Hays in Hong Kong has said businesses are looking to hire sales professionals with high technical aptitude on top of keen business acumen as the city strives to achieve ‘Competitive Smart City’ status. The sales role industry-wide has evolved to encompass not only business development, strategy, product development and market development, but also technological application and competency.
“For those operating in industrial sector sales, an understanding of how to apply new technologies to open up new revenue streams is imperative,” says Dean Stallard, managing director of Hays Greater Bay Area. “Meanwhile, on the consumer side, candidates who have technological experience with big data, data analytics and consumer behaviour are keenly sought after for the new digitalisation era.
“Other than non-technical skills, there is a high expectation of candidates to possess other qualities such as being extremely goal-driven, owning an established network, and having bigger, long-term aspirations as opposed to short-term monetary goals,” continued Stallard. “Language skills are particularly critical, and those who do are not fluent in Mandarin or Cantonese are seen as having little value to the business as those are the two most important languages spoken by customers and other stakeholders.”
Some key competencies desired in sales professionals include:
– Data analytics
– CRM management
– Marketing automation
According to the global recruitment firm, while the demand for these candidates is pronounced, the fast-moving nature of technological developments is outpacing the pipeline of skilled talent required by companies to thrive in the digitalised climate.
“Companies are finding that while there is a large supply of candidates proficient in sales, they lack the necessary skills to navigate the technology based conversations that are required in the modern sales environment, and the number of those who have achieved the required level of experience, is a long way off the demands of the market,” says Timothy Smith, manager of Hays Hong Kong. “With the creation and development of new skills and roles needed in the industry, some traditional functions of sales professionals are on the decline. In Hong Kong, already three in five talents have felt the effects of automation, and sales talents are not an exception.
“In fact, marketing automation is increasingly replacing traditional sales tasks such as cold calling or door to door sales while AI takes the manual workload off virtual banks. However, the silver lining is that many opportunities, in turn, arise from such developments. Sales professionals who constantly upskill and actively seek out opportunities to acquire working knowledge and experience in tech are in a better position to future-proof themselves.”