Sales profession at inflexion point with imminent launch of apprenticeships
17th May 2018 | Journal Of Sales Transformation
With England’s Department for Education due to ink its approval of the country’s first degree-level B2B sales apprenticeship programme at the end of June, the profession stands at an inflexion point, according to Phil Linter, Degree Apprenticeship Lead at global sales performance improvement specialist Consalia.
“We are on the cusp of formally being able to offer the B2B sales degree apprenticeship,” he declares.
The company is also announcing a partnership with Leeds Trinity University to provide course content, joining long-standing partner Middlesex University. The move enables Consalia to offer a national solution for level 6 sales apprenticeships via regional partners in the north and south of England.
“Both have been selected for their expertise in delivering high-quality work-based learning programmes.”
Ready for professional sales development
Despite minimal marketing by Consalia and the two universities, the programmes already have around 100 students and some 40 companies ready to sign up, Linter claims. The first programme gets under way on 25 September in the south, followed by a programme in the north starting 8 October; there will be a further programme in the south beginning late November.
“To me this shows a shift in the readiness for professional sales development. Of course, one can attribute demand to employers being keen to access levy funds, but it also demonstrates that the apprenticeship initiative can deliver a difference to the sales profession,” Linter says.
The apprenticeship route into the sales profession career is starting to highlight a wealth of diverse opportunities for career-seekers via an expanding number of government, recruitment and supplier websites. However, setting up the apprenticeships and obtaining government buy-in has not been straightforward, with a complex approvals process around standards and end-point assessment plus negotiations on funding allocation.
Linter predicts that as sales apprenticeships gain in popularity there will be a knock-on effect across the wider profession. “Apprenticeships will fast become a benchmark for ethical and professional sales practice, both for employers and customers,” he suggests. Moreover, having a structured and rigorous work-based learning programme in place for employees will force sales managers to work hard to stay a step ahead of their subordinates.
Apprenticeship programmes may also start to address the issue of diversity in sales by attracting more women into the profession. “Our first programme has seen a 60-40 male-female split, highlighting the potential for apprenticeships to address the key issue of gender diversity in sales,” he concludes.