Sales Management Degree

What Is a Sales Management Degree?

A sales management degree prepares those interested in careers in sales to direct and manage the activities of sales people as an entry level manager. This degree also covers common business principles so that students can understand, develop, and contribute towards organizational targets. Customer relationship management, or CRM, is a key component for many sales management degree programs. This degree is commonly awarded at the associate’s and bachelor’s levels. For those who already hold a bachelor’s, a sales management degree can be pursued as a master’s degree or graduate certificate. Depending on the program, such a degree may offer specialization in certain industries or sales practices.

What Can You Do with a Sales Management Degree?

Most who obtain a sales management degree become sales managers, who earn an average annual salary of $98,530.1 Since virtually every organization, whether private, public, or non-profit, relies on sales managers to generate revenue either through sales or fundraising, sales managers can work in many industries; this fact contributes to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) estimates that sales managers will see job growth of 12% between 2010 and 2020.1

Since marketing and sales departments are intimately linked, those with a sales management degree may also pursue desirable positions in marketing. Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers typically hold at least a bachelor’s degree, and earn an average annual salary of $108,260.2 Like sales managers, these professionals are well positioned to take advantage of growth, which the BLS anticipates will be 14% for this field between 2010 and 2020.2

A sales management degree is often the foundation for industry certifications that are sought after by employers. Those holding a degree in sales management may qualify to become Certified Sales Executives (CSE) through Sales and Marketing Executives International. Other options for certification include Certified Sales Leadership Professional (CSLP) or Certified Sales Operations Professional (CSOP), both of which are obtained through The Sales Management Association.

Prerequisites and Requirements

The prerequisites and requirements for acceptance to a sales management degree program differ in line with the level of the degree sought, but applicants should be able to demonstrate basic proficiency in math and communication either through prior academic experience or testing. Typically:

  • Admission to an associate’s degree program in sales management requires the applicant to hold a high school diploma or GED. A minimum high school GPA may be required.
  • Admission to a bachelor’s degree program in sales management requires a high school diploma or GED, and typically also requires a minimum high school GPA. Most schools also request test scores on the ACT or SAT exams.
  • Admission to a master’s or certificate program in sales management requires the applicant to hold a bachelor’s degree in sales management or a related business field. A minimum score on graduate level exams such as the GMAT or GRE is usually required, especially by selective schools.

Typical Coursework

Leadership is an important focus for sales managers, so sales management degree programs tend to emphasize leadership and management development in the curriculum. Sales processes and theories are also covered, along with business principles. As a general practice, the higher the level of degree sought the more challenging the coursework offered, though the typical coursework for most programs will include:

  • Strategic Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Advanced Sales Management
  • Fundamentals of Sales
  • Business to Business Sales
  • Business Ethics
  • Cost Accounting
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Principles of Marketing
  • Principles of Advertising
  • Marketing Theory
  • Economics
  • Introductory Statistics

The ultimate goal of any sales management degree program is to ensure that graduates are equipped to assume the responsibilities of a position in sales management, which include hiring, guiding, and mentoring sales people. Students who are awarded a degree in sales management demonstrate to employers that they are prepared to follow this exciting career track.

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1. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics: