Sales trends from 2023: how to adapt to the modern sales play

Author Patrick Sommerfelt
November 8, 2023

At Carter Murray, our role is to connect businesses and sales leaders with the right sales professionals – whether you’re a start-up, scale-up or established global brand.

Working with a vast network gives us unique insight into what’s happening in recruitment across today’s global sales markets.

We’ve also gathered global data to explore the sales and recruitment trends we’ve seen throughout 2023, covering everything from skills and technologies, how they impact your business, and what recruitment strategies you can build to attract and retain the best people.

  • Globally, there’s a 35% yearly turnover in sales teams
  • There’s been a 38% increase in data and analytics skills over the last year
  • 58% of CMOs lack in-house resources to meet strategic goals
  • 52% of sales people want at least 50% remote work

Sales leaders are embracing new skills and new technologies

Over the past few years, an unprecedented number of emerging trends made their way into sales. From the rise of generative AI to the increasing importance of creative selling, the stand-out performers in today’s market must possess a wide range of skills.

Most industries had adopted a more sophisticated, solution-focused approach to selling, and the pandemic fundamentally altered the relationship between businesses and their target consumers. Consumers now demand bespoke solutions and the ability to demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of their needs.

A multi-channel approach

As customers now use multiple channels to gather information before making purchasing decisions, sales teams must be agile enough to deliver a multi-channel experience. Sales teams may have a wealth of new tools at their disposal to help them navigate customer insights, task delegation and content generation, but traditional skills are still critical.

Interpersonal communication, problem-solving and customer obsession are critical for sales leaders as they and their teams find the balance between new technologies and traditional relationship management.

Hybrid skills needed for the modern sales professional

  • Emphasis on digital skills – such as data analysis, social media marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Personalisation and customer experience
  • Product knowledge
  • Automation and AI
    Sales process management

The impact on your business

What do these shifts mean for sales leaders? How can they ensure their teams have the right blend of skills to succeed in today’s market? The challenge is not only to acquire the right talent but to ensure your retention strategies are fit for purpose. In 2022, there was a 35% average attrition rate for sales teams.

The impact of AI

Sales teams are increasingly turning to AI to generate content for sales pitches, with the rise of programmes such as ChatGPT. But whilst there may be some time-saving advantages, tech leaders have warned that these tools are not yet reliable and failure to understand their limitations could lead to costly errors.

Skills on the rise…and on the move

  • 27% of sales professionals with natural language processing experience changed jobs in the past 12 months
  • 21% of sales professionals with data and analytics experience changed jobs in the past 12 months
  • 22% of experienced sales professionals with CRM experience changed jobs in the past 12 months

Tools for multi-channel selling

Sales professionals must be adept in managing a wide range of tools and technologies effectively, including:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) systems
  • Sales enablement tools
  • Analytics and business intelligence tools
  • Collaboration tools
  • Automation tools

Potential strategies from a recruitment perspective

To succeed, sales teams must possess a blend of skills and knowledge, plus the ability to adapt to the increasing pace of change. But sales leaders can deploy various strategies to ensure they have the right talent in place.

According to our research, most recruiting professionals still believe it will be a candidate-driven market over the next five years. Designing attraction and retention strategies with the right incentives will make all the difference.

For example, a 2022 survey from TalentLMS found financial wellness benefits are growing in popularity. 68% of employees said they are more likely to stay longer at their current job if their employer offers financial wellness benefits.

We’d be happy to discuss potential strategies with you in detail – from timing to assessments and skills-based recruitment – and anything else around these sales trends from 2023.

You can also learn more about our global recruitment services where we can work with you to co-create a seamless, global solution to support your hiring and talent needs.

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