Sales; Out of Focus?

I recently had the opportunity to be involved in some workshops for graduates at Aberdeen University. The graduates came from Marketing, Communications and Energy backgrounds, most of them were from outwith the UK.

Over the 2 days there was a lot of dialogue and conversations around Sales and Marketing: Do we need both? How should you approach Sales and Marketing? What is Sales and how does it fit within organisations?

This led to some wonderful debates, discussions and insights into the perception of sales. It was certainly no shock to find almost all the graduates had a poor opinion and lack of understanding of how a good sales person can positively impact an organisation.

Sales is generally seen as the “the unruly child”, “the maverick” within most organisations, a perception, we as sales people, have done much to embed and little to change over the last 20 years or so.

Sales is a great career, yes a career, and if delivered correctly can support companies to grow, both in revenue and with their customers.

Sales needs to be taken seriously as it’s a big part of any companies strategy, with the caveat however, that it be delivered correctly. Too many times I have cringed when, as a customer, I’m being ‘sold to’, lack of listening, too much self-interest , to focused on a single product, little time to talk as the sales person needs to get to the next customer/victim!

No wonder sales has a bad reputation, we are all involved in sales experiences every day, most of which are mediocre at best.

This is why, I’m sure, businesses have labels such as Business Development Manager, Commercial Manager, Key Accounts Manager, as they don’t want to put sales in the title.

Sales is not something for everyone, most people ‘fall’ into sales, with the consequence there is little or no training and support given. There is a lack of emphasis on how difficult it can be to sell, the popular misconception being; if you are confident at talking then you’ll be “good” at sales.

I sincerely hope we can begin to re-build sales reputation and raise the benchmark. Will it be easy? Probably not, but it would certainly be a worthwhile investment for any organisation to commit to.

I’m committed to changing perception one workshop at a time.

What are your sales experiences? Are you turned off by sales people?


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