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  • Writer's pictureShawn Dunahue

Why Do Companies Prioritize Industry Experience Over Operational Excellence in Sales and Revenue Generation?

As an experienced VP of Sales and Revenue Operations Advisor, I am passionate about helping companies achieve successful revenue generation through the implementation of best-in-class systems, processes, and coaching techniques that are both repeatable and scalable to meet the business's needs.

Many companies believe that extensive industry experience is the ultimate solution for Sales Leadership and resolving issues with revenue generation and sales performance. Without it, they assume, both the leader and the business are doomed to fail. This belief often leads to industry experience being one of the primary qualifying questions on job applications, acting as a gatekeeper that can either open the door for a candidate or dismiss them before their core value is even assessed.

However, many companies and most senior leaders fail to realize that the obstacles to achieving revenue goals are typically rooted in deficiencies in sales leadership and missing elements in their sales infrastructure—not a lack of industry knowledge. While industry knowledge is indeed valuable for individual contributors or salespeople as it helps them navigate the complexities of their field, over-reliance on this criterion can result in overlooking highly qualified and capable individuals. The real issue often lies not in the lack of capacity or aptitude to execute but in the absence of effective and aligned sales processes, scalable sales techniques, collective customer and competitive knowledge, performance-driven accountability, and a strong focus on coaching and development.


So, what should you do when your Industry Experienced Sales Leader and team consistently miss revenue targets? Overemphasizing industry knowledge won't compensate for the lack of investment in developing a well-crafted and defined sales strategy, properly executing and aligning the sales plan, creating standardized and repeatable sales processes, ensuring performance accountability, and establishing an effective sales development and coaching program. These are the foundational elements of a successful sales organization. Without them, growth will stall and eventually decline because the team lacks the necessary support and vision.

My experience has shown that when revenue goals are not being met, the solution lies not in deeper industry knowledge but in strengthening these foundational elements.


Finding Harmony Between Industry Experience and Operational Proficiency in Sales Leadership

How can companies strike a balance between industry experience and operational proficiency within their sales leadership and sales organization? My expertise lies in establishing sales organizations with the optimal sales operating management systems. Let’s explore some key aspects that demonstrate the benefits of blending these two critical components:

Enhanced Strategic Vision: Combining industry knowledge with operational expertise allows for the creation of more effective and realistic sales strategies. Industry veterans bring insights into market trends and customer behavior, while operational experts provide the tools and processes to execute these strategies efficiently.

Improved Sales Processes: Industry experience helps identify the unique challenges and opportunities within a specific market. When paired with operational proficiency, companies can develop and implement standardized, repeatable sales processes that are tailored to their industry’s nuances.

Stronger Cross-Functional Collaboration: Sales leaders with industry experience understand the language and priorities of their field, which fosters better communication and collaboration with other departments. Operational experts ensure that these collaborations are structured and productive, aligning goals across the organization.

Better Talent Development: Industry-savvy leaders can mentor sales teams on the specifics of their market, while operationally proficient leaders focus on developing core sales skills and best practices. This dual approach enhances overall team capability and performance.

Increased Accountability and Performance: Operational proficiency brings in metrics-driven accountability, ensuring that sales efforts are measurable and goals are clear. Coupled with industry expertise, this ensures that performance metrics are relevant and aligned with market realities.

Scalability and Growth: A blend of industry experience and operational proficiency creates a solid foundation for scalable growth. Industry insights help identify emerging opportunities, while operational systems ensure that the sales organization can scale efficiently to meet new demands.

By integrating industry experience with operational proficiency, companies can build a well-rounded sales leadership team that leverages the strengths of both aspects. This harmonious blend leads to more effective strategies, streamlined processes, and sustained growth.


Industry-Agnostic Sales Challenges

If having deep industry knowledge alone could resolve lagging sales, your expert team would have already overcome these hurdles. However, certain sales challenges are universal across industries. Do any of these issues sound familiar?

Lack of a Defined, Repeatable Sales Process: Without a structured approach, sales efforts can be inconsistent and reactive.

Stalled Proposals: Deals that seem promising but never close can bottleneck revenue growth.

High Sales Rep Turnover: Frequent turnover disrupts continuity and adds recruitment and training costs.

Struggling to Elevate Sales Performance: Many companies find it challenging to break through to higher levels of sales achievement.

Difficulty Finding the Right Salesperson: Hiring the ideal candidates can be a persistent issue.

Competing on Price Instead of Value: When differentiation based on value is tough, price wars often ensue, eroding margins.

By partnering with your internal experts, I bring a fresh perspective and proven strategies to address these universal sales challenges, ensuring we create effective and sustainable improvements tailored to your specific business context.

Fundamental Sales Categories

As a Fractional VP of Sales and Revenue Operations Advisor, I specialize in helping small to mid-sized businesses overcome roadblocks and revitalize their revenue generation. Across various industries and verticals, I focus on four key areas: Sales Strategy, Sales Methodology, Sales Analysis, and Sales Organization.


My colleagues and I engage with hundreds of small to mid-sized businesses each year, driven by owners and senior executives recognizing obstacles that impede their sales goals. One universal truth is that the issues needing resolution are not specific to any one industry.

There are four fundamental areas I consistently examine during the client discovery phase to identify root causes affecting sales performance. These areas must work cohesively to ensure your sales organization hits its targets consistently:

Sales Strategy: Crafting a clear, actionable strategy that aligns with your business goals and market dynamics.

Sales Methodology: Implementing a repeatable, scalable approach to selling that ensures consistency and effectiveness.

Sales Analysis: Utilizing data and analytics to understand performance metrics, identify trends, and make informed decisions.

Sales Organization: Building and maintaining a well-structured, motivated sales team capable of executing the strategy and methodology effectively.

As demonstrated by insights from 4,425 business owners and senior executives in 2023, the typical small to mid-sized B2B company often struggles to establish a robust sales platform. By focusing on these four fundamental categories, I help businesses build a solid foundation for sustained sales success.

Overcome Sales Challenges with a Proven System

Are you tired of superficial fixes and course corrections that barely scratch the surface of your sales issues? It’s time to stop patching problems and commit to implementing a scalable platform that delivers long-term results. At Tidewater Solutions Group, LLC, we combine your talented and experienced industry sales professionals with Sales Xceleration’s Certified Sales Operations Management System™ (CSMOS) to tackle industry-agnostic sales challenges effectively.


Why Choose Us?

Our passion lies in helping small to mid-sized businesses overcome persistent sales hurdles. By leveraging a proven, best-in-class sales operational approach alongside your team's deep industry knowledge, we can get things back on track and accelerate your sales growth.


Get Started Today

Schedule a meeting at or email me at You can also kickstart the process by clicking the banner below to access my quick 10-question Sales Assessment. You'll receive a comprehensive report on your sales organization’s positioning, complete with helpful insights, actionable tips, and results benchmarking.


Let’s work together to build a robust and scalable sales platform that drives long-term success.


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