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.
Introduction to Sales Management
This course introduces the student to the functions, requirements, and skills of managing a professional sales team. Sales management does not require great selling skills, but rather a thorough knowledge of sales process, an understanding of interpersonal relations, and business and management skills. Students learn general sales processes and their application to different sales environments along with general business processes, reporting requirements and methods, sales analytics and metrics, management techniques, commercial law and regulation, behavioral development, and mentoring skills.
Internet Marketing & Sales
The digital revolution has impacted sales as it has the rest of commerce and society. The lines between marketing and sales have blurred and new skills are required to function and succeed in this evolving environment. Students will learn the techniques of Internet presence and the requirements of capturing and holding visibility in this tumultuous atmosphere. The importance of statistics and metrics will be examined and techniques to detect, measure, and influence viewership introduced. Students teams will create their own websites and compete for results, learning how to react to constantly changing situations, measure performance, and predict outcomes.
Advanced Sales – Internship
Students who have completed the necessary pre-requisites will participate in a 16-week sales internship program. Students must apply to and be accepted by their selected participating business, and choices include most of the commercial market segments. Students will work with sales professionals in actual sales situations, assisting in preparing materials, developing strategies, implementing tactics, and interacting with customers. Students will also work with sales and business managers to see first-hand the organizational interface and impact the sales organization has within the greater business environment. (Students must have suitable attire and appearance as required by the host companies.)
Sales has long suffered from a reputation for inconsistent ethics. This has hindered progress in improving sales as a legitimate profession by discouraging high-quality individuals from pursuing sales as a career. Ethical challenges are amplified in the sales environment with the immediacy of cause and effect (bribe a buyer and close the sale), the perception of acceptability (finder’s fees, etc.), and the lack of accountability in sales organizations. Business ethics published by companies are often not enforced as a “whatever it takes” mentality dominates in the sales arena of open competition. Students are encouraged to develop a sense of the personal and societal impact of high ethical standards, and the positive impact this has over a career rather than any single sales situation.
That’s it, four more courses that no college or university that I have found teaches. Maybe when I get rich I’ll endow a Department of Professional Sales at my state university. Send me your money if you want this to happen sooner.
Here are the other articles in this sales education series:
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