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Nigel Wilson column.

Byline: By Nigel Wilson

When I returned to the region in 2005 I was fired up about making a real difference to my company's North-East operations.

For anyone in business development, the first port of call is always to look for experienced sales people with a proven track record.

My search took me far beyond where I expected to look, culminating in me effectively importing two sales people to the region ( one from France, the other from London.

I was left asking myself the question, was my inability to find sales people in the region an issue for my company or an issue in the wider market place?

Speaking with other business heads, it swiftly became clear that this was a problem facing a number of companies in the North-East.

Shortly afterwards, I attended the Regional Economic Forum conference, where a simple question was asked, 'How can the region grow?'

In the simplest of terms, the easiest way to achieve this is for us to sell more of what we make.

However, if the region is to grow, it needs a world-class sales force to compete in the global market place.

I began exploring this further with flagship businesses across the North-East.

Each company has its own issues, however fundamentally, each company felt that to achieve their aspirations, they needed a sales force of sufficient numbers, with the right skills and management.

For a big business, building a successful sales force is a costly issue, for a small business it can be the difference between life and death.

If we are to begin to address the region's needs for sales people, there are five key questions we need to find answers to.

Firstly, how do we make selling and sales management a career of choice? How do we ensure that managing directors and sales managers are armed with the skills to recruit and drive a successful sales force? Do we have the correct numbers of sales people in the region? Are they of the right skill level? And how do we benchmark to ensure that sales training companies offer true value for money?

Successful sales teams are a key element of a successful business, if we view the region as a large business, we need to have a highly motivated, quality sales force to ensure that success.
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Article Type:Column
Date:Nov 15, 2006
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