DavidThorpDavid Thorp, the Sales Leadership Alliance's general manager
About 50 of the UK’s top sales and business development directors saw the birth of a new body dedicated to lifting standards of professionalism and enhancing education and career opportunities for sales professionals.
The launch of the Sales Leadership Alliance (SLA) in London was seen as a move by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) to return to its sales roots when it was formed more than a century ago.
Introducing the SLA, general manager David Thorp admitted the institute had taken a wrong turn in the 1960s when it believed sales would, ultimately, be merged into the broader marketing arena.
He told the launch conference at the Grosvenor House Hotel: “As we know now, this did not happen. So the launch of the SLA is the institute going back to its roots to support the sales professional.”
Thorp outlined that the SLA’s planned events will showcase professionals at the forefront of good sales practice or those actively engaged in pushing the boundaries of knowledge of the subject.
Visionaries like the celebrated author Neil Rackham who is a patron of the SLA.
He said many successful senior directors have expressed a desire to get involved in lifting standards of professionalism and promoting moves to have nationally recognised qualifications accessible to every young person considering sales as a career.
Thorp added: “Many fellows of the institute have expressed a desire to give something back to the profession and help raise the standards of practice and professionalism so that coming into a sales career will be seen as something to be proud of.”
He highlighted the need for professional sales standards in the wake of recent miss-selling scandals, such as those in the pharmaceutical and insurance/banking sectors, which have contributed to misconceptions of the sales industry. This, coupled with the demands of changing market dynamics, means that the ongoing commitment to spearheading best practice and ethical standards is more important than ever.
He said: “We recognise the need for the sales profession to have a body that has credibility among senior practitioners. Those salespeople who work in the industry will know how critical good selling is to the wealth creation of UK industry and the economy.
“The Sales Leadership Alliance will not only support the large proportion of activity in which CIM already has strong sales involvement through their employer engagement, but will also form an ongoing commitment to enhancing professional standards and championing best market practice for the sector.”
For more details of the SLA’s policies and events visit www.salesleadershipalliance.co.uk