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Businesses must upskill staff to boost sales

Nearly 30 percent of surveyed businesses have said their staff need more training to improve their selling skills. Research conducted by Huthwaite Asia Pacific found selling skills outpolled options including non-competitive pricing, product performance and unrealistic targets as the major barrier to meeting sales targets. The study quizzed 885 sales directors, marketing executives and general managers about the biggest internal challenge to reaching sales targets in 2011.

CEO James Fennessy said the results reflected a lack of investment in staff training during the global financial crisis. “Many firms opted to slash their staff training budget during the turmoil of the GFC and while this may have been viewed as unavoidable at the time, our survey results highlight both the after effects of this cost cutting and the urgent need for reinvestment in this area.”

The initial saving has compromised the selling abilities of sales staff, impacting on profit margins going forward. Fennessy suggested that firms that fail to recognise and address the training deficit in their sales staff would find their company at a competitive disadvantage.
A rise in competition was listed as the greatest challenge facing sales staff by 25 percent of respondents. More than 15 percent cited a lack of differentiation between products and services.

The survey targeted senior staff in the finance, information technology, manufacturing, medical, pharmaceutical and professional service industries.

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Jennifer Blake

Jennifer Blake

Jennifer Blake is a staff writer for <i>Dynamic Business</i> magazine. Fascinated with the power of media, she's previously worked for Sky News and <i>The Jakarta Globe</i>. In her time off, she's likely cooking up a storm, haunting vintage stores on King St, Newtown or trawling design blogs for things she can't afford.

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