News: Report

MPs and sales leaders to discuss professional selling post lockdown

22 June 2020  
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Monday 22 June 2020

MPs will tomorrow be discussing initiatives to keep the UK selling through the coronavirus crisis.

Sales leaders are welcome to attend and listen in to the virtual meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Professional Sales.

The evening session, on Tuesday 23 June, will be hosted by APPG chair, Mark Pawsey, the MP for Rugby who also sits on the influential Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee - a select committee of the House of Commons.

The agenda focuses on selling challenges and opportunities as the country starts to emerge from lockdown:

  • How business-to-business selling is responding to the current situation, and the impact of Covid-19
  • The likely shape of professional selling in the future and how sellers will adapt to a new way of doing business.
  • Engaging government to help the profession and companies struggling with sales, particularly SMEs.
  • An update on government plans for apprentices and economic growth, looking at initiatives from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and other departments.

The cross-party group on sales is supported by the Association of Professional Sales (APS) which provides its secretariat and research. The group was founded by APS fellow Stephen Kerr during the last parliament, when he was MP for Stirling.

Under Kerr’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.

The first meeting of the re-formed APPG, following December’s general election, took place on Tuesday 11 February 2020. 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 initial inquiry report by the APPG (https://bit.ly/31fEDlN), published last October, studied the selling challenges faced by 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 initiatives:

  • 1 Study sales ethics and techniques in schools and colleges and create sales research centres at universities.
  • 2 Help SMEs to develop sales skills, to manage sales better, and to embrace digital sales technologies.
  • 3 Recognise sales as a profession with a standards body established by Royal Charter to ensure high ethical standards.
  • 4 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.