Many schools offer online sales training certificate and degree programs, either as totally online programs or hybrids that combine online and on-campus instruction. Students can access online lessons as their schedules permit and communicate with instructors through message boards, chat functions and e-mail. Sales certificate and degree programs usually do not require internships.
Certificate programs are generally aimed at working adults who want to improve their sales skills. These programs consist of a few courses that cover negotiation skills, ethics, communication and building business relationships. Students may need to perform mock sales calls as part of the program. Certificate programs do not have general education requirements, but associate's and bachelor's degree programs do require them.
Associate's degree programs consist of two years of study in basic sales and marketing techniques. Students can earn credits that will transfer to a four-year program if they desire. Bachelor's degree programs cover sales and marketing skills and also offer information on sales management, including motivation techniques.
Certificate Overview and Requirements
Sales certificate programs don't require prior sales training or knowledge. Programs offer students the training and skills needed to effectively market and promote services and products to prospective clients. They involve classes in marketing, negotiation, ethics, persuasion skills, communication and presentation skills. Students learn how to employ sales techniques, increase client trust, manage relationships and build loyalty. Students interested in taking online sales leadership courses may also want to consider marketing certificates, because many of those programs include sales training courses.
Taken fully online or in a blended format, programs incorporate 12-21 credit hours. Program schedules vary from structured 5-week or 8-week courses to accelerated study that can be taken at any time. Many programs cater to working adults, allowing students to review course material at any time of day. Students need reliable Internet access for completing online coursework.
Online classes may use mock telephone sales calls or presentations so students can practice learned concepts. Blended courses may require a sales presentation in front of the class and the instructor.
Basic Sales Methodology
Introduces students to all areas of sales, from establishing a revenue source to managing customer relationships. Studies include sales history, psychology of sales, recognition of prospects' needs and desires, negotiation techniques and closing skills.
Exposes students to common industry terms, ethics, product branding and promotion, marketing plans, advertising and product allocation. May also provide a review of e-commerce marketing plans.
Examines customers' buying behavior, perception and motivation. Includes instruction on building rapport with customers to increase loyalty and trust.
An associate's degree in sales and marketing does not require prior sales experience or training. Programs introduce students to the sales representative's role within an organization. Curriculum focuses on sales and marketing, but it also teaches general business administration concepts such as accounting, business technology and customer relationships. Participants learn how to manage the entire sales cycle along with how sales activities affect the entire organization.
Delivered online or in a blended format, programs run approximately 60 credit hours, with classes offered during traditional semester schedules. Successful completion of this degree could satisfy requirements toward a bachelor's degree at a 4-year college or university.
An Associate's program offers courses specific to the online sales program. It also requires general education courses, including English, math and history courses that may not be available online.
Provides an intro to accounting terminology and functions. Students discover accounting concepts such as accounting calendars, accounts receivable and payable, debits, credits, inventory management and payroll.
Teaches learners how to develop and manage promotional advertising programs, evaluate sales strategies and present a sales campaign to prospects. Also discusses sales theory and research principles.
Explores the psychological factors that affect customers' buying behavior. The class talks about perception, motivation, selection process and influence.
This program is appropriate for entry-level sales representatives and seasoned sales professionals. It prepares students for a career in sales and the eventual management of a sales force. Covers the sales life cycle, customer relations, employee selection, employee coaching and motivation techniques.
Approximately 120 credit hours, courses are offered during normal semesters or on a 6-month flexible schedule. Many programs demand students spend 15 or more hours each week to complete assigned coursework and exams. Coursework may be delivered online or in a blended format.
Common courses offered in a bachelor's program appear below.
Teaches how to effectively manage and motivate sales personnel. Discusses employee evaluation and direction, creation and implementation of incentive programs, communication skills and employee coaching.
Talks about variables that affect marketing products and services on an international level. May teach creation of an international marketing plan.
Internships enable students to receive practical experience in sales and marketing, working alongside industry professionals. The majority of internships cannot be completed online.
Wages for sales representatives vary greatly depending on the field of sales and the type of products or services sold. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual wage for sales representatives was $51,700. Employment for sales representatives is expected to increase by 7% from 2014-2024 (http://www.bls.gov).
Some Bachelor of Science in Sales Management degree programs prepare students to earn sales-related certifications upon successful completion of the program. Examples of these certifications include Action Selling Sales Skills and the Certified Sales Executive (CSE) credential.
Online programs in sales training at the certificate and associate's levels will prepare students for entry-level jobs as sales representatives. Bachelor's programs will also focus on the skills necessary to be successful in management.