By Daniel Hunter

An absence of professional sales training for both employees and managers is responsible for ineffective business strategies, and is the cause of many companies’ financial difficulties, according to new research by Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School.

The study, conducted by Professor Deva Rangarajan, looked at sales force effectiveness in Europe. Sales managers and employees from a wide range of companies were surveyed. The results revealed a recurring trend of ineffective practice and outdated methods within many sales teams, ensuing financial losses through poorly targeted customer service and badly managed Sales and General Administration costs (SG&A).

The majority of managers surveyed admitted their companies lacked an effective go-to market strategy, and that they did not have the ability or resources to train their staff. Most employees said they felt that there was no clear structure to their work, and no clear path for sales development.

Professor Rangarajan says this could be remedied by introducing a scheme of professionalised sales training to universities. Treating sales as a professional discipline (as with marketing) could revolutionise the way companies operate, and improve services by enhancing the ability of existing staff and applicants.

Professor Rangarajan said, “I firmly believe that a sales person does not have to be born. Sales people can be created as long as they have the right attitude. There is a war for talent in the sales industry, so the need is there to solve this problem, and have graduates that have been professionally trained.”

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