It’s a good time for Ireland’s international and exporting sector to be looking for senior sales and commercial talent. Until relatively recently – even up to 5 years ago – high growth indigenous companies could not attract the level of sales talent needed to succeed internationally. That’s because the local pool of talent was limited, lacking, in the main, global-standard experience and formal training, especially in sales methodology.

Foreign Direct Investment has given us a new generation of sales professionals 

One of the major and positive outcomes of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Ireland has been the emergence of a new generation of business and management professionals locally.

As a result of multinationals establishing manufacturing and sales and marketing operations in Ireland, we now have a new generation of trained sales professionals with a global mindset and the experience and skills to match. While many will remain working in the multinational sector, some are now at a point in their career where they prefer to apply  their talents in smaller and mid-sized  companies that offer significant career and income opportunity.

This is especially good news for the high-growth Irish companies that plan to grow internationally and need global-level sales and commercial management talent.

Two Additional Drivers of Professional Sales Talent

In addition to the multinational sector there have been two other drivers of a new professional sales talent cohort. A lot of senior talent that is available today started their careers on graduate programmes, many of them based abroad. These people are now seasoned, international sales and management professionals and many are prepared to come back to live and work in Ireland, where the career opportunity is right.

Another second driver of professional talent has been the range of sales and related education and training programmes run by Enterprise Ireland, such as the International Selling Programme, Leadership 4 Growth and Go Global for Growth. The participants on these programmes represent some of the best commercial talent in the country, producing people with an international mindset and a best-practices toolkit.

Senior Sales Talent Doesn’t Just Turn Up

Large, global and big-name companies will always attract top talent, if for no other reason than they tend to pay 20-30% better than the going rates in a market. On the other hand, high-growth, but much smaller companies have a much harder task finding and attracting the right people. The level of salesperson and professional manager they need will not be an active job-seeker (they don’t need to be), will assess a role in terms of its long term opportunity and the potential for personal income growth.

The implication is that a high-growth Irish company with for example a 3-5 year growth plan has to spend significant time finding and attracting talent and then resourcing the investment.

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