Start-up SPS to train youth in sales

At a time when India is witnessing large scale unemployment of close to 7.9%, Sales Pro Shiksha (SPS), a start-up, has unveiled plans to skill graduates by imparting education in sales and placing them in companies that are facing a paucity of quality sales professionals. 

“Our vision is to professionalise the sales sector. We want to educate and train fresh employable youth to make them world class sales professionals which will bring them on par with other respected professions,” said Pradeep Panda, Founder & CEO, SPS.

The start-up will commence operation starting with Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities in the first phase before foraying into metros and large cities.

“As per a CMIE report the higher unemployment rate is in Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities. This indicates that India doesn’t produce sufficient numbers of decent jobs for graduates. Besides, 90% jobs require skills and 53% graduates don’t have skills for jobs,” he added. “This is why sales pro is stepping into provide them jobs in sales sector whether it is retail sales or B2B/B2C sales across industry,” he further said adding that in India the retail/ sales sector was one of the major employers of skilled workforce.

SPS, he said, will provide two courses – a six months course on Certified Sales Professional which will be conducted offline across India. The course will have on the job training and after pass out the candidates will join as a sales trainee in various companies. The second is Certified Sales Associate, a three-month course, which will be offered both online and offline. Such candidates after pass out may join as sales associate at distributors or retail sales associate. 

“The demand for good quality sales professions is high, but the supply is very low, resulting in a very big gap. An educated and highly motivated sales graduate may join as sales trainee but can rise up to the level of CEO because these are the people who get revenue for the company,” Mr. Panda said. “But unfortunately, many parents want their children to get a coveted job in the government or in corporate sector. The focus has been never on acquiring skills and competencies which are relevant,” he said.

The industry, he said, is also in the blame game and complaining but doing nothing to work in tandem with colleges to hire the desired talent.

“Today the situation is such that the industry and academicians live in different worlds. The sales profession is never treated as a suitable career option among youths and their parents. Corporates have no options to recruit quality sales trainees,” Mr. Panda said. “But the irony is that 67% of the CEOs are from sales background. Today a good fundamental sales curriculum is missing. Thus good professional sales people are difficult to find. Therefore, having identified the problem, I left my corporate career to bridge this gap,” Mr. Panda added.

He said SPS would bridge the gap between the academicians and corporates by providing a professional course to students who are not interested, not selected, or not able to afford mainstream courses like engineering and medicine. “We will identify employable graduates who have been excluded from educational institutions that charge high fees and offer them a professional sales course for ₹50,000,” Mr. Panda said. “Corporate houses, NGOs can invest their CSR funds to sponsor poor students for this course which can change their lives,” he added.

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