Thursday, October 04 16:11:09
A leading Angel investment syndicate has told the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) Irish Innovation Showcase today that Irish businesses have a clear skills deficit when it comes to selling their products.
They don't have this problem when it comes to selling their companies, which they do too early, according to Aidan O'Driscoll, a Director of Angel investment syndicate Irrus Investments.
In one of the key-note addresses, on 'Access to Funding', at the event, which was hosted today at Dell Ireland's Limerick campus, Mr O'Driscoll said that, while we are good as a race of people at communicating, we are not necessarily good 'sales people'.
Mr O'Driscoll said there is a gaping need, in particular, for a 'Sales' degree course to assist Irish companies, especially when it comes to the export markets.
"A real weakness we see as investors is in the area of sales. I don't believe there is a single sales degree course in Ireland and there should be. That's an indictment. The Irish are excellent communicators but there's a difference between being a good communicator and being able to sell your products and services. Companies really need to have strong sales techniques as one of their key skillsets but unfortunately it is far too often not in their DNA. If you were to put expert sales techniques with the communication skills we seem to naturally have, then you would have the finished 'sales' product."
He continued: "We teach people how to do marketing and PR but we don't teach them specifically how to sell. The exception to this is when it comes to selling our actually companies. But we are too eager to do that in Ireland. As soon as we have a breakthrough with a business here, more often than not we sell the company. What we should be doing is looking at how we can take the company to the next level and into other markets."
Addressing the event, LIT President Dr Maria Hinfelaar said that the third level sector needs to have closer than ever engagement with industry to give them the type of graduates they need.
"During the boom years we lost far too many undergraduates to careers that were not sustainable, not least in the trades. As a result there has been a deficit over recent years of graduates for a number of key sectors, like tech in particular. Lessons have already been learned but one of the biggest ones is that we must as a third level sector to actively listen to business and industry so that we are coming up with the type of graduates our economy needs. Aside from keeping existing companies here, having a ready supply of skilled graduates is one of the key attractions for Foreign Direct Investment as well," she said.