News: Report

MPs form new all-party group for professional sales

11 February 2020  
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Tuesday 11 February 2020

Sales leaders have met MPs at Westminster to reconvene a new-look parliamentary group, focused on professional selling.

(L-R) Mark Pawsey MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Professional Sales; Stephen Kerr, former MP and chair; Kelly Tolhurst MP, transport minister; Gillian Keegan MP, education minister; John McNally MP; former MP Bill Grant at the launch, in October 2019, of the APPG report into the selling power of SMEs.


The cross-party group, which is reforming for the start of the new parliamentary session after the general election in December, was set up to improve recognition by parliament and industry of the importance of sales and its impact on the UK economy; to promote and advance sales as a profession and to boost the success of British industry, especially in international trade.

The Westminster group, known in full as the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Professional Sales, has a new chair, Mark Pawsey, the Conservative MP for Rugby and Bulkington in the Midlands.

The group is supported by the APS which provides its secretariat and research. It was founded by APS fellow Stephen Kerr during the last parliament, when Stephen was MP for Stirling.

Stephen, a champion of the sales profession, has spent more than 30 years working in sales and firmly believes Britain’s national sales capability is key to the UK's global success. Stephen is continuing to work with the APS, liaising with MPs to make sure the sales profession has a strong voice within parliament.

Under Stephen's chairmanship, the APPG recruited 60 MPs as supporters, making it one of the larger parliamentary groups, and held an inquiry on how sales can stimulate a better economic performance by SMEs.

At the first meeting of the new APPG on Tuesday 11 February, MPs discussed the subject areas for their next report to Parliament, as well as registering a new cohort of MPs to continue this important work.

The first inquiry report by the APPG, published in October, studied the selling power of small and medium-sized enterprises. The group took evidence from business leaders, academics and economists and found that Britain was critically short of professional salespeople with the right leadership, negotiation and digital skills to win deals in new marketplaces.

The report sets out 24 recommendations that can be condensed into four key changes Britain needs to make:

  • 1 Learn: study sales ethics and techniques in schools and colleges and create sales research centres at universities.
  • 2 Train: help SMEs to develop sales skills, to manage sales better, and to embrace digital sales technologies.
  • 3 Respect: recognise sales as a profession with a standards body established by Royal Charter to ensure high ethical standards.
  • 4 Lead: appoint a sales tsar to take responsibility for driving change, and for ensuring that this vital part of the economy is understood at the heart of government.

As British businesses prepare to win deals in new global marketplaces, following our exit from the European Union, there could not be a better time to concentrate on Britain’s ability to sell.

Click here to read the full report.