Can a Top Sales Professional that only has experience selling online advertising transition to selling medical devices? With the economy in a current recession, many individuals find themselves re-evaluating their career path, but aren't sure of their options especially if all there experience is selling in one specific industry.
When you're evaluating your sales career and considering transitioning industries it's especially important to organize your thoughts to organize your search. First analyze the quantifiable data of your position. What's your average size deal? What's your average sales cycle? Who's your target market and who are the key decision makers? The answers to those three questions will help you to focus your job search and will also help you to ultimately sell yourself to a potential hiring manager in a different industry (look for our blog on interview skills 101).
The biggest concern I have when people speak to us about transitioning industries is that they sometimes think that a new industry is entirely different and what they need. Unfortunately sales is sales, whether you're selling a medical device or advertising. You learn the product and then you sell and close deals. The major differences in a job description between industries or within the same industry are the 3 questions I mentioned above. The answers to those questions can define the role much better then the product you're selling and help you to realize if you really want to transition industries.
For example, if you're selling advertising and you want to get into medical device then recognize the change in your job description… Typically advertising sales reps have an average size deal of about $200 with an average sales cycle of about 1 week and their key decision makers are small to medium size business owners. In turn, a typical medical device sales job has an average deal in the thousands with a sales cycle that takes months and targeting doctors and Medical Officers.
Transitioning industries is incredibly difficult and I recommend taking more of a sniper approach to align yourself with an industry that's somewhat comparable to your current industry. Evaluate your current position but don't get caught up in the hype of an industry – you have to educate yourself on a product before you can effectively sell it. In this case, the product is you.