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2006 Miller Heiman Sales Performance Study
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Home > News > July 2004 > 16-Jul-2004

Sales – a decisive element of business success

Research by the Government’s Marketing and Sales Standards Setting Body (MSSSB) reveals sales as a fast growing profession.

The increasing focus on customers by both commercial and public organisations means that sales is now one of the UK’s largest professional groups with 766,000 full time sales people, up 8% from 710,000 just en years ago. In addition there are 2,525,500 employed in occupations within which selling is a primary responsibility.

Research by the MSSSB’s consultants, Benson Payne Ltd, has confirmed the size, profile and importance of this professional group and key results include:

  • In the UK there are now more sales people than teachers, ICT professionals, engineers, doctors and accountants
  • In today’s global economy, whilst sales plays a hugely influential role in the commercial success for the UK’s leading companies, the majority of companies, by not using Sales effectively, still fail to realise their full potential
  • There is considerable diversity within the sales role with many organisations finding it hard to define
  • There is a growing need for occupational standards, in order to enable businesses to more clearly focus upon their training needs.

This initial review has also established the considerable interest in achieving best practice standards in relation to the behaviours and skills required of the modern sales professional.

The MSSSB was established by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) in September 2001 in order to represent the needs of industry and commerce. It is working with key stakeholders to define and prescribe best practice and the resulting Standards will form the basis for all Government funding of sales related courses.

Commenting on the research results, Richard Berry, Chairman of the Sales project, said: "The last stage of this important initiative confirmed the decisive value of the Sales profession and the need for national benchmarks to support the profession. The next stage will aim to meet the challenge and produce occupational standards that meet the needs of today’s practitioners and their businesses".

The research phase of the initiative is now complete and the next stage is to develop standards of best sales practice. This challenge will be carried out by the selected consultants, Marketing Knowledge Ltd.

Once the standards are ready, they will be made available to organisations for use in:

  • Selling effectively
  • Confirming the capabilities required for effective selling
  • Identifying existing capabilities and thereby establishing any gaps in the core selling competencies required
  • Ensuring that performance management is focused properly upon rewarding best practice
  • Informing skills development programmes, to ensure that these address well identified sales needs.

The results of the research phase, which also identify the challenges and influences impacting upon the sales profession, are now available from the MSSSB.

For more information visit the MSSSB website.

Please note: Training Reference is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.

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