Image of professionals discussing career paths

Presale research is more important than ever

  • More than four out of five (82%) of top sellers say they conduct research “all the time” before reaching out to prospects.

  • Top performers actually spend 10% less time broadly selling, preferring to spend more time conducting research.

Buyers themselves said their decision to purchase was highly influenced by how well their seller understands the business needs, understands the buyer’s role, and personalizes communications.

Relationship-building and multithreading have become essential

  • Almost nine in 10 sellers (86%) say they lost a deal or had a deal delayed in 2022 because a decision maker changed roles.

  • Sellers connected to at least four people at an account are 16% more likely to close a deal with that company.

The best salespeople are using sales technology to get ahead

  • Four out of five (80%) of sellers who reached 150% of quota or more use sales tech at least once per week.

  • CRM and sales intelligence tools are the most important elements of the tech stack according to sales professionals.

Acquiring and using buyer intent data has become critically important

  • Only 5% of B2B buyers are in-market at any given time.

  • Almost nine in 10 (85%) of sellers say determining buyer intent is important for their sales organization.

There is a very high demand for sales professionals who know how to use data and CRM sales tools

  • At least 69% of sellers say they plan to use sales tools “more” or “significantly more” in 2023 and beyond.

  • CRM skills are highly valued by employers based on LinkedIn’s “skill mismatch,” which compares the difference between skills of an entire workforce versus skills of salespeople.

Read more on how sales is changing: The Big Ideas That Will Shape Sales in 2023

1. Head of Revenue Operations

What they do: Oversee all aspects of an organization’s revenue-generating activities.

Most common skills: 

Read More: How to pursue a career in revenue operations

2. Sales Enablement Specialist

What they do: Support sales teams through improving processes and providing internal tools and training for sales reps. 

Most common skills:

3. Sales Development Representative

What they do: Help generate new business for organizations through outbound sales.

Most common skills: 

Read more: How to launch a career in sales development

4. Sales Compensation Manager

What they do: Work with human resources, sales, and finance teams to develop and implement sales commission and incentive programs. 

Most common skills:

5. Channel Account Executives

What they do: Manage sales accounts within a dedicated product or region, supporting customers and identifying growth opportunities. 

Most common skills: 

1. Determine where they want a sales career path to take them

They might not know exactly where they want to end up, but you can use directional input to set a general focus, be it management or specialization.

For the purposes of skill identification, break down sales career trajectories such as:

  • Sales representative
  • Sales manager 
  • Sales executive

2. Determine the skills they need to get there by identifying skill gaps

Reference the most in-demand skills to determine which skills they’ll need to develop for their desired path. Document the skills they are missing in this order of priority:

  1. In-demand skills for the next job they want to be promoted to
  2. In-demand skills for the job they want to reach ultimately
  3. In-demand skills for sales in general

For each of the main sales career categories, for example, the list of skills could look something like:

Sales Representative

  1. Customer Service
  2. Communication
  3. Account Management
  4. Customer Relationship Management
  5. Sales Operations

Sales Manager

  1. Management
  2. Sales Management
  3. Teamwork
  4. Salesforce
  5. Sales Operations

Sales Executive

  1. Management
  2. Leadership
  3. Sales Management
  4. Business Development
  5. Data Analysis

3. Make a plan for developing these skills

Develop a plan with the employee for how and when they’ll learn each skill needed. Encourage them to work with their manager to build time for skill development into the work schedule and make it a part of regular performance reviews. 

The LinkedIn Learning platform has a vast array of courses to help employees acquire modern sales skills. Start exploring now!