Long-serving sales professionals surely remember a time when their industry was all about hustle, drive, and determination. Newcomers needed little other than a high school diploma and some natural ability to become a rising star in a hurry. These days, the encroachment of technology and big data into the world of sales is changing all of that.
While it still takes innate ability to be effective in a sales position, it has become far more challenging for neophytes to get a foothold in many industries unless they’ve attained a post-secondary education. It’s a trend that has taken hold across the entire workforce, as well. That means that anyone looking to land a position in sales (and that hopes to rise through the ranks) needs to start thinking about advancing their education. To that end, here are four types of degrees that can supercharge sales careers.
It may not seem obvious at first, but degrees in business administration are highly valuable for today’s sales professionals. That’s because sales organizations today are far more integrated and involved with the businesses they serve than they had been in the past. Modern sales professionals are well served by having a working understanding of all aspects of the business they work for, and that is precisely what they gain by taking business administration courses. Degrees in that field also help sales professionals to move up within their organizations since they’re trained and capable of taking on larger, more multifaceted roles.
At its core, sales are about two things; relationships and money. Having people skills and the ability to establish excellent working relationships can’t be taught, but understanding money is another matter altogether. Earning a degree in finance gives a sales professional an edge in that they are better able to understand and design the financial aspects of potential sales deals to the advantage of their own company, as well as that of their clients. Gaining this type of insight can be the difference between a salesperson with an average conversion rate and one that sets records.
Sales and marketing are like two sides of the same coin. Despite that fact, many salespeople don’t understand how vital marketing efforts are to their success. Keeping sales and marketing initiatives in sync and performing well is a key goal of every organization though, so sales professionals that hold degrees in marketing are always in demand. Not only does such a degree enable its holder to comprehend and exploit their organization’s marketing efforts, it also allows them to directly collaborate with their marketing department, yielding a critical advantage.
Last but not least, in recognition of the growing level of competition and demand for sales professionals, universities and online learning platforms have started offering degree programs that are aimed at aspiring salespeople. Professional sales degree programs are something of a hybrid of the previously mentioned degrees. It’s a multi-disciplinary educational track that combines the most valuable skills from finance, marketing, and management degree programs. While this type of degree is relatively new compared to the others mentioned here, it is rapidly growing in popularity and acceptance.
Onward and Upward
Earning any one (or several, if desired) of these degrees isn’t a prerequisite for every sales position – yet – but it won’t be long until it is. That’s why getting to work earning one of these relevant degrees now will position and aspiring sales professional for success in the long term, and is well worth the cost. In a world where any advantage can mean the difference between a successful career and a lifetime of struggle, there are few decisions that could make more of a positive difference.
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