Top 3 sales issues

1st July 2015 |   Nick de Cent

We asked business thought-leaders from different sectors to tell us about the three sales issues that are top of mind for them at the moment.

Where is the science of the art? To me, the single biggest issue facing sales right now is our lack of knowledge of ‘what’ works in sales, ‘how’ it works, and maybe most importantly, ‘why’ it works. It seems everyone has a story about how to be successful, but few if any of those stories refer to any real scientific knowledge.

Nick Lee

[tint-panel-upfront]

The academic

Nick Lee
Professor of Sales and Management Science

“Where is the science of the art? To me, the single biggest issue facing sales right now is our lack of knowledge of ‘what’ works in sales, ‘how’ it works, and maybe most importantly, ‘why’ it works. It seems everyone has a story about how to be successful, but few if any of those stories refer to any real scientific knowledge. We need more science to underpin what we like to call the ‘art’ of sales – without this, we are always guessing.

“Where is ‘sales’ in the public sphere? Sales is also pretty absent from the public understanding of economic success, or as we say ‘UK Plc’. I see people advising politicians about industry, retail, and commerce all the time – some people making a career out of it in fact. But, without sales, where does that leave industry? Sales is just as important as manufacturing to a successful economy, but where are the major figures in sales – would the public even understand the importance of sales? Right now, I doubt it.

“Where is sales education? Linked to all of this, where are the salespeople of the future coming from? How many sales courses are there at UK universities and colleges? Go find out, and then compare that number to how many marketing courses there are. But, how many young businesspeople go into sales-related jobs compared with marketing? There’s something wrong here. Without strong sales education, students are never even exposed to the exciting opportunities available in sales. Worse, when they almost inevitably end up in a sales role – or working with salespeople – they have no idea what to do.”

Nick Lee is Professor of Sales and Management Science at Loughborough University School of Business and Economics.

[/tint-panel-upfront]

[subscribe-panel]

Founder of the International Journal of Sales Transformation | + posts

Nick de Cent is the founder and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Sales Transformation. A business journalist for over 35 years, he has been covering sales since the mid-1980s and has been a strong advocate of enhancing its professional status. He has freelanced for the Financial Times and edited the Sales Performance supplement in The Times. He also writes and edits extensively on behalf of corporate clients, including a Big 3 management consultancy and a top four global executive search firm.
Contact: editor@journalofsalestransformation.com.