Irish companies are not good at sales, claims angel investor

4 Oct 2012

Irish businesses have a skills deficit when selling their products but not their companies, which they do too early – that’s according to Aidan O’Driscoll, a director of the Irish angel investment syndicate Irrus Investments, who was speaking at an innovation showcase in Limerick today.

Speaking at the Irish Innovation Showcase, which was organised by Limerick Institute of Technology, O’Driscoll claimed there is a real need for sales degree courses to help Irish companies sell their products and services, especially when it comes to 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,” he said.

While people are taught how to do marketing and PR, O’Driscoll said there’s a gap in terms of teaching people how to sell.

“The exception to this is when it comes to selling our 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,” he added.

LIT’s president Dr Maria Hinfelaar spoke about how Ireland’s third-level sector now needs to engage more closely with industry in order to produce the right type of graduates the Irish economy needs.

“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,” she said.

Sales and marketing image
via Shutterstock

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic