The sales and telesales workforce is one of the largest professional groups in the UK today, employing around 7% of the UK workforce, or just over two million people. In addition, there are many more non-specialists for whom selling is an essential part of their job role – particularly within the four million small and medium sized enterprises in the UK.
Sales and telesales employers have indicated that within the profession there is a need to:
- Develop recognised entry routes into the sales and telesales profession
- Develop programmes to ensure that entrants are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary for today’s sophisticated sales and telesales environment
- Promote the use of qualifications to update skills and build the professional status of sales and telesales as a career, as a means of raising the professionalism of sales and telesales
- 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
- Capitalise on advances in technology for telesales to offer a cost effective way of reaching customers
- Make the profession attractive to both those considering it as a career, and for those already within it, with clear opportunities for development and progression routes
- Address the lack of ‘career sales people’ caused by graduate entry into business to business sales who then move on quickly, by increasing the skills and attractiveness of non-graduate sales people who are more likely to stay in the profession in the long term
- Develop staff with the skills required rather than relying on recruiting qualified and experienced sales professionals from outside the UK.
Whilst many sales and telesales employers provide in-house training for their staff, traditionally there has not been a requirement for accredited qualifications amongst sales professionals, either for entry into or for progression within the profession.
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 telesales and will help to up skill the workforce to meet employer skills priorities.
Intermediate apprentices are likely to work in job roles such as trainee sales advisors, sales consultants or sales executives. Advanced apprentices will work in job roles such as sales/telesales team leaders, sales/telesales supervisors or customer relationship managers.
Tasks undertaken by apprentices will vary depending on the level and sector in which they are employed. Tasks may include selling face-to-face or by telephone, processing sales orders, supporting customers in obtaining finance for purchases, generating and qualifying sales leads, meeting after sales needs, making presentations, supervising sales or telesales staff, negotiating and closing sales, obtaining and analysing sales & competitor data, pricing for sales promotions, developing sales and customer service plans, assessing credit status of customers, contributing to the development and launch of new products and building and retaining sales relationships.
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