Scientific articles contain valuable management implications, but are usually not very easy to digest. We summarize the core results so that you can use the latest research findings for your company.

What is the article about?

The article discusses the evolving demands in sales success, particularly highlighted by shifts brought about by the pandemic. With today’s more informed customers, sales professionals are tasked with guiding and coordinating the process of individual problem-solving among internal and external stakeholders. Consequently, companies are seeking different skill sets in their sales teams compared to before.

The authors examine the essential sales skills required for success in modern B2B sales. They define sales skills as learned abilities necessary for the sales profession. Drawing from 3.8 million LinkedIn job postings, they identify sought-after skills and validate them with sales and HR executives from various industries. Subsequently, they analyze the impact of these skills on the sales performance of 250 salespeople.

What are the key findings?

The findings reveal that analytical skills are increasingly valued in sales, being the second most sought-after skill in job postings. Analytical skills involve the ability to capture, consolidate, evaluate, and apply data, particularly customer data. These skills are crucial for translating complex information into actionable measures, which is increasingly vital in the modern sales context. Moreover, the authors demonstrate a direct correlation between analytical skills and sales performance, attributing it to sales professionals’ ability to deploy their efforts more effectively through analytical reasoning.

What does this mean for companies? 

For companies to stay ahead in sales, they should take the following actions:

  • Empower sales teams: Develop the analytical skills of your sales force systematically and regularly. Conduct training programs covering topics such as data analysis, customer analytics, market segmentation, and predictive analysis.
  • Recruit suitable talents: Place particular emphasis on analytical skills or backgrounds in data-oriented disciplines when hiring new employees. Explicitly state these requirements in job descriptions and assess actual skills through appropriate tests in the selection process.
  • Establish a data-driven culture: Provide customer-facing departments with the information they need for competent customer interaction. Additionally, foster cross-functional exchange, such as workshops and regular meetings, to strengthen understanding and application of analytical concepts.


Original text:
Peesker, K. M., Kerr, P. D., Bolander, W., Ryals, L. J., Lister, J. A., & Dover, H. F. (2022). Hiring for sales success: The emerging importance of salesperson analytical skills. Journal of Business Research, 144, 17-30.