Edinburgh Napier in sales skills move
Edinburgh Napier has become the first university to set up a sales division to address growing concerns that Scotland is suffering from a sales skills gap.
The university said its new initiative could also help boost the economy.
The division is based at the university's Edinburgh Institute at Craiglockhart Campus.
It will offer accredited training for sales professionals and student courses in selling and sales management.
The division will also provide consultancy services to Scottish small and medium enterprises.
Students who are studying a business-related course will be able to gain academic credits in sales as part of their degree.
Napier is working on the initiative with Sandler Sales Training Scotland and The Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales in the United States.
Sales division director Tony Douglas said: "It is widely recognised in the Scottish business community that the sales skills required to meet today's business challenges are lacking in this country.
"In contrast, American business schools have been leading the way in this field for the last 10 years.
"We need to banish the reputation of dodgy salesmen and recognise the essential role sales skills play in making a business profitable."
Mike Rutterford, co-founder of Archangel Investments, is among a number of high-profile business figures who have backed the sales division launch.
He said: "Scotland is great at inventing things but lousy at selling them and until now there's been no mechanism to address that professionally.
"The lifeblood of any successful business is sales, but people are scared to use the word and think it's a bit grubby. But at the end of the day everything we consume other than the air we breathe is directly being sold to us."
David Watt, executive director for the Institute of Directors in Scotland said the sales division was highly welcome.
He added: "There is little doubt that in recent years, selling is one of the skills that has been under significant scrutiny in the Scottish business arena.
"With the addition of the competitiveness within global markets, it is all the more important that Scottish businesses benefit from education programmes to help close the country's sales skill gap."