Sales and Marketing Career Success Begins With Evidential Training

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The number of Marketing jobs available has risen to 500,000 reveals Beth Rogers, Programme Manager of Sales Management at Portsmouth Business School and Chair of the Sales Standards Steering Group, in the September newsletter edition of the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Technology Group (CIMTech International). With ever increasing competition for marketing positions, created by increased numbers of students and others looking to either enter or develop their marketing careers, she feels that more people should be looking at a career in sales.

Even though there are 750,000 people working in the UK who says that sales plays a part in their roles, sales managers continue to report a shortage in skilled salespeople. She believes, too, that sales can be a good starting point for anyone wanting to later develop a career in marketing management. Sales would help candidates to provide employers with evidence that they can build relationships with their colleagues and customers, set and meet targets.

With so many unqualified marketers working within the industry, training and qualifications provided by highly audited training centres, coupled with a personal audit trail of experience, can help any sales and marketing candidate to get ahead of others with whom they may be competing. It is also important to know how to present your message in the right fashion to the right audience, even at an interview stage. From an employer’s point of view all of this would make it easier to find the right candidate, develop his or her career and provide the right training to further develop their potential.

Like the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (ISMM), the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) puts training at the forefront of career development. Through Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes the CIM hopes to demonstrate to employers that its students and members have the right qualities to achieve success within marketing as a career, both personally and for their employers.

One of the key challenges for marketing is demonstrating how, through accepting greater accountability, the members of the profession have earned the right to sit at the Board table, and demonstrate how and why it should be leading the charge rather than be an after thought. This can be achieved through evidential training and experience. At an operational level, marketing managers need to accept the importance of providing meaningful metrics and evidence of marketing’s impact on their businesses. Marketing will then be accepted as a major contributor to the generation of sales revenues, and not simply as a cost to the business.

CIM Thames Valley’s new chairperson and CIMTech’s spokesperson for Evidential Marketing, Andrew Dugdale, recognizes the importance of evidential training programmes, audited training centres like the CIM, its branch events and its branded courses. His company, Intellectual Capital Development Limited (ICDL), of which he is Chairman, has developed a Skills and Experience matrix, to help companies like Carillion, BT and Streamserve to uncover individual and organisational weaknesses. It can then be used to suggest the right type of training and development for individuals, teams and individuals involved in sales and marketing.

The backbone of the matrix, Dugdale believes, is based on the fact that companies should be looking for more strategic returns on their investment, and so career development and CPD, particularly, forms a major component of reducing risk and achieving higher, long-term levels of sales. Rather than the two disciplines being seen as separate and isolated entities, both should be working closely together with marketing helping salespeople to deliver the right message in the right way.

Meanwhile, about the challenges of being CIM Thames Valley’s chair, he said: "Like any organisation, the branch must deliver value to its customers; the members, who have the right to know that we as a team are working in their interests, and that we are accountable for our actions as a committee."

"The committee has worked very hard over the last year or so, and I aim to help each individual member of the committee to gain recognition for their efforts, whilst also continuing to seek for better ways to increase the committees resource bandwidth. This will provide greater benefits for the branch members, and ensure that their CPD needs are met. Training through CPD and other audited methods, to which the CIM is committed, can provide individuals with the right evidence to develop their sales and marketing careers and prove their worth to their employers."

David Hood, CIMTech’s chair, also believes that evidential training schemes like CPD can only continue to demonstrate their value to both individuals and to their companies or organisations if some pre-defined return on investment is attained. Such training schemes should therefore be customer-focused and they should not be too general, Hood says, in his article ‘The Turning Point for Marketing and Sales as a Career’, written for CIMTech’s September newsletter on recruitment and career development:

"CPD should reflect what we need today, tomorrow and the day after to improve profit and be recognized not simply by a membership ‘overlord’, but by those with whom it really matter – the individual, the organisation, the customer. CPD should also be seen as something that can be cross-discipline."

So evidential training is not just about benefiting an individual, it is about developing the inherent creativity of sales and marketing personnel to deliver value to an organisation and its customers. Metrics play an important part in ensuring that an individual can achieve his or her potential. Companies, according to some recent research on the development of Human Sigma which was recently published by the Harvard Business Review, would also achieve more share of wallet from greater customer engagement levels, and this can be attained through better, audited training and the provision of a motivational working environment. You can read more about this in the ISMM’s magazine, ‘Winning Edge’, in October 2005.


Graham Jarvis

Editor and Media Services Consultant

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Andrew Dugdale