It seems that regardless of industry, companies are confident and consider the time right to grow. Business Development Managers are in high demand across most industries, and are also sought by SMEs and start-ups.
We’re also seeing a general increase in vacancy activity at the sales management level as businesses build their sales teams.
Personality and cultural fit has increased in importance for employers, who want sales professionals who will fit into the wider business.
There’s also been a decrease in the number of employers who will only consider candidates with the exact same product background. Instead employers are more willing to consider candidates with a strong sales ability and good overall industry knowledge.
Having said this, employers still look for candidates who can build relationships, think strategically, negotiate strongly, handle objections and close a complex solution sale.
The use of psychometric testing as part of the recruitment process has increased since employers want to ensure they hire the best suited salesperson - but this strategy also requires employers to have a strong idea of what their requirements are.
In terms of skills in demand for the July to September 2015 quarter, we’re seeing high demand for Business Development Managers. The sales focus has shifted in Australia with Business Development Managers in far greater demand than pure Account Managers. Today companies want people who will be at the forefront of their revenue growth. With the arrival of the new financial year and new ambitious growth plans, demand is expected to peak this quarter. In addition, more organisations want to expand into other states while overseas businesses want to establish in Australia, and therefore demand will remain high for industry-specific Business Development Managers with relevant contacts.
Employers also want Business Development Managers who are autonomous since they spend a lot of time away from head office. Candidates with longevity on their CV and a proven history of growing businesses from zero up to $5 to 6 million are more valued than people who have grown businesses from say $20 to 25 million.
There’s also a need for Sales Representatives who have an understanding of marketing in order to perform a hybrid role.
Sales Managers are sought. Employers look for candidates who can manage sales in a state rather than a team looking to grow.
Account Managers with the ability to build long lasting relationships and grow and develop existing accounts are needed.
The commercial and residential construction industry is still going strong in most locations, which is creating demand for experienced Specification Salespeople and Construction Products & Material Sales professionals with established networks.
Bilingual candidates are also sought within the FMCG and technology industries, especially Japanese, Mandarin and Cantonese speakers. In the past bilingual language skills were considered a great extra bonus, but today more companies consider this a prerequisite as they want to tap into new markets.
In terms of candidate trends, there is a general shortage of people with long tenure in previous roles, which shows that candidates are moving between jobs more frequently. While historically salespeople do change employers often, businesses are more comfortable hiring a candidate who they have a higher chance of retaining long-term.
More senior candidates at the State Manager/National Sales Manager level are available due to previous cost cuts.
Candidates are increasingly willing to wait for the right role. Many are also vehemently steering away from new business.