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Sales in Focus Report in 7 key charts – what the 2024 study tells us about the state of Sales in Australia

After months of research and preparation, on Tuesday the 30th April we released Sales in Focus ‘24, marking the first comprehensive Australian study shedding light on the entire landscape of sales. Formed from 28 in-depth interviews with Australian Sales leaders the study delves into crucial issues and opportunities confronting sales across diverse industries and organisational sizes. 

So, what have we learnt in 2024 about sales teams down under? 


In this article, we summarise 7 key findings that will give you the inside scoop of the biggest trends, challenges, opportunities, and areas to watch. For those looking to understand the state of Sales in Australia, look for further. 

Sign up to download a FREE copy of the Sales in Focus ’24 Report here. 

Sign up to the Arktic Fox B2B DigiSalesFest Online Event that will showcase all the insights of the Report and more here.

1. The top 5 sales priorities for sales leaders & teams in the year ahead are: 

The study found that although digital is pervasive, sales teams still heavily rely on traditional outbound sales methods, even though 60% of buyers now initiate their purchasing journey online. More successful sales leaders and B2B sellers are embracing customer-centric strategies and leveraging initiatives such as Account Based Marketing to more effectively prioritise and target prospects in a more highly competitive market.

In today’s landscape, harnessing data and analytics is paramount for informed decision-making, optimising customer experiences, and enabling personalisation. Sales leaders expressed the importance of insights to demonstrate value to customers with over 20% highlighting the need to improve in this area.

Sales Leaders also reported that with market and competitive pressures, they are actively diversifying their product offerings to add more value and capture new market segments. This naturally necessitates a flexible approach from sales teams, who must be adept at promoting a diverse range of products across various market segments while ensuring a consistent brand experience.

Delivering a seamless and personalised experience, from acquisition to onboarding through to ongoing support also ranked high on the priority list particularly for retaining customers and fostering long-term loyalty in a competitive market landscape.

2. The biggest challenges Sales Leaders are facing in the next 12-18 months are: 

There are many challenges facing sales in 2024. More than 50% of leaders expressed the top challenge being the current market conditions with direct impact on sales cycles and sales teams having to do more to win the sale.  This together with the modern buyer who is far more informed, presents a complex challenge for sales professionals, characterised by increased sophistication and evolving preferences. Today’s buyers demand more value and substance in their interactions with sales representatives, parting ways with fluff and sales pitches in favour of tangible benefits and solutions that directly address their pain points. Additionally, with a reduction in buyer loyalty, customers are more willing to explore alternatives and switch suppliers if their needs are not adequately met. 


As the role of sales representatives expands, to encompass deeper insights into customer needs, there's a growing emphasis on enhancing literacy in data, digital tools, business acumen, and foundational selling skills. 

3. Top 3 big trends in the digital space that are keeping leaders up at night: 

4. The top 4 capability gaps that exist in sales businesses today are:

There's a notable emphasis on revisiting the foundational elements of selling, encompassing both hard and soft skills as more than 80% of sales leaders reported that basic selling skills are lacking in their sales organisation. These skill gaps include the ability for sales professionals to qualify leads and opportunities, undertake discovery calls, effectively prospect and manage leads, negotiate the sale, close and solution selling. 

Alongside of these core skills, leaders are looking to bolstering skills around data and analytics to improve decision making. Simultaneously, there's a concerted effort to enhance awareness and comprehension of emerging trends and technologies, particularly in the digital realm.  

Sales training must place a greater emphasis on understanding and adapting to the evolving needs and preferences of the modern buyer. This involves adopting a customer-centric approach that prioritises building meaningful relationships, providing value-added insights, and delivering personalised experiences tailored to everyone's unique requirements. 

Commercial acumen also featured within the top areas of focus for skills development, with leaders expressing limited capability of sales teams to harness data effectively and connect it to buyer problems to create meaningful opportunities.  

5. 65% of leaders reported having a dedicated sales operations function however many teams have too narrow a focus. 

Out of the sales leaders surveyed, 65% reported having a dedicated sales operations function within their organisations. However, the size, remit and maturity of these organisations greatly determines the level of influence and value they deliver for the sales function. Notably, the composition and responsibilities of these teams varied considerably based on factors such as complexity of the product and sales cycle, sales team size, industry, and stage of growth. By and large CPGs, FMCG, NFPs and media organisations demonstrated less maturity in sales operations and the functions were narrower in scope. Tech based businesses, professional services and SAAS organisations have more sophisticated sales processes and possess larger, more well-defined sales operations functions. 


The proliferation of the number of sources of data available and increasing number of data and analytics tools to leverage, has elevated the importance of sales operations in driving data-driven decision-making. In both mature and traditional sales organisations, there's a growing recognition of the immense value that data and insights can offer in optimising sales performance and enhancing customer engagement. Sales operations teams are tasked with aggregating, analysing, and interpreting vast volumes of sales data to derive actionable insights that inform strategic decision-making. 

6. The relationship between sales and marketing is still fractured – with 50% of sales leaders rate their working relationship with marketing as neutral or ineffective. 

Friction persists between sales and marketing teams, with over 50% of Sales Leaders rating their relationship as neutral or ineffective. In part, the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the relationship with marketing stems from the perception that marketing has an inadequate understanding of the customer and / or local market / vertical knowledge.  


Given sales' proximity to buyers and customers, marketing must bring additional value to the table beyond the existing knowledge of the sales team. Some leaders reported that sales still need to prepare their own content as marketing doesn't hit the mark.  Closer alignment between these functions is critical for driving revenue growth, delivering a seamless buyer experience, and maximising ROI.  


More than 40% of Sales Leaders have recognised a significant knowledge gap regarding the role of marketing and the various channels they leverage. 


Despite this, there is a shift on both sides to better understand each other's world, align goals and share KPIs. The role of the CRO is also emerging as a key executive role, to align sales and marketing under one function and to bridge the gap and friction between the two sides. 

7. The CRM remains the cornerstone technology investment for sales teams with more than 80% of Sales Leaders focusing investment and efforts in this tool over the next 12 months to support sales. 

On the technology front, priority investment areas in salesTech over the next 12 months include CRM, data and analytics and content management / sales enablement.   

There's a notable emphasis on investing in content management and tools that enhance sales messaging and conversations, regardless of whether they occur in face-to-face interactions or online settings, leveraging data and insights to deliver timely and relevant communications across various channels and more personalised communications and interactions for high value targets. 

The research also highlighted there's a growing trend towards more modest investment in salesTech as companies seek to consolidate operations and mitigate the risk of overburdening sales representatives. Some Sales Leaders reported they were focusing efforts to improve salesTech utilisation through more access and investment in training on key technologies. By taking a more measured approach to salesTech investment, companies can strike the right balance between equipping their sales teams with the tools they need to succeed and ensuring that technology remains an enabler rather than a hindrance to productivity.  

To read the full report, download it here.

At Arktic Fox we're committed to partnering with businesses to address their challenges and unlock their full sales potential. Through personalised strategies and actionable insights, we empower our clients to thrive in today's competitive marketplace. Let us help you optimise your sales journey and achieve sustainable growth.


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