Press release, June 21 2016.

  • Sales biggest hero in retail (34 per cent) but slips to third place across all industries (24 per cent)
  • Procurement languishing joint last with HR on nine per cent

Sales skills are overlooked and undervalued in all industries except retail, according to new research from Huthwaite International. The YouGov study asked business decision makers from a range of sectors which departments they considered the ‘heroes’ in businesses. While sales came out top for those in retail on 34 per cent, across all industries surveyed sales slipped to third place (24 per cent), behind research and development on 32 per cent and production and manufacturing on 26 per cent.

Tony Hughes, CEO at sales and negotiation experts Huthwaite International, comments: “Businesses operating in the retail sector understand that sales are crucial, but other industries still don’t seem to give credit where credit is due. Possibly they believe that services and products just sell themselves, which is certainly not the case.

Skilled salespeople build value for the product or service they sell, working with customers to understand their needs and how these needs can best be served. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, but a tailored and consultative effort that is essential to success in all industries.

At the other end of the scale, procurement and HR came joint last, each being named as heroes of businesses by only nine per cent of respondents.

Mr Hughes continues: “Procurement continues to suffer from a serious reputation problem when it comes to how it’s viewed by the rest of the business. Research we conducted in 2013 showed that procurement’s image within the business is negative overall and it seems not much has improved over the last few years.

Sales can make their own lives easier – and also help to make procurement look good to their colleagues – by ensuring that they clearly articulate the customer benefits of what they are selling and ensure at least some of these benefits are expressed in terms that enhance the value to procurement.

Also, by involving procurement earlier in the process, salespeople can help them communicate the value of what is being sold to the wider business. The closer salespeople can get to the procurement department the better, both for salespeople to do their job and for procurement to improve their image in the business,” finishes Mr Hughes.

Other departments ranked in the research include IT, which came in fourth place with 19 per cent, followed by the CEO and marketing and communications, both on 16 per cent. Finance and accounting came in with 12 per cent of respondents naming them heroes, above procurement and HR on nine per cent.

 

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