.  Prior to launching Grapevine in December of 2011, Andy held key leadership positions for two Twin Cities-based search firms, training and managing teams of recruiters while developing new business and managing national account relationships. Visit, call 952.856.2371 or