From the Association of Professional Sales: MPs on the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Professional Sales have published a major new report on the vital role that B2B selling must play in the UK’s recovery from recession.
“Our report identifies a critical shortage of professional salespeople that affects every business, but SMEs in particular. It also highlights a negative attitude in Britain towards selling that is holding the economy back. The government needs to intervene to close the skills gap, and to promote a more business-like attitude towards selling.”Mark Pawsey, MP Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Professional Sales
What does supercharging sales mean in reality?
The game has changed irrevocably. There was B.L. and now, there is A.L. Before Lockdown, the pace of change in the sales world if not glacial, certainly was not warp speed. Things were moving albeit reluctantly in some cases, towards a new-ish approach probably best described as ‘variant-traditional’. The Pandemic imposed an adapt to survive regime on all of us. Organizations adopting a wait and see strategy to sales After Lockdown are likely to have been lapped multiple times in the race for sustainable success. A.L. is where we are. If you’re not doing something different – recruiting, training, using alternative sales channels, modifying your offer or pricing then ground is being lost daily to those who started months ago.
The sales function and leadership
Sales is not a function with massive presence in the boardroom. Leaders who measure success in purely bottom line terms (and there are many) will have been hugely heartened by the ability to remain afloat whilst minimizing all of the sales related variable costs such as travel, subsistence and entertainment. In some case that will place a question mark over the existence of a sales function itself. You can hear the conversations if you listen hard enough. What would happen if we didn’t have a sales team? Can we go 100% on line? Will customers see us as more efficient, cheaper, modern?
“Supercharging Sales means delivering bottom line growth, excellent customer focused solutions and after sales service which enhances re-buy. It means working with technology and not being replaced by it.”Barry Hilton, Managing Director, Mercuri International UK Ltd
It means, life A.L. requires a complete reboot of the sales approach from strategy to performance metrics, boardroom to field sales and telesales floor. It involves all of us, together. The APPG Report Supercharging Sales is a fantastic wake up call to the profession but particularly to boardrooms. Without a direct connection to your oxygen source – your customers, your organization won’t survive. Sales provides it and although technology is now playing a huge part in the process, a reinvigorated human sales resource is what will truly underpin sustainable success.
“More people must be recruited into the B2B sales profession to meet demand. The Kickstart programme, traineeships and apprenticeships should be used to recruit people into B2B selling in SMEs. On-the-job learning is the most effective way to gain skills. JobCentres and careers advisers should inform people about retraining in sales.”
“The UK has a skills shortage in B2B selling, intensified by the pandemic.”The APPG Professional Sales Report
The report’s three key recommendations
1. Recognise the importance to the economy of B2B selling
2. Encourage more entrants into the B2B sales profession at SMEs
3. Promote higher sales skills and uptake of digital sales technology