Skills in sales and the organisation of sales activities have a major impact on the competitive edge of all different types of organisation across all sectors, as well to the economy as a whole. For sales occupations at this level there is an emphasis on ‘soft skills’ such as networking and relationships so as to build long-term relationships rather than one-off transactions. In addition, there is an importance attached to developing skills in relation to organising and managing sales activities as well as such things as budgeting and planning.
Sales and telesales occupations account for the employment of 89,000 individuals in Wales. The Higher Apprenticeship in Sales is aimed at those employed in managerial sales occupations. Although there are no statistics to show the extent of employment in these types of occupations specifically, in Wales 365,000 people are employed within Managers and Senior officials, and Professional occupational fields. These statistics indicate that it is likely there is a substantial amount of individuals employed in sales managerial occupations.
‘The Employer Skills Survey 2013: Wales Report’ revealed that Managers and Professional occupations were the occupation groups most affected by the need to up-skill. Furthermore, it was outlined that 47 per cent of those employed as Managers were the group least likely to have received training in the previous 12 months. In addition to this, the report shows that the main cause of the skills gap within Sales and Customer Service occupations was that training was only partially completed.
Therefore, there is a great need to improve and reduce the skills gap within managerial sales occupations as it impacts heavily on competition, and organisational productivity and profitability.
Sales employers have indicated that within the profession there is a need to:
- Promote the use of qualifications to update skills and build the professional status of Sales as a career, as a means of raising the professionalism of Sales
- Widen the availability of accredited training to meet the challenges of international competition and increase employee retention
- Address the skills needed by future sales professionals, including strategic account management, commercial/business awareness and business development skills, as well as the soft skills of time management, IT and communication, including negotiating and influencing skills
- Develop staff with the skills required rather than relying on recruiting qualified and experienced sales professionals from outside the UK
This framework is designed to meet the needs outlined above for employers of all sizes across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. It will attract new talent into sales and will help to up skill the workforce to meet employer skills priorities. There is a strong need for highly skilled Sales Managers in Wales in order to give a competitive edge in an increasingly competitive and diverse international market.
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