Where are the sales classes in business school?

I didn’t go to business school. I decided to start my own company right after college – just jumping in and figuring it out as I went along. I’m not sure that I would recommend this model to most people. I think I was too naive to know the risks that were ahead of me – but I think it was the right move for me. What’s is interesting is that as I started and grew my company I didn’t struggle with the concepts of valuation, or financing, or competition, or management or marketing, or any of these topics. What was the hardest thing to learn to do?

Sell.

In talking with a lot of people I know that DID go to business school, not one person told me that there was a class in sales. Maybe some sort of sales management – and from what I was told it was a short fluffy class – but no-body had a class in pure sales. Perhaps this is why sales book and sales training are such a big industry.

I’m not knocking business school. There are many days that I wonder if I shouldn’t go and get an EMBA. I think that there is a lot to learn there – but I find it startling that these big time MBA programs do not include a class on how to sell.

The last time I checked there is only ONE function that is present in EVERY company in the world. That function is sales. Sure it takes different forms: inside sales, outside sales, farmers, hunters, marketing, up-selling, cross-selling, business development, and more – but the one common thread in every business is that it needs people to bring in the revenue so it can survive.

Yet the best business schools in the world don’t think this is important for every MBA executive to understand?

The CEO and every other executive should understand the core mechanics of getting sales in the door. While they may or may not be able to effectively do the raw selling themselves, they need to understand what it takes. The best CEO’s that I have met are ones that “carried a bag” at one point and therefore understand what the tools are that the sales team needs to succeed. When I see managers who just expect sales to happen but don’t create a culture in the company that promotes those sales, I see a company that could be doing SO much more in sales.

I think that every MBA program out there should have a hard-core program in sales. It should include role-playing, cold-calling, negotiation, and more. All of the core concepts of how to get a deal done should be something known by EVERY executive in EVERY company.

Is anyone aware of an MBA program that does include a hard-core sales class?