Why Don’t MBA Programs Teach Sales?

Why don't MBA programs teach sales?

It has been awhile since I completed by Executive MBA at the University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management. As a caveat, I thoroughly enjoyed the MBA program and found it to be extremely beneficial. However, one thing that is still on my mind is why don’t MBA programs teach sales? It seems a large number of MBA programs focus most of their attention on how to manage a business. This is under the scenario that your business has stable finances. It didn’t cover how to generate revenue for a company.

Marketing is Not Sales

I know there will be some who say that marketing serves this roll and is covered extensively in all MBA programs. They would be right. However, I want to be clear, marketing is not sales. Although the two are related and they work together they are separate disciplines. Within an organization, they take an entirely different strategies to deploy.

Driving Revenue

Given that we run a sales focused organization, I wondered why many MBA programs have programs that don’t include sales. In my opinion, driving revenue is the most important goal for any organization. I asked this question to the the Dean of the program I attended. His answer was, “Sales is tough as there is a ton of research on the space.” I’m not sure how true this is, but there is definitely a lot written about sales. From a quantifiable standpoint I would have to do more research myself. At VA Partners, we are getting close enough to start to publish some of our work based on historical, quantifiable evidence. So maybe we can being a new era of stats and sales.

Sales Examples

I think as an executive it is too easy to get caught up in the financial and operational management of a company and forget that in order to have a successful company you need to sell stuff. If anyone in the position to make MBA course content decisions is reading this, consider putting some additional thought into adding some sales related courses to your MBA program, this could be as an example:

  • A sales leadership course looking at sales strategy, sales process & infrastructure, employee compensation & motivation, recasting value proposition development
  • A business development course covering how to successfully execute a direct or channel sales strategy, sales process methodology and sales best practices, value proposition development and refinement on the fly, gathering statistics and usage of a CRM (customer relationship management system

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