As we move towards the middle of 2022, companies are looking at a complicated set of economic and political conditions which may present significant challenges over the next 12 to 18 months.

Inflation and the cost of living crisis, the war in Ukraine, and uncertainty over continued Brexit developments all contribute to tough choices for companies.

Of these difficult decisions, recruitment can be one of the most challenging. New staff require time to settle in before they become productive, and hiring decisions can sometimes have HR and talent acquisition professionals wishing for a crystal ball.

The situation may have changed since the beginning of the Great Resignation, but many companies still have to work hard to recruit the talent they need. TotalJobs found that 41% of businesses increased their recruitment efforts in just the first three months of the year.

Efforts to increase recruitment will be welcome news to many employees who are feeling the pressure of high workloads. The same study found that 38% of workers described their workload as ‘unmanageable’, and 11% were planning to leave their jobs as a result.

This combination of factors leads to high vacancies in a wide range of industries. Sales, in particular, saw recruitment levels jump by 45% between January and March 2022. Here are some of the most recent sales recruitment trends.

Trends we’re seeing in sales recruitment

Such a dramatic increase in recruitment levels is an exciting headline, but there are more complex trends in sales recruitment at the moment. The needs of both employers and employees are changing rapidly, and companies need to be alert to make sure they find (and keep) the talent they need.

Employees are looking for balance

Especially as workloads are rising, employees are increasingly looking for companies that prioritise a healthy work-life balance. The ability to switch off at the end of the workday, enjoy time off work without guilt, and have free time to pursue hobbies and outside interests are all important to staff across the board.

Sales teams, in particular, have historically been associated with the ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality, but candidates have become wary of the expectations this type of workplace culture creates.

It’s up to companies and recruiters to find ways to demonstrate to new hires that they will be able to balance their work and home lives if they accept a position. Do this by offering generous leave arrangements and creating a culture that promotes switching off outside work hours.

Ripples of the pandemic

During the uncertainty around the pandemic, many companies chose to reduce their sales force. As the world has opened up and customers are re-emerging from lockdowns, this trend has reversed. Many companies are building up their sales teams to make the most of new opportunities.

It’s not just the staff that many organisations are working hard to increase. Some are also taking this as an opportunity to diversify their sales teams, seeking out talent with a range of skill sets to work across different sales areas, markets, or customers. 

Increased use of a flexible workforce

It’s not just workers who are looking for new, more flexible ways of working. Companies are increasingly turning to freelancers and flexible workers to fill gaps in their sales workforce.

Freelance and flexible workers can help cover skills shortages within a sales team. Flexible workers are an increasingly common part of the workforce rather than a short-term solution to an acute problem.

Sales recruitment may be moving in the same direction as software engineering and tech firms in finding long-term places for freelance staff. This provides freelance sales workers with an opportunity to work in a broader range of roles, including many lucrative positions that long-term contract workers would have previously held.

Sales can now be primarily online

Many companies are finding that their sales workforce has shifted to be primarily online. Both customer preference and business demands are driving change in the same direction. During the pandemic, many customers (consumers and businesses) relished the ease of online purchasing.

As a result of this shift, forward-thinking companies are looking to equip their sales teams with the necessary skills to provide sales and customer services in online spaces.

Roles like customer assistant and sales advisor often now require excellent online communication skills and the standard in-person communication skills. 

Importantly, these skills allow companies to offer a human touch for online sales, reduce complaints, improve customer loyalty, and generate better returns.

Communication skills are more important than ever

Employers looking for new sales talent aren’t just looking for online communication skills. They need team members who can embrace the full range of communication skills. 

Soft communication skills such as confidence in public speaking, a clear and concise communication style, and the ability to deliver a great elevator pitch have always been key to sales success. 

Post-pandemic, employers are looking for evidence that potential new hires have retained these skills. Qualifications, certifications, and training courses can all help great talent stand out from the crowd.

Workplaces across the country have to adapt to new ways of working, especially when it comes to recruitment. Take a look at some of the key trends we’ve identified in various sectors, including engineering, digital marketing, and education

And if you’re looking for help with your sales recruitment, get in touch with crooton today for expert advice from industry professionals.