Commercial skills have never been more in demand than now. Therefore, training should be conducted regularly in order to ensure employees possess relevant knowledge at all times.

Human Resource is one of the most expensive and most valuable assets for any business and therefore ensuring that all of your employees have at least basic commercial skills and awareness is crucial. The world is changing and business sectors are blurring, meaning that these essential skills are required across a broad range of roles, management levels and industry types in order to maintain business competitiveness.

Commercial skills benefits

Developing a strong business acumen early on in a career can allow a graduate or junior level employee to get a good feel for what actually makes the business they work for, successful. This broad range of skills will be an ongoing learning exercise, however, they can lead to a much better understanding of the business operations and can even train them to spot areas of opportunity, which in turn will help build their career and success.

Particularly for procurement professionals, supporting stakeholders is at the core of the business focus and therefore commercial capability should be present across the whole scope of the team. Stakeholder relationships can be affected when a manager fails to identify opportunities for growth or their actions result in commercial damage to the business, as these can all result in a loss of profits.

There are absolutely no setbacks to training your whole workforce in commercial skills and awareness. This, in fact, can be a positive activity that can lead them to think more commercially within their everyday roles. It can lead to them spotting mistakes, opportunities, threats from competitors and supporting the business in building up their strengths. Where a whole team or company has developed a good understanding of the commercial landscape, they will often be able to improve their overall contribution to the business, understanding how their role integrates into the wider picture and how they bring value to the company.

Commercial skills for managers

For managers, commercial skills are essential. Without commercial acumen, managers cannot manage results in line with the wider business and industry. They should be able to pick up on who has what skills, strengths and weaknesses in their teams and utilise these people effectively, building partnerships that allow one another to prop the other up with each of their unique skill sets.

Managers are then able to pass on skills such as sales advice, customer service excellence strategies and negotiation tactics, in order to build their team to become overall more commercially aware.

Disregarding commercial skills can actually reduce your business's competitive advantage in the market, meaning that your competitors are more likely to surpass you, poach customers and leave you at a disadvantage. Commercially aware managers are more likely to actively engage with company resources and change them, without prompting from senior management, to improve the capabilities of the company. This could be as simple as restructuring their team, putting individuals forward for further training to build their strengths or identifying skills lacking in their team and finding a way to rectify this.