PPP unveiled to teach software CEOs how to sell

18 Mar 2003

A public private partnership involving Enterprise Ireland, FÁS and the Irish Software Association (ISA) has been launched to tackle the growing realisation that Irish software companies lack the vital, yet complex, sales skills required when selling to the international market.

Over the past year, a growing realisation that Irish software firms fail miserably when negotiating major software deals in US boardrooms has caused considerable concern. The programme is aimed at boosting the international sales capability of Irish software industry CEOs and follows a report commissioned by the ISA, which found that 80pc of software CEOs believe that developing international sales skills is crucial to the future development of their companies and the industry at large.

Entitled Sales STAR (Strategies and Tactics to Accelerate Revenue), the programme commences on 27 March and is limited to 20 CEO places. Involving international and Irish speakers, the course facilitates maximum networking and the opportunity to learn from peer CEOs.

Enterprise Ireland CEO Dan Flinter highlights the issue. “The lack of international sales and marketing experience, particularly at CEO level is severely hampering the growth of the indigenous software sector.

“If the industry is to remain competitive and grow, then professional sales and marketing expertise is a must,” Flinter adds.

The ISA-commissioned study found that Irish software CEOs are under greater pressure to deliver sales and boost revenue. “Sales and marketing is now seen as the life blood of companies,” says ISA director Kathryn Raleigh. “Our study finds that in the current environment, most CEOs are focused on the next quarter revenues, much less so than on the long term.”

One of the speakers on the programme is Iona chairman, Chris Horn, who says: “This programme should be considered by the CEO of every emerging company. Ireland has always had a good reputation for the quality of its technology. We must start to match that with the quality of our selling on global markets.”

By John Kennedy

Pictured: at the launch of a new public private partnership initiative to
boost the global sales expertise of Irish technology CEOs were (from left) Donal Daly (Irish Software Association), Rody Molloy (director general, FÁS) and Dan Flinter (CEO, Enterprise Ireland)