Are Sales Apprenticeships Suitable for Experienced Sales Professionals?
Sales Training provider Mercuri answers the questions you've always wanted to ask about the Level 4 Sales Apprenticeship Standard
Apprenticeships are suitable for anyone interested in improving their knowledge, skills or behaviours within their current role or, a role they aspire to. Apprenticeships are an effective way to upskill existing staff, and recruit new talent into your business.
The Sales Executive Level 4 standard was released by the Institute for Apprenticeships at the beginning of November 2018.
An apprenticeship standard (as opposed to a framework) is linked directly to a job role and provides learners with a comprehensive suite of skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to be fully competent in their chosen role. The standard enables apprentices to demonstrate full mastery of their role by the end of the learning journey.
The Sales Executive Level 4 Standard lasts up to 18 months (a government requirement for all apprenticeships is that they last a minimum of 12 months) and the government offers £6,000 funding per learner. The funding is available through a co-investment model or through your Apprenticeship Levy fund.
The skills developed during the Sales Executive Level 4 include analytical skills (such as customer needs and customer engagement), sales planning and preparation, how to find and develop new customers, negotiation and closing techniques.2
Here are some of the common questions about the Sales Executive Level 4, answered by Dan Hodgetts, Apprenticeship Consultant and Barry Hilton, Managing Director at Mercuri International (UK) Ltd:
I’ve already completed some sales training - can I still do a sales apprenticeship?
Absolutely. Existing sales training can be a great foundation to a sales apprenticeship. Furthermore, those who already have a degree or NVQ are still eligible for a sales apprenticeship providing there is evidence to show they will benefit from an improved Knowledge, Skills & Behaviours for a specific job role, future employment or career progression.
If there are any particular areas in the apprenticeship that learners want to specialize in or learn more about, additional, free-standing sales courses can be undertaken.
Note for employers: Your apprentice must be working at least 50% of their working hours in England and have the right to work in the UK.
How often would I see my apprenticeship coach?
This varies to suit the needs of the learner and employer. Dan Hodgetts states that as a minimum, a learner can expect monthly contact and support from their trainer. This doesn’t have to be face-to-face, it can be via Skype or on the phone. There will also be on-site meetings as part of the learning process as training is completed on the job and off the job.
How is the apprenticeship taught?
On a modular basis over a period of up to 18 months. At the end, the Association of Professional Sales (or a similar independent End Point Assessment Organization) will verify through a variety of assessment methods, that each learner has acquired the knowledge, skills and behaviours outlined within the standard.
What’s the success rate with the Level 4 Sales Standard?
As the standard was only released in 2018 the statistics on overall success rates have not yet been recorded as the first apprentices to complete this standard will not reach the end of their learning cycle until circa April 2020. However, learner satisfaction rates are measured continually and currently sit at a minimum of 98%.
Is the standard suitable for experienced sales professionals, who have been in their role for a number of years? Or is it too junior?
Barry Hilton, Mercuri MD explains:
“Most people learn most about their jobs in the first year, and so someone with 10 years of experience may very well have one year’s worth of knowledge, repeated ten times. It’s a question that many sales professionals find very challenging to answer. Our belief is that even experienced salespeople will draw huge benefits from having a formal planned, measured and immersive training. I would recommend this standard very much to any salesperson who is in a customer facing role.”
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