Neil Rackham on sales excellence

7th July 2015 |   Nick de Cent and Chris Alder

Neil Rackham

Neil Rackham © Mark Green

Renowned sales researcher and thought-leader Professor Neil Rackham led two APS-sponsored masterclasses as part of a programme to set up a bursary for graduate students at the University of Portsmouth.

Day 1: What Do We Mean by Sales Excellence?

Market forces tend to be stronger than corporate strategies and, even if you innovate, it is still difficult to compete, according to Professor Neil Rackham. While corporate strategies seek to create differentiation, market forces tend to decrease it. Today, the average company has twice as many competitors as it had five years ago: knowledge is basically free and organisations are under threat from globalisation, the Internet and smart competitors.

In this context, sales models need to adapt, although many salespeople do not know how to make the necessary transition, argues Professor Rackham, who is a visiting professor at Cincinnati, Cranfield, Sheffield and Portsmouth. The new role of the salesperson is all about creating, rather than simply communicating, value. “The salesperson now creates more value than the product,” he told delegates at Portsmouth on 27 April, highlighting the huge demand for salespeople that accompanies a “vast shortage” of talent.