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Australian sales professionals are optimistic about the economy, according to a recent survey.


As a barometer for the overall economy, Australian sales professionals are optimistic they will meet or exceed their quarterly targets, according to a recent survey.

Of 493 employees interviewed by Huthwaite Asia Pacific for its quarterly sales survey, 73% said their goals for the June quarter were well within reach — or would be surpassed. When the same question was posed for the year’s first quarter, 62% answered positively.

“We’re seeing a good level of confidence at the coal face, particularly among business-to-business sales teams, where expectations are on the up following a soft period throughout the global financial crisis,” said James Fennessy, CEO of Huthwaite, a business consulting firm with offices in Australia and the Pacific Rim.

Sales staff in the advertising/entertainment/media were exceptionally upbeat, with 90% saying they would hit or surpass their marks. Workers in the professional services clocked in at a more somber 65%.

The salespeople said their increased confidence went hand-in-hand with customer confidence. In the first quarter, 31.9% of those surveyed said the greatest challenge was customers not buying because of the economic climate. That figure dropped dramatically to just 19.3% for the recent quarter.

The survey also indicated that pricing and a competitive environment will remain key factors for sales staff in achieving their targets.

“While confidence is high, salespeople and sales managers are under great pressure to deliver and are increasingly recognising they need a new approach to demand creation,” Fennessy said. “This is borne out by both sellers and managers identifying they were missing key skills sets that would help them deliver in the new economy.”

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