Despite its importance in driving turnover, sales is an area of business which has historically been ignored in the academic arena.
However, the Institute for Work Based Learning (IWBL) at Middlesex University, in partnership with Consalia, is leading a sea-change in this area with the pioneering Masters in Sales Transformation for both sales leaders and sales professionals – the UK's first in-house Masters programme for sales.
It offers international cohorts of personnel from some of the world's leading firms, including Toshiba and Sony Mobile, the chance to develop a more customer-focused approach to sales while working towards a prestigious academic qualification.
After an orientation day at the University's Hendon campus, the students then complete a work-based learning programme – the first 90 credits under the expert supervision of the team at Consalia and the remaining 90 credits completing a work-based research module set by Middlesex and a business transformation project.
Following the successful completion of the course, the graduates are invited to celebrate their achievements at Middlesex's graduation week alongside the other IWBL students.
"It was both inspiring and personally transformational – it changed my career"
"This programme was implemented with the aim of professionalising sales," commented David Williams, the Director for Corporate Engagement at Middlesex University.
"Its customer-service focus is designed to change mindsets and make better sales people out of all those who complete the course. We want our Sales Transformation graduates to feel proud of what they do and for their employers to benefit from more engaged and customer-minded employees."
The hugely positive response from both graduates and employers suggests the course is doing just that.
"It was both inspiring and personally transformational – it changed my career," said Mike Hurley, Vice-President Sales EMEA, Managed Services, at Unisys.
From a business perspective, Axel Ferreyrolles, University Programme Expert at SAP, said employers can look forward to seeing a tangible return on their investment.
"As a result of the Masters programme we can increase our expectations of sales managers and can start to expect more revenue and more managers hitting their targets."
To complement the MSc, the University sponsors several Global Sales Transformation Events, where leading business figures discussing new strategic approaches to sales. Previous events have taken place at venues such as the Stock Exchange in London, as well as in Asia and the USA, and featured speakers, panel discussions and networking opportunities with professionals from a variety of businesses.
You can read more about the master's in Sales Transformation here.