Krypton Community College and a Degree in Sales

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I did an article some time ago on Sales Certification and what that might mean to a sales professional. And just the other day, I read in Seth Godin’s newsletter about a new project he is promoting – Krypton Community College. I put these two together in my head and guess what I came up with? Another topic for a HUB article!

It’s a little early to know what this KCC concept really is and if it will work, but it did get me to thinking about distance/e-learning and its application to the sales profession. Clearly, sales training is a huge e-learning business with hundreds of providers pushing every conceivable sales training technique and process and gimmick. But I’m not talking about training – I’m talking about education, and they are not the same thing.

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The Professional Salesperson’s View of a College Education

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No College Degree

Degree? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Degree.

I followed a LinkedIn discussion thread about sales education recently and I came away surprised and disappointed. The thread was in a professional sales group and the contributors were presumably all sales professionals, were presumably interested in their profession because they are active on LinkedIn, and were presumably intelligent and successful in their jobs.

The question, paraphrased, asked about what your sales education should be. Not training, mind you, but college or university education. Here are the metrics from that thread:

  • There were nineteen comments in addition to the original post and the follow-on comments made by the poster.
  • There were sixteen distinct commenters.
  • Not one of the comments suggested the need for college or university level education, although one came dangerously close.
  • Thirteen of the comments said, in varying degrees of intensity, that a college degree was a waste of time for sales professionals.

Those who saw no need for a college education all called on the school of hard knocks and street smarts as the only academic requirements. They cited sales success stories and capabilities and knowledge that could be acquired without ever setting foot on a campus, unless you were there to sell something.

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Teaching Sales Methodology at the Business School Sao Paolo

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Business School Sao Paolo

Five years ago, on a trip to Canada, I met Keith Thompson, Salesways founder and Chairman, and author of the book Sales Automation Done Right. After that meeting, I realized that my career as a professional salesperson was built based on empirical knowledge, field practice and the courses that companies I worked for offered me.

Back in Brazil, with the book in my hands, the first thing I did was to visit some universities and business schools to understand how the sales discipline was handled. Recently, talking to some teachers, I heard that “it was much easier to learn about sales in specialized external courses out there”, as mentioned by Philip Broughton, in the introduction to his book The Art of the Sale (2012, Penguin Press).

Walter Friedman, in his book Birth of a Salesman (2004, Harvard College), noted that “while business schools were still offering some type of instruction in sales management, usually in larger contexts of marketing courses, they do not offer programs aiming at sales skills.” Also according to Friedman, these current courses, as it was at the beginning of the last century, seemed more suitable to the popular “how to” or “memories of a successful salesman” books than with the objective of training professionals under the academic point of view.

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Sales Education: The Sales Course Catalog #2

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Education Ignorance

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article describing a fictitious course catalog from a fictitious college for a fictitious degree of Bachelor of Arts in Professional Sales. The reason for all the fiction was that there is no such thing! That is an exaggeration – there are several schools offering such a degree. Several, out of 4,500 accredited colleges and universities in the U.S.

I posted my own curriculum for such a degree, and started describing some of the sales-centric courses that I feel demand attention. These included Introduction to Professional Sales, The History of Sales, Sales Methodology, and Sales Automation. Today I’ll continue that effort with four other courses from my fictitious curriculum.

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Sales Education: The Sales Course Catalog

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Education Of Younth

In a previous post, after lamenting the sorry state of university-level sales education, I posted my own curriculum for a bachelor’s degree in sales. In the next few articles on the subject, I’ll create the course catalog for the strictly sales-focused courses. If I can do it, why can’t Florida State?

You remember college, don’t you? Parties and beer and road trips and, oh yeah, academics.

Your first introduction to college academics was the course catalog, the listing of every possible class you could take from required 100-level introductions to advanced seminars and independent study programs. This was a daunting book, right up there with Ulysses and Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei, and Particles.

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Bachelor of Arts In Sales

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Here it is – my curriculum for a Bachelor of Arts in Sales Degree. I built the list from three sources: my own little brain, other blogs, and college curriculums.

See what you think. Move them around. Add new ones, delete other ones, describe the course content. Whatever. Just THINK about it and what YOU CAN DO to make our profession a degree program. Then maybe send it to your state university or local community college or alma mater with prints of my two previous articles decrying the state of sales education.

Sales Courses
These are 15 courses directly covering sales topics. Not other topics including sales, but just sales! From these, students would have some required (below) and some elective.

• Introduction to Sales
• Intermediate Sales
• Advanced Sales Techniques

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Seminole Selling

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Seminoles

By my current count, there are sixteen 4-year, accredited colleges and universities in the U.S. offer that offer an academic degree in sales. (You can find a list of these plus a few foreign schools plus other schools with some sales-related programs here.) I looked through these schools for one to pick on and selected Florida State University. “Pick on” wasn’t how I started this post, “focus on” was. However, when I focused, I had some questions, and the answers rapidly devolved into “pick on.”

I’m sure FSU’s program is great. They have about 100 Professional Selling students studying at any given time, they have facilities and faculty and partners, they do research, they participate in competitions, they offer internships and special projects, etc. They even have the FSU Selling Institute. A genuine institute!

But they have four, count them, FOUR, courses focused on selling. And one of those is a composite of one or two of the other sales courses plus an internship or competition or project. So they really have three courses. THREE!

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Sales Education 101

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Graduation

Originally published December 14, 2012.

We’re re-publishing it now because it’s New Year’s Eve, and how many of you are really paying attention? For those who are, consider this a refresher because the second installment in our Sales Education series is coming up on Friday.

There will be more than 1.7 million students receiving a college degree in the U.S. this year. According to the Institute for Sales Education, more of them will enter sales than all other professions combined.

Wow.

There are about 4,500 accredited colleges and universities in the U.S. offering the degrees those students will earn. Sixteen of them offer a degree with a major in sales.

Again, WOW.

How do we reconcile these figures? Did those sixteen schools graduate the over 850,000 students who went into sales as a profession, awarding them a Bachelor of Sales degree? Is there even such a thing? I imagine the 4,000 plus schools that don’t even offer sales courses think that sales is a BS profession.

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Sales Education 101

Written by on . Posted in College & University, Sales Education No Comments

There will be more than 1.7 million students receiving a college degree in the U.S. this year. According to the Institute for Sales Education, more of them will enter sales than all other professions combined.

Wow.

There are about 4,500 accredited colleges and universities in the U.S. offering the degrees those students will earn. Sixteen of them offer a degree with a major in sales.

Again, WOW.

How do we reconcile these figures? Did those sixteen schools graduate the over 850,000 students who went into sales as a profession, awarding them a Bachelor of Sales degree? Is there even such a thing? I imagine the 4,000 plus schools that don’t even offer sales courses think that sales is a BS profession.

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