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2016 trends in WA’s technical sales industry
06 December 2016
As the year draws to a close and we prepare for the Christmas shut down period it is good to reflect on the year that has been. Globally 2016 has seen some major historical events –most notably the UK’s vote to leave the EU and the US Election.
The price of gold has spiked above AUD$1800 and Australian gold miners have been able to increase their gold output despite being hampered by wet weather. At the start of the year iron ore was sitting around US$40 a ton and is now hovering in the $US70-80 a ton range. Nickel miners have also experienced some upswing with many South East Asian countries halting production as new stringent environmental policies are explored.
These events and more have all had an effect, either directly or indirectly, on the Australian and particularly WA economy and job market.
Recruitment of sales professionals is generally a positive sign as it is an indication of opportunities in the market. I’ve explored a few strong areas of growth in the WA market and what they mean for hiring.
One of the biggest trends this year has been the increase in demand for sales professionals within manufacturing, particularly in relation to companies providing parts and service to the mining industry. This trend can be attributed to the decrease in commodity prices resulting in an increased emphasis on reducing costs and mining plant shut down times.
While cost is a major factor when selling into the mining industry, companies that are looking to increase overall market share or share of wallet are having to focus on other factors such as availability of product and lead times for delivery.
The companies having the most success have been able to increase manufacturing efficiencies (thus decreasing costs), have an innovative aspect to their product and have the ability to fulfil orders in a timely manner.
Within this market, sales professionals with a ‘hunter’ mentality have been highly sought after. These candidates are able to not only handle the knocks backs and rejection of hunting those new opportunities but also have the strategic know-how when it comes to developing a market or region. They know the main players in the industry, know the tenders and projects that are coming up and most importantly have the ability to create growth in a declining or stagnant market.
Agribusiness in WA is an area many companies have seen as a growth market. 2016 was anticipated to be a record year for wheat farmers, despite lower expected wheat prices, but has been dampened by an unseasonable cold snap in the WA agriculture region with frost in the month of September damaging crops.
Despite this, many companies have actively sought out candidates who are familiar with the agriculture industry and have experience ‘on the land’ as a way to better engage with their farming customer base.
The farming community are very much to the point when it comes to their purchases and need to see the value in the investment of new equipment quickly to justify the cost. Providing a consultative approach to selling in this region has been identified as a way to engage more effectively with customers, not only in selling new equipment or products but also assisting in achieving better life and use out of current equipment or products.
2017 predictions for industrial sales in WA
Sentiment in the WA market is positive with many companies forecasting incremental growth during the 2017 calendar year. Recruitment of sales professionals has increased during the November/December period with the intention of the successful candidate being able to serve out their notice and then begin in early to mid-January. This will allow a couple of weeks for the person to be trained up and out on the road by February.
The trends identified above are expected to continue, particularly the pick-up in parts and service within mining, as reducing costs will remain the focus. WA’s state election will be held in 2017 which will bring some uncertainty to the first half of the year. Globally, we will start to see the ramification of the UK leaving the EU and Trump’s America will be revealed. We will watch with interest as the environmental policies affecting South East Asia’s nickel producers and the expected pick up in low-cost supply of iron ore to the market.
If you’re thinking about your 2017 technical sales career now, or you’re looking to build up your team, please feel free to get in touch with me today: [email protected].