Online MBA Programs in Sales Management

Nearly every industry relies on sales managers and professional salespeople to promote and sell products and services. Although some sales jobs don’t require formal education, individuals who want to propel their sales careers and take on top-level management jobs in their industries often find the pathway to success starts with obtaining an online MBA in sales.

Pursuing an MBA in sales online can help sales professionals prepare for careers in sales management, market research, or monetization. Online MBA programs prepare students for careers in these and other fields by providing masters-level courses in sales and marketing and advanced business courses that help workers reach the top of their field.

What is an Online MBA in Sales?

Students earning an online MBA with a concentration in sales learn techniques and develop skills that they need to become successful in their careers. All online MBA programs teach students business administration skills, including people management, accounting, marketing, business ethics, and business law. When the program features a concentration in sales, students can expect to receive instruction in topics such as strategic marketing, consultative selling, the sales process, and sales enablement.

Many prospective students consider the differences between an online MBA in sales vs. a master’s in sales before enrolling in their programs. While the sales-focused classes in the programs generally follow a similar curriculum, only an MBA program offers a blend of business management and sales courses with the intention of preparing students to take on top-level leadership roles during their careers.

It’s also important to note that online study and traditional classroom study are quite different. Online learning requires that students maintain a high level of discipline and focus. While obtaining an online MBA in sales, students are required to work independently and complete their assignments on time. Successfully completing an online MBA program requires that students have excellent time-management skills and a quiet place to study without interruption.

Online MBA in Sales Curriculum

As mentioned earlier, programs that allow students to obtain an MBA in sales online include a mix of masters-levels sales and business administration classes. Graduates enter the workforce prepared to take on some of the field’s most common challenges head-on and qualified to climb the corporate ladder.

While the business administration portion of online MBA programs includes courses with a strong focus on management, students specializing in sales will take a variety of sales courses, which may include some variation of the following:

  • Salesforce Design and Management: Salesforce is the most common software used by businesses to manage clients and leads. This course teaches students to use the program to their advantage and customize its design to work for their business and the industry it operates in.

  • Consultative Selling Principles: Students learn how to sell products and/or services in consultation with their client(s). The course teaches students how to keep a conversation on track and ask open-ended questions to extract information about the customer’s wants/needs.

  • Sales Enablement: This course focuses on the role technology plays in lead generation and management, as well as pipeline management systems, customer relationship management, and social content management.

  • Sales Leadership Management: Students in this course learn to successfully lead a team of salespeople. Students will review the contrast between sales leadership and sales management, as well as discuss sales channel alignment, sales training, and goal setting.

Students who apply to online MBA programs typically require a bachelor’s degree in a related field and a minimum of one year of relevant work experience. Many schools also consider GMAT scores; however, some are now waiving this requirement2 so more students can apply to online MBA programs.

What Unique Career Paths Can I Pursue With an MBA Specializing in Sales?

There are plenty of options available to students who earn an accredited online MBA in sales. Jobs in almost every industry are open to those who have an online MBA in sales, and the sky is the limit when it comes to opportunities for promotion. The list that follows outlines just a few of the career options that may be available to online sales MBA graduates.

Director of Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing directors work alongside other top executives3 at the head of mid-sized to large organizations. The director of sales and marketing is responsible for overseeing sales managers and their teams to ensure that sales targets are being met and that marketing directives are successful. Most sales and marketing directors work with other executives to ensure all departments are working together to achieve the organization’s primary goals. Sales and marketing directors typically work regular office hours but may be required to do some traveling and overtime.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics4, sales and marketing directors earned an average annual salary of $104,980 as of May 2018. Demand for this job is average and is expected to increase by 8% by the year 2028.

Chief Sales Officer

Chief sales officers are members of the top executive team. CSOs are the top level of the sales department in the organizations that employ them and are responsible for overseeing all sales directives and ensuring that the sales managers are leading their teams effectively. CSOs often work long hours and are expected to travel on a semi-regular basis.

According to the BLS, the average wage for this career is $104,980 annually and demand is expected to increase 8% by the year 2028.

Sales Manager

Sales managers5 supervise teams of salespeople and generally work for retailers and organizations that distribute goods or services. They work with employees to provide adequate sales training and to set goals for individuals and the organization as a whole. Sales managers are often required to implement and direct marketing campaigns within the business. Sales managers often spend part of their day at a desk and normally keep regular office hours.

As of May 2018, sales managers were paid an average of $124,220 per year, according to the BLS. Demand is expected to rise 7% by the year 2028.

Senior Product Manager

Senior product managers are responsible for seeing the new release of products. They work with sales and marketing teams to promote and market these products and are required to analyze sales and market trends to monitor the general public’s reception of the product. Senior product managers normally keep regular office hours and spend most of their day at a desk. On some occasions, travel may be required.

According to PayScale, senior product managers earned an average salary of $122,6536 per year as of August 2019.

Advertising, Promotions, or Marketing Manager

Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers7 often work for large corporations or advertising agencies. They’re responsible for creating advertising campaigns on behalf of their employer or client. Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers normally work alongside a team of sales managers, art directors, and copywriters to create engaging promotional campaigns. It’s the role of the advertising, promotions, or marketing manager to oversee the creative process and analyze the success and reception of the campaign once it’s released. Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers often work long hours with plenty of overtime. They spend a lot of time in meetings and may be required to travel.

According to the BLS, advertising and promotions managers earned an average of $117,130 per year as of May 2018, marketing managers earned $134,290 annually. Demand for this job is increasing slightly faster than average, and 10% growth is expected by the year 2028.

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts8 gather and analyze statistical data about current market conditions. They may study consumer behaviors, product demand, or brand awareness for a particular product or company. Their analyses of these facts are used in product development and to determine target advertising audiences. Market research analysts normally work regular office hours and spend the majority of their day at a desk.

According to the BLS, market research analysts earned an average wage of $63,120 per year as of May 2018. Demand for this job is increasing much faster than average with 23% growth expected by the year 2028.

Should I Get an Online MBA in Sales?

Individuals who are considering an online MBA in sales should make sure they understand the program they’re applying to and make sure that it’s the right fit for their lifestyle and their career goals. Prospective students who are considering obtaining a sales MBA online should try to make the following considerations to help determine if it’s the right program for them.

Online MBA in Sales VS Online MBA in Marketing

Many students may be curious about the differences between an online MBA in sales and an online MBA with a concentration in marketing. While both of these programs offer the same business courses, a sales specialization means that the student will be developing more people-focused skills, but a marketing degree is more product-focused. A person with an online MBA in sales has highly developed people skills that let them analyze consumer needs and sell products and services to them based on those needs. A person with an online MBA in marketing has the skills needed to make a product or service seem appealing to the masses.

Do you enjoy working with other people?

Sales is all about meeting the needs of people; therefore, it’s important that any person considering a professional sales career is comfortable working around other people. Salespeople normally work in large teams and spend their days with clients and customers.

Do you usually work well under pressure?

Most salespeople have strict sales targets to meet, and for those in entry-level positions, the pay is often commission-based. It’s important for any person considering a career in sales to consider the fact that they must work well in high-pressure situations.

Are you good with numbers?

Sales is all about numbers. To successfully work in sales, a person needs to be good at basic mathematics. To work as a sales manager, it’s vital to be comfortable working with numbers. A large part of sales management is sales analysis and setting sales targets.

Are you hoping to manage a team of employees?

If your ultimate career goal is to manage a team of salespeople, an online MBA in sales is a great first step. Many companies favor candidates with MBAs when considering candidates for top-level sales management positions, and an online MBA program provides students with the necessary skills to become a competent, successful manager.

Do you have previous sales experience?

Most online MBA programs require applicants to have previous work experience in their industry and a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Before applying, it’s necessary to check the program’s prerequisites and ensure that your experience is adequate.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Will employers recognize an online MBA?

Online study is becoming more common than it was in previous decades, and today, there are plenty of schools offering accredited online MBAs in sales. Students who are concerned about a program’s legitimacy can check its status by searching the United States Department of Education’s database of accredited programs9 online.

I already work in sales. If I obtain my MBA in sales online, will I increase my chances for promotion?

Most major companies prefer to promote from within, so it’s always good to advance your education if you’re interested in a promotion with your current employer. Many employers even offer bonuses or tuition assistance to employees who choose to further their education — as long as it’s in the best interest of the company.

Isn’t it better to obtain an MBA in a classroom?

This all depends on the student. Those who work full time or have family commitments may find that the flexibility that comes with online study is the most convenient way to earn an MBA in sales. However, students who don’t study well independently or who have poor time management skills may find that they’re more successful studying in a traditional classroom.

How long does it take to earn an online MBA in sales?

The average online MBA program in sales takes two years to complete. Students who need more flexibility can enroll in a part-time online MBA program, which may allow five to six years for students to complete. Those who wish to earn their MBA quickly can consider a fast-track online MBA in sales program, which can be completed in just a couple of months.