When It’s Worthwhile to Hire Talent with No Training for Sales

You expect your top medical sales candidates will qualify for the job when recruiting for open positions in medical sales. But it’s becoming more and more challenging to overcome the competition and attain the talent that meets everything on your checklist. Now more than ever, you’re likely to encounter candidates who have never had training for sales. And you may need to consider hiring them. 

A Pew Research Center report from January 2021 shared that 66% of unemployed individuals looking for a job had seriously considered changing their occupation or field of work. Moreover, Monster’s Future of Work 2021 Global Outlook Special Report highlights that 80% of employers have difficulty filling openings because of the skills gap increase in the past year. 

It is reasonable to have concerns about a hire who needs to start training for sales from square one. But even with their inexperience, they can still be a great addition to your sales representative team.

So long as your situation meets these four conditions, it is worthwhile to hire under-qualified talent: 

The candidate demonstrates a willingness to learn 

Without the willingness to take training for sales seriously, an inexperienced new hire cannot meet the team’s needs. For example, if they’re overly-confident and skim through the information without processing and asking questions, they’re not retaining what they need to know. You need to identify candidates who are both humble and hungry for knowledge. 

Luckily, LinkedIn Learning’s 5th Annual Workplace Learning Report demonstrates that most young people understand this value. According to its findings, 76% of Gen Z and 61% of Millennials believe learning is the key to success in their career. As a result, those individuals will be more attentive, curious, and ambitious when it comes to training for sales.

Therefore, it is crucial you detect candidates’ interest level and motivation early in the interview process. One option is to ask what they’re learning about right now or if they have any examples of what they do when they want to learn something new. 

You can also ask directly what their approach would be coming into the position without the proper qualifications. Someone who is genuinely humble and hungry for knowledge will be aware that their skills don’t measure up, so they won’t be offended by the question. Hopefully, they’ll even demonstrate an ideal attitude toward trying new things. 

You have faith in your onboarding process

The LinkedIn Learning report also revealed that learning and development pros worldwide identified upskilling/reskilling, leadership/management, and virtual onboarding as their priorities for 2021. 

Regardless of in-person or virtual, you should never underestimate the positive influence of a great onboarding experience or the negative long-term impact of a poor one. For those who have never had training for sales, onboarding isn’t only their introduction to the company. It’s also their first total exposure to the world of medical sales. If the onboarding process pushes them in the deep end of information overload, it will be challenging for them to adjust to the role. 

However, there is a solution. A recent Salesforce study found that 74% of employees would be more productive with increased investment in learning and development, 72% would become more engaged with their work, and 69% would be happier with their work. 

Thus, the HR team and the sales team must support new hires throughout the process. You must also prove that there will be a constant investment in their growth at your company. With this approach, they feel more comfortable and excited stepping into the role. 

There is a current rep available to mentor the new hire 

There is no way to design the perfect onboarding process. After all, it’s impossible to anticipate every question a new hire may have in their first experience training for sales. And getting a feel for the responsibilities hands-on is much different than learning about the role from a video or presentation. The Salesforce study found that as many as 80% of respondents learned better from on-the-job learning than formal training. 

That’s why you must have a trustworthy rep ready to mentor the new rep with no sales experience. Of course, mentors are great even when new hires have been in the industry for a while. But they’re a necessary condition to taking on newcomers. 

With a designated mentor, the new hire will always have someone to turn to, even with questions they feel too embarrassed to ask a manager. A mentor also has insider tips about the best blogs to follow, books to read, and mindsets to adopt before executing a sales pitch. Personalized advice is critical to an inexperienced hire’s success. 

Recommended reading: Professional development is key to attracting and retaining more women in medical sales

This is not an emergency hire 

If you know that the medical sales team is short-staffed, anyone stepping into that open position faces a hefty workload from day one. The team can’t afford the time it takes to train or mentor someone new. 

For the well-being of the sales representatives and the new hire, you must prioritize experience in that situation. Even if another candidate is more personable and presents stronger soft skills, you must be practical. When the team is desperate for someone new to come in and lighten their workload, the right choice is the candidate who has a strong sales background.