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.
In my article Seminole Selling, I picked on Florida State University because it has one of the most prestigious sales education programs. And, as I lamented at length, it offers four courses on sales. Actually three because one of them is a composite of two others. Three courses!
So how can KCC solve this problem or fill this gap? I don’t think it can, but it got me to thinking how the concept could be tweaked to do it.
At KCC, there will be a new course offered every month, covering many diverse subjects and all presented by acknowledged experts. Instead of all the students sitting at home in front of their computers with GoToMeeting running and listening to someone drone on to a camera while showing PowerPoint slides, and raising their virtual hand to type some chat message, students will meet in small groups once a week with a group leader, again expected to be knowledgeable on the subject, and he/she will lead the class.
As Godin says, “We learn best when we learn together.”
So how do you apply this concept to sales professionals and to earning a college-level degree? Through a complete course curriculum, offered in much the same way as Godin proposes, but with two major differences. First, instead of one different course every month with no choice except to enroll or not, you select from a course list and sign up for those that interest you, complete with required courses, electives, levels of difficulty, prerequisites, etc. Just like in college.
And instead of meeting in someone’s home, you meet at work, after work, in a process sanctioned and supported by your employer, and maybe even enhanced with rewards for furthering your education in an subject area that benefits them. This would limit the course offerings as your group would need to all be taking the same course. So in a work environment, there might be only four courses to choose from at any particular time, just like semester offerings at college. Maybe in the 1st quarter you’ll have Introduction to Sales being offered on Monday evening and Sales Methodology 101 being offered Tuesday and Business Accounting on Wednesday and Introduction to Sales Management on Thursday, or whatever. Courses change with the quarter, so you will have maybe 16 different ones to select from each year. Take as many or as few as you like, and eventually earn your degree on your schedule.
This is not going to happen in my lifetime for two reasons. First, it is going to take someone like Godin to step up and organize it and sell it to employers and employees alike and figure out how to monetize it, etc. And second, I’m old.
But maybe someone will take the idea and run with it. Clearly the information age / Internet revolution has changed and is still changing everything. Education will need to change with it.
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