Despite their often negative depiction in popular press and recent stories about mis-selling, the UK’s salespeople are concerned about principles, ethics and accountability – according to a YouGov survey commissioned by on-demand sales compensation and sales performance management provider Xactly.
A principled 55 per cent of survey respondents said they would leave a job because they had issues with the product or service they were selling.
Of the 196 sales professionals surveyed almost a third (32 per cent) said they would leave because they felt colleagues were behaving unethically. Women were found to be slightly more likely than men to leave a sales job as a result of behaviour they believed to be unethical (58 per cent vs. 53 per cent).
The research explored the extent to which today’s salespeople consider themselves to be more or less ethical than the previous generation. 45 per cent of respondents born before 1978 (‘Generation X’) considered that their generation are more ethical than those born afterwards (‘Generation Y’). This compares to only 10% of ‘Generation Y’ respondents surveyed who thought ‘Generation X’ were more ethical.
Christopher Cabrera, CEO, Xactly commented, “Selling underpins business competitiveness – it’s a role many of us play at some point in our lives. So why would those who have chosen sales as a career be any less ethical than other professions? In fact, salespeople are even more accountable for their actions because their performance is often directly linked to compensation and therefore tightly monitored.”
Indeed, British salespeople appear unphased by the need for accountability and transparency. Just over two-fifths (43 per cent) of those surveyed said they would find total transparency - with their personal progress made visible to colleagues - motivational. However, the survey showed a small but significant number of respondents (6 per cent) felt people will view their role more negatively after the outcry about CEO and banker bonuses.
Cabrera continues, “This research shows us, far from fitting the stereotype of doing anything to achieve a sale, salespeople are more ethical than they are given credit for. Given the hugely important role they play within an organisation it is important to recognise and reward the work they do correctly and consistently.”
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 196 adults working in sales roles. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21st - 25th May 2012. The survey was carried out online.