Just about every business sells something, whether it is business-to-business sales or business-to-consumer sales. Sales management involves overseeing the sales operations for an organization. This may include supervising a team, designing sales campaigns, and completing other tasks crucial for profitability.
What Is a Sales Management Degree?
A sales management degree is an academic degree awarded to students who have completed a college, university, or business school program with a focus on sales or sales management. The three most common management degrees that can be earned from a college, university, or business school include:
- Associate's Degree in Sales Management - An associate's degree program with a specialization in sales management consists of general education courses coupled with a sales management education. Some associate's programs combine sales with a marketing focus, allowing students to pick up skills in both areas. Most associate's programs take two years to complete. You can find two-year programs with a focus on sales or sales management at community colleges, four-year universities, and online schools.
- Bachelor's Degree in Sales Management - A bachelor's degree program with a focus on sales management also combines general education courses with training in sales management. The average bachelor's degree program takes four years to complete, though accelerated programs may be available from certain schools.
- Master's Degree in Sales Management - A master's degree or MBA degree program in sales management combines general business and management courses with courses in sales, marketing, leadership, and sales management. A traditional master's degree program takes two years to complete. However, one-year programs are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. and abroad.
Do I Need a Degree to Work in Sales Management?
A degree is not always required for positions in sales management. Some individuals begin their careers as sales representatives and work their way up to a management position. However, a bachelor's degree is the most common path to a career as a sales manager. Some management positions require a master's degree. An advanced degree often makes individuals more marketable and employable. Students who have already earned a master's degree could go on to earn a Doctorate Degree in Sales Management. This degree is best suited for individuals who would like to work in sales research or teach sales at the post-secondary level.
What Can I Do With a Sales Management Degree?
Most students who earn a sales management degree go on to work as sales managers. The daily responsibilities of a sales manager can vary depending on the size of an organization and the manager's position in the organization. Duties commonly include overseeing members of a sale team, projecting sales, developing sales goals, directing sales efforts, resolving customer and sales team complaints, determining sales rates, and coordinating sales training.
Sales managers can work in a variety of industries. Almost every organization places heavy importance on sales. Companies need qualified personnel to direct sales efforts and teams on a daily basis. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities in the coming years will be most plentiful in business-to-business sales. However, overall employment opportunities are expected to increase slightly faster than average.
It should be noted that this profession can be very competitive. You will face competition when looking for a job and after being hired. Sales numbers fall under close scrutiny. Your sales teams will be expected to perform accordingly, and your numbers will determine whether or not you are a successful manager. Sales management jobs can be stressful and may even require long hours or overtime. However, these positions can be satisfying, not to mention very lucrative.
Professional Associations for Current and Aspiring Sales Managers
Joining a professional association is a good way to get a foothold in the field of sales management. Professional associations offer the opportunity to learn more about the field through education and training opportunities. As a member of a professional association, you also have the opportunity to exchange information and network with active members of this business field. Networking is important in business and can help you find a mentor or even a future employer.
Here are two professional associations that are related to sales and sales management:
- Sales Management Association - The Sales Management Association is a global association focused on sales operations and leadership. The organization's website offers a variety training tools, event listings, networking opportunities, and career resources for sales professionals.
- NASP - The National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP) provides a community for career-minded sales leaders. Site visitors can learn more about sales certification, sales careers, sales training and education, and much more.