Is Industry Experience Necessary to Fix Sales Problems?


“How can you fix sales performance problems without having spent your career in my industry?“ is one of the most common questions I am asked as an Outsourced or Fractional Sales Leader.


This is an understandable question because many business leaders don’t realize the issues hindering revenue goals are more about the leadership and structure of their sales organization than a lack of industry knowledge.


We can muddy the waters further by comparing performance of veteran sellers that have decades of industry experience with less tenured, yet capable salespeople. Of course the veterans know the ins and outs that only experience can provide, along with having a keen understanding of the product. But this comparison can lead to an over-valuation of industry experience and not enough attention being paid to process, motivation, technique, discipline, and accountability.


If it takes decades to mature your sales reps, then how does an organization effectively scale? My experience has shown me that when you are missing revenue goals, knowing more about the industry isn’t the answer. If industry knowledge would fix your lagging sales, then the group of industry-knowledgeable people you’ve assembled would have solved your selling issues already.


I am successful in helping businesses transform their sales results because I’m effective at diagnosing and solving ‘industry-neutral’ sales problems. This isn’t done in a vacuum. I blend my executive sales and sales leadership skills with your industry experience to create the right solutions for each unique environment.





Industry Neutral Sales Problems


Do any of these frustrating industry-neutral problems sound familiar?


  • No defined, repeatable, proactive sales effort

  • Stalled proposals

  • High sales rep turnover

  • Inability to take sales “to the next level”

  • Cannot seem to find the “right” salesperson

  • Difficulty competing on value and resorting to price


The question to ask:…

What executive skill set is needed to build a proven sales roadmap and sales management process that will solve selling problems?”


After you’ve rewired enough sales teams, you quickly pick-up on fundamental things that companies have overlooked or have not built properly. I’m effective at pinpointing gap areas by utilizing a consistent discovery process and following a best practices approach to sales structure development. This methodology is flexible to accommodate all B2B (business to business) industry settings.


Blending Your Industry Experts with Executive Sales Skills


Think about it for a moment. Your company is full of industry experts, especially if it’s a mature organization with decades of history. Collectively, the team you have already knows more about your product, your market, your specific business challenges than any external resource.


I bring years of experience fixing sales teams across multiple industries. Selling and setting up sales teams with the right structure and tools is my industry expertise. My fresh perspective and innovative ideas mixed with your industry savvy is the winning combination to unlock new paths to growth.



My executive skill set includes extensive experience in:

  • Total revenue responsibility and accountability

  • Cross-functional leadership strategies

  • Sales Leadership

  • Sales Enablement

  • Sales Operations

  • All levels of Direct Selling

  • …and exceptional interpersonal skills


My colleagues and I enter literally hundreds of small to mid-sized business every year as a result of owners and senior executives recognizing roadblocks preventing them from reaching their sales goals. The thing that 100% of them have in common: the problems they need help solving are not industry-specific.


To learn more about how my role fills this common skill set void, my previous article, “Can Fractional Sales Leadership Help Me Get Ahead?”, provides a good overview. Fundamental Sales Categories


There are four fundamental areas that I consistently examine in my client discovery phase to uncover root cause problems impacting sales performance. They are sales strategy, sales methodology, sales organization, and sales analysis. Within these segments, there are a series of elements that need to be working in unison for your sales function to perform consistently and on-target.


As shown here from over 3,000 Sales Agility Assessments completed by business owners and senior executives, these foundational sales areas are commonly fraught with problems. The root causes of these problems are the culprit of the sales frustrations I stated earlier.


Save Time and Money by Skipping Experimentation


Key Takeaways:

  • If industry experience (alone) solved revenue growth problems, your on-staff subject matter experts would already have done it.

  • Exceeding revenue goals is more about the leadership and structure of the sales organization than a lack of industry knowledge.

  • Most small to mid-sized businesses struggle with Sales Strategy, Methodology, Structure and Analysis.

  • Getting this “right” increases the return on all other sales-related investments you make.


As you prepare to take action to improve your sales performance, I am open to being a sounding board. I can save you valuable time by skipping experimentation and getting it right the first time. Contact me at (612) 999-7221 or dsteyn@salesxceleration.com, or book a call through my Scheduling Tool.


I also invite you to follow me on LinkedIn to gain exposure to future article posts that will offer more valuable selling insights. Another helpful resource I offer is a custom report you will receive after investing 2-minutes taking my SALES AGILITY ASSESSMENT. It's filled with tips on how to optimize your sales environment based on your unique responses, making the report individualized and insightful!


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I am part of a national group of Senior Sales Leaders who collaborate to share insights like the examples shown in this article. We formed because of our shared passion to help business leaders exponentially grow their revenue.