Sales occupations will grow by 5 percent by 2024. Whenever you are looking to hire someone for your sales team, the chances are you look at the person's education. You want to know what they're made of. But rarely will you see anyone with an actual sales degree. Ask around the office and it's highly unlikely that anyone will have any form of sales degree.
Stop one moment and ask yourself why this is the case. There are actually a number of compelling reasons why a sales degree has no place in the classroom, and this article is going to explain why.
A Bad Stereotype
In many circles, salespeople still have a negative stereotype. Many see them as individuals who promote the idea of using any means necessary to close a sale. They will use hype and lies just to get someone to buy something. Schools don't want to be associated with that and they are certainly not going to offer a degree in it.
The reason behind this lies in the negative experiences many have experienced when buying something. This is nearly always in the B2C sector, and it tends to involve a telemarketer or a used car salesperson. The reality is most salespeople are honest and they do things by the book.
Selling Skills Can't Be Learned in School
As brutal as it sounds, selling skills cannot be learned in the classroom. The sales skills you learn in one company won't be relevant in another because the product is different and the way of doing things is different. Then you have the huge differences between B2B businesses and B2C businesses.
No classroom course can teach you to deal with a specific executive. No course can teach you how to get an executive to spend a lot of money.
There are many industries where information changes all the time. But nothing changes faster than the sales industry. If you are out of the game for six months, you suddenly discover that you are completely behind the times and people aren't responding to your tactics.
Consider the fact that the average degree may last three or four years and you have a situation where the curriculum would have to change following every generation of students. And even that one generation of students would be behind the times when they go to work.
Experience Not Knowledge
Degrees are designed to teach you to be successful. The problem is that in most companies this doesn't mean a thing. They are not interested in what you know because it doesn't necessarily translate into making an actual sale. What really matters is experience. The results that you gained at one company will influence whether you get a job at the next company, not what degree you happen to hold.
In a business where results are everything, there's little a classroom education can actually do to prepare you for the real sales world.
This next problem exists in many industries, but it exists even more so in the sales world. When you enter a company, a manager will tell you exactly how things work, and you will be expected to deal with that. They will train you in how to do things.
In other words, the moment you enter a company you are going to be told that what you knew before means nothing. You are going to be tutored in the ways of that specific company. It's often easier for an organization to take on a blank slate than someone who holds a degree in sales because then they don't have to unlearn everything they knew before.
So What Do Businesses Look for?
It may seem that education isn't important in sales, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Businesses do want you to have a good education. But they want this education to demonstrate that you have the soft skills that make a good salesperson. It's why they will look for people with business degrees, English literature degrees, and psychology degrees.
They have the skills to be successful, but the company has a chance to train and mold them in the correct image. These students are far easier to work with.
A sales degree is an uncommon object in the education system. Regardless of the reasons given above, the chances are schools will begin to offer more sales degrees in the coming years. To put it simply, there's a growing appeal for them, even if they won't necessarily lead to guaranteed jobs at the end of it.