Stephen Newman’s Blog

Sales. Is it a dirty word?

How many sales people do you know with a degree in selling or in sales management? Are there many universities who offer a degree in sales process?

I suggest the answer to these questions is ‘Very few’.

On one hand, people say, “Nothing happens until a sale is made” but on the other hand, investment in sales performance improvement is often sporadic or ill conceived. I’ve even heard people say, “Can we call it Business Development or Marketing? Sales is a dirty word round here”. Now you might expect this point of view in the public sector or from people who work in not-for-profit organisations. But I’ve heard comments like these from law firms, consulting firms, health care, engineering as well as science and technology businesses. I know companies whose leaders depend on sales for their success, yet they refuse to put a sales executive on the board. Yes, everyone wants the revenues and profits that sales generate, but some companies are less keen to invest or change their view of the people who sell. These people regard selling as an unfortunate but necessary feature of modern business.

For a profession such as sales – yes, I do see it as a profession – there are very few professional qualifications available.  Of course, there are thousands of sales training firms but only a few programmes are recognised by professional bodies.

Fortunately, Critical Moments’ sales coaching programmes are accredited.

Why does it have to be like this? Let’s think about it. If your sales people have secured enough profitable business to keep your organisation ticking over in the past two years, that means:

  • they have ploughed through a banking crisis
  • faced up to a downturn which knocked business confidence
  • battled to meet deadlines and business objectives with packed transport networks and volcanic ash!

I’m not saying sales people deserve medals. But they are entitled to support in the form of anything which can make their job easier. Because anything which can help sales people work more effectively must be a good investment.

Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Do your sales people have the support systems and infrastructure they need to do better?
  2. Could sales training and sales coaching improve results?
  3. Are your sales staff well rewarded or could they be tempted to a more lucrative job in a competitor company?

I want to hear from you if you who share my view or disagree. Why do some firms fail to recognise the contribution good selling makes to the bottom line?  Have your say here

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