Direct Selling and Internal vs. External Hires

To hire externally, or to promote from within? This question is certainly not unique to the Direct Selling industry. Some professionals believe the point is moot: that talent should override any other factor.

While Direct Selling is a niche industry, many HR executives consider that a mixed hiring approach brings the greatest benefits. Some firms have adopted the approach of only hiring outsiders for roles of a certain stature, such as C-Suite offerings. Why? To shake things up if that’s what’s needed for your Direct Selling firm to grow. To not have any preconceived notions of how things are done. To ensure that new ideas, innovation, and creativity are welcomed, not stifled.

While Direct Selling is a niche industry, many HR executives consider thata mixed hiring approach brings the greatest benefits…


The opposition camp believes that hiring from within is key to retaining and rewarding good employees, the importance of which has been discussed here. Further advantages of hiring internally include your “candidate” already understanding the company culture. S/he doesn’t need to acclimatize and is familiar with your business model.

Both approaches have their merits. When deciding to hire externally or from the local talent pool, however, savvy employers will not only look at whether their company culture is ready and can accommodate such changes. The function of the vacant position also determines whether to hire internally or cast the net further afield. If any special expertise required, mark another tick for looking for outside help. Some of the areas in which strategizing a mixed hiring approach might help round out your Direct Selling firm include:


Surely an internal hire with Direct Selling experience is better than an outsider sales hire? While Direct Selling has a unique focus and calls for a certain mindset, those familiar with the industry say not necessarily. Entrepreneurial nous, connection skills and ability to read people are all important. Everybody is an industry newbie at some stage, too.

Customer Acquisition and Customer Marketing

A talented outsider with customer relationship marketing (CRM) smarts may very well benefit your Direct Selling business. Why? S/he will already speak the language of relationship building and loyalty campaigns but will bring fresh perspectives to boot.

Digital Marketing and Social Media

We have already discussed how social media has proven to be an invaluable tool for Direct Selling businesses. The industry can capitalize on its position to harness the power of the medium. A strategic outsider with much experience may not only be an advantage for your company, but s/he may also provide new ideas on how to motivate and engage with your sales teams and other employees.

Field Development/Field Communication

Conversely, promoting an existing employee, or at least hiring someone with Direct Selling experience from a different or rival company is thought to be better practice. Why? Strong relationship building skills and inside knowledge are a winning combination when it comes to developing your team and keeping them on track.

Strong relationship building skills and inside knowledge are a winning combination when it comes to developing your team and keeping them on track…


Finance and Compensation

Similarly, hiring from within the sector may be advantageous when looking to fill a financial or analytical role that requires looking at compensation for your Direct Selling distributors. Why? Understanding compensation plans–and how they function organically as well as practically–is integral to the Direct Selling model.

Information Technology

Because each Direct Selling company’s IT needs are unique, both insiders and outsiders may be considered for such positions. If there is a need for an infrastructural and strategic overhaul, an outsider may deliver fresh ideas and perspectives on how best to achieve results. If the firm’s needs aren’t as urgent, promoting an industry insider already familiar with tools and software may be the best route to take.

Whether hiring an industry specialist or outsider with other, veteran experience, it is important to onboard your new hire, so that s/he remains positive and motivated in her new role. Read more about that, here.

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