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upGrad Enterprise Survey: 80% of Sales Professionals Report Feeling Unprepared for Today’s Market

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upGrad Enterprise Survey: 80% of Sales Professionals Report Feeling Unprepared for Today’s Market

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Sales professionals discuss challenges in adapting to modern market demands during a workshop hosted by upGrad Enterprise (Pic – X @upGrad_edu)

upGrad Enterprise, a Corporate Learning and Development division of upGrad – one of Asia’s largest integrated learning, skilling and workforce development majors has released its comprehensive The GRAND Sales & Workplace Report 2024 with insights from 3900+ sales professionals across sectors. The report provides an in-depth analysis of the current state of sales professionals in India Inc. exploring their pain points, desires, and expectations. 

A key finding reveals that 61% of sales professionals plan to change jobs in the next 3-24 months, with more from the automotive and retail sectors intending to leave within the next 12 months. 93% of sales professionals feel their supervisors don’t understand their challenges or provide effective support. Additionally, 83% experience moderate to very high stress, which increases with seniority, especially in the automotive, pharmaceuticals and consumer durables sectors. Competitive market conditions and high management expectations significantly contribute to their stress levels.

The report further explores the effectiveness of training programs, motivational factors for sales professionals, and unique challenges faced by women in sales. It emphasises the need for structured, long-duration training programs and the importance of recognising and rewarding outstanding performance through professional development opportunities.

Other key findings include:

  • 66% of sales professionals believe that their learning, formal & informal, has made them a better salesperson
  • 80% of the sales professionals feel that they don’t possess the necessary skills to thrive in the rapidly changing sales environment 
  • More than 67% of the sales professionals rank learning from experts i.e. aided learning, as a preferred mode of training + others in the report
  • 59% of the sales professionals are not very satisfied with the quality & effectiveness of the current training programs
  • 92% of sales professionals believe that role-based long-duration structured training programs are better than tactical training interventions
  • Chief Business Officers (CBOs) prioritize three key training areas for Individual Contributors (ICs): deep product and process knowledge, strong communication skills, and robust stakeholder relationship management for long-term success and client retention
  • Women in sales report lower annual incomes than men, especially at the department or area sales head level.
  • Women in sales are more likely than men to leave their current company within the next 3 months

Commenting on why upGrad Enterprise launched the report, Shreyasi Singh – President, Capability, Delivery & Brand, upGrad Enterprise & Founder, Harappa said, “We are deeply committed to surfacing sharp and incisive insights into Indian workplaces and helping organisations maximise their potential. After our GRAND reports on women professionals, people managers and CXOs, we wanted to focus on sales professionals as they carry the greatest burdens and stresses in our workplaces. This professional cadre is critical to every business, and it is essential for leaders to mitigate burnout, attrition and disengagement amongst them.”

The dramatic changes happening in the sales profession are also evident in other industry reports where 80% of sales leaders believe the role of a salesperson will be significantly different in just five years. This demonstrates the critical need for continuous learning and upskilling, ensuring that sales professionals are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in this evolving landscape.

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