News & Analysis

Gartner Sees Talent Shortage in Sales Leadership

The research agency believes that the shortage in talent could result in better diversity as hitherto under-represented demographics take up the challenge

The B2B sales leadership roles could witness a severe paucity of talent in the coming years, says Gartner while also predicting that sales leadership roles could witness greater diversity as historically under-represented demographics make a presence over the next five years. 

The research body says chief sales officers or heads of sales have themselves identified talent recruitment as their top external challenge, given that barely three candidates are available per open position in B2B sales. This often results in such top sales roles lying vacant for an average of two months and beyond. 


The talent pool bias is quite real in sales

Some of these findings have been reported in the “Gartner Predictions for 2023: Talent Shifts in B2B Sales”. Research also indicated a talent pool bias towards those already in specific job functions that keeps away a large number of qualified candidates. This results in a perception of an abject lack of diversity in the B2B sales domain. 

A report published by SDxCentral quotes Gartner’s senior director Chris Gamble to suggest that in spite of the talent crisis, CSOs have historically neglected tapping into the high potential candidates from under-represented groups. However, given the current pressures, there could be a possibility of improving and diversifying the talent pipeline in the months ahead. 


Pay disparities must need to be fixed

The Gartner official held the view that organizations must look at pay disparity and bias while reorganizing their annual budgets to allow for compensation adjustments of up to 30% while also agreeing to a review at least biannually. However, he accepted that this could be tough in the current economic scenario. 

Given that the cost gets recouped when open territories are staffed with high quality reps and such a move impacts both the top and the bottom lines, it would be easy for companies to lower the headcounts to keep budgets flat. Heads of Sales need to function directly with CFOs in order to get their strategic plans built into the organizational budgets for 2023. 


Training needs could be reduced with right hires

The report also said sellers would require 65% fewer hours of training three years from now as compared to the levels in 2022. This reflects an adjustment for talent outside of the specific job function that would become the norm in the future. CSOs would be required to partner with HR teams in order to adjust candidate profiles to focus more on skills and behaviors rather than mere experience in a similar job. 

This would also require a concerted effort to check for bias in job postings whereby positions are often skewed towards a certain kind of talent pool and demographics. Gartner also says that members of the under-represented groups could worry about companies having an unsupportive or even discriminatory environment, thus missing out on real game changers. 

Heads of sales who are unwilling to challenge existing recruitment efforts could thus miss out on hiring candidates with better qualifications, says Gamble while also predicting that the next flash point could center around pay transparency and equity. 

Leave a Response