ICS moves to close IT sales gap


1 April 2005

The Irish Computer Society is to collaborate with the Sales Institute of Ireland to produce a new Certificate in Selling Skills specifically for sales professionals working in the IT sector. The announcement of the new qualification, to be officially launched in September, follows the recent Enterprise Strategy Group report, which identified, among other things, a lack of adequately qualified Irish sales personnel in the IT industry.

According to Jim Friars, CEO of the ICS, the Sales Institute of Ireland has been working on a generic sales certificate for the last two years. The ICS approached the institute a year ago with a view to putting the course into context for IT sales professionals.

The course itself consists of eight core and four additional optional modules of which participants must choose two. The core modules are: the history, definition and variety of sales roles; what makes a good salesperson?; selling as a professional activity; buyers and
their motivation; the market and your forecasted share of it; preparing for the sales presentation—a structured approach; sell yourself—the first three minutes; satisfying needs—you and the customer (including upselling). The optional modules are: active prospecting and qualifying prospects; personal goals and managing time; negotiating skills; and, selling by telephone.




The course begins in September and is designed to be completed over a period of nine months. Aimed at people who are already working, total time commitment is estimated at 54 hours. This includes online study of around 15 hours, tutor-led workshops totalling 20 hours, and two assignments, which, between them, are expected to take 12 hours to complete. Other elements include online activity and quizzes. According to Friars, the facilitated workshops for the IT sales course will be held in the ICS and will be led by IT sales professionals with relevant product and channel knowledge.

External audits will be carried out by the Institute of Commercial Management (UK). Successful students will receive a Certificate in Selling Skills, awarded by the Sales Institute of Ireland, and accredited by the Institute of Commercial Management. The standard cost of the programme is €1,595. Members of the ICS and the Sales Institute of Ireland will pay €1,375.

‘A definite need has been identified and we hope that we’re going to start addressing that with this qualification,’ says Friars. ‘People will probably need to be encouraged by their companies to take part. Many indigenous and medium-sized IT companies in Ireland don’t
have a sales focus and need to be more disciplined in their approach. The sales skill-set has been underrated here.’ Friars says that the ICS has traditionally tended to focus on delivering technical skills, but will be offering more soft skills and business related
training. In addition to this sales certificate, the society will shortly be announcing a leadership training programme. More details from www.ics.ie.


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