Sales: A Fluctuating Landscape

As part of the series of insights around our 2023 Sales Salary Survey, our Associate Director for Sales Stephanie Bowers shared her insights on the state of the market and the year to come. Read on for her thoughts.

Over the past 12 months, we have seen an unprecedented rise in salaries…

The shortage of talent across all sectors has led to a competitive jobs market and, as such, we have become accustomed to sales professionals asking for 15% more in a package if they are to consider a move. This can be accounted for in part as a response to the rising cost of living and inflation in the economy; however, you could also argue that these increases are acting as a means of offsetting the burden that has been carried by those who have not moved roles in 3 years or more, who are essentially underpaid as things currently stand at the time of writing.

Employee experience is more of a subject than ever before within Sales: Sales people are feeling the strain of harder to hit targets and contending with ever shifting goalposts as businesses try to adjust to the fluctuating landscape. Previously, a Sales person would have remained fairly separate from the operations and delivery areas of a business and has simply been allowed to focus on securing and winning deals. But in today’s market, there has been so much flux resulting from the end-user customer pushing back on poor service, that the mindset of a Sales person in the here and now is fast changing. They will find themselves asking, ‘how strong is the brand I sell?’, and ‘how much resource does my employer put into making sure customer opinions are heard?’

Similarly, the strength of the brand is now a major reason for either leaving or joining a business. Customer satisfaction, experience, and retention are all factors the Sales person now looks into, as opposed to the business’s initial USPs and selling strengths. How well a customer is retained and over what period of time is an equally hot topic now, and Sales people are wiser to businesses that haemorrhage clients fast when their competition may not. These points alone make attracting staff harder, unless they are willing to yield to a premium package they can offer.

In my view, there are 2 main factors to consider when hiring in 2023. The first is workplace culture, and specifically bringing the “fun element” to the working day. Businesses need to ask whether they are doing this effectively if they are to close the gaps on what their competitors are doing. Secondly, businesses should be hiring Gen Z and Millennials strategically in order to counteract the large swathes of retirees that the FM industry will see over the next 5-10 years, after the FM hiring boom of 30+ years ago. The Gen Z and Millenial employee groups will value flexibility, collaboration, fun and personal professional development as real reasons to join a business. So, these need to factor highly in an employer’s thinking and hiring strategy, and they must consider how they can best make their roles stand out.

The UK facility management market is expected to see circa 5% growth annually over the next 2-5 years, according to various industry reports. Given the United Kingdom is one of the largest markets for facility management services in Europe in terms of maturity and sophistication, FM businesses are now focused on expanding their presence to leverage the growing demand for facility management. Market reports also indicate single service FM solutions will see a growth in demand, as will bundled FM solutions. So, whatever service an FM business provides, they will be met with competition in attracting people.

In the current market, experience of selling the services or products an SME has to offer is seen as the ideal type of experience as opposed to the experience of working for a large corporate. As the SME is the business that can grow with the right backing and strategy, corporate businesses have seen a great deal of uncertainty and unrest brought to their doors in the last 2-3 years and, generally speaking, have a harder time simply standing still. To this end, having a CV showcasing strong experience growing an SME’s brand seems to put a candidate in a powerful position at the interview stage, and allows them to command the package they want. A sales role for a corporate, on the other hand, has historically been viewed as an ‘easier’ job in terms of securing business: together, these are two powerful reasons why a candidate from an SME background tends to edge it in today’s market.

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