Sales offer skills that are transferable to many aspects of your everyday life. However, you do not have to major in sales to be a successful salesperson. Below is a list of academic majors and how they relate to sales.
Business - Majoring in business means you understand that the market drives all aspects of life. Everyone is involved in business and supply and demand affect how each business functions. Business majors know the ins and outs of policy, management, regulation, and markets. Having this knowledge as your foundation means you are the perfect fit for sales.
It is also worth noting that amongst the most successful industry leaders and business executives, the vast majority of them began their careers in a sales role. Sales teach you how to think innovatively and advocate for yourself, which are two crucial skills for advancing professionally.
Communications - The ability to build and maintain relationships is important in any career. Identifying and creating trust between two or more people is a highly valued skill set. Communication majors often take courses like public speaking and business communications which prepare them for the sales industry.
Another key aspect of communications is being able to effectively listen to and understand others. Fully understanding the pain points and expectations of a prospect is the most important aspect of having a successful sales career, so those who have studied communication are an excellent fit.
Economics - Students majoring in economics will have taken a variety of courses which include accounting, business management, and econometrics. While a degree in economics requires advanced math, it also requires problem-solving and analytical skills. People skills are also a must for this major and may utilize group projects to grow your abilities. Due to the creative thinking and the mindset of how each tactical move can affect your business, economic majors thrive in sales.
Finance - A program created on business principles, finance majors learn how to plan for the future. Beginning with the end in mind, finance majors are able to use their background in project management, economics, and accounting to analyze potential sales opportunities and job markets. There are also a wide variety of sales roles in the financial services industry, so sales is a great way to break into financial services.
History - Students majoring in history have strong skills needed to be successful in sales. Having a background in research, history students understand how certain approaches have impacted the corporate world. Fundamentally these students are detail-oriented, have exceptional oral and written skills, and thrive in fast-paced environments. History majors are able to see the big picture when others can’t and then apply techniques that worked or leave out those that did not work based on historical instances.
Marketing - The basics of marketing focus on services that relate to a consumer audience. Marketing majors are equipped with all the skills necessary to be successful in sales. From researching consumer behavior to strategy, your ability to manage a marketing campaign and advertising and promotion are skills highly utilized in the sales industry. Marketing and sales typically work closely with each other, so having a marketing background makes for very successful salespeople.
Public Relations - Similar to marketing majors, public relations programs prepare students to formulate a plan based on customer relationships. A good PR specialist will build trust between their brand and the consumer. PR students are especially good at building ideal customer personas (ICP). An ICP is a profile of your ideal buyer and your organization is the ideal solution for their problem. Being a PR major offers the skills needed to identify the future needs of a buyer making them a good prospect for a company's services.
Psychology - Closing a deal is one of the most important parts of the sales process. Psychology majors are able to gauge customer satisfaction based on the individual's emotions. Instead of focusing on costs during a sales pitch, psychology majors use their skills to find ways to market their products or services to the buyer’s wants and needs. Understanding their buyer persona allows them to align the values of the company and their product and service with their potential customer’s buyers.
Arts - Not only is artwork often unique but the individuals responsible for their sales have an abstract thought process. Selling art requires patience. Art sales require the seller to be knowledgeable in art history, trends, criticisms, and opportunities. Artists have to understand their bottom line which affects how frequently they must produce pieces and the location and budget of their target audience. Having an understanding of the sales process is essential to success.
Biology - Medical sales careers require their sales staff to have comprehensive knowledge of the human body. In order to be successful in selling your product, you must first understand a person’s needs. When it comes to health and wellbeing, customers need to know you as a sales representative, understand their medical issues, and how to relieve their problems.
Chemistry - Being in a lab is not for everyone. If you enjoy chemistry, but enjoy networking and engaging with others, sales is for you. Medical and Pharma sales require their salespeople to be able to explain their product. This means having an understanding of how chemistry works and how medicines can affect your body when mixed with other medicines.
Computer Science - Joining a sales team with an IT background can be extremely useful. From a technical point of view, you understand all of the programming languages and what it takes to create and use a product. Buyers like to work with someone that is able to answer their questions. Having background knowledge of a service or product makes you highly qualified.
Engineering - Having a background in engineering allows you to combine your technical knowledge with the product you are selling, correctly being able to offer explained products to your customers. Engineer majors have strong interpersonal skills and have the ability to understand how product parts function within an overall process. They are often able to secure positions in areas like aerospace, nuclear, and other complex technological products.
Earth Sciences - Earth science majors are well rounded in all major masters of the earth’s history, current state, and possibilities for the future. Having a foundation of geology, chemistry, and the environment, scientists look to find ways to protect the earth from future natural disasters. Earth Science majors are great at selling renewable energy resources and educating consumers on their importance.
Health Sciences - A degree in health sciences offers you some of the most important skills to employers. It teaches you teamwork, laboratory skills, problem-solving, and the ability to learn on the job. Health science majors are able to look at healthcare from a bigger picture and demonstrate knowledge of the human body through functions. Medical sales is a top career opportunity because it involves how to utilize medical devices to assist health conditions and physical ailments of a patient.
Technology - There is a huge demand for salespeople in the tech industry. As companies continue to grow, they are in need of more employees that are interested and passionate about their products while being able to understand how the product or service can solve a problem. Good technical skills are essential for building strong relationships with clients. Tech salespeople may also find they advance quickly through their career paths because of their optimistic personalities and persuasive leadership.
Mathematics - Math is about problem-solving and using computational techniques to solve problems. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), math is playing an increasingly large role in business. Between 2019 - 2029 the BLS projects math occupations to grow faster than the national average at 27%. These positions are projected to play a large role in media, healthcare, and business.
Physics - When it comes to sales, physics and finance go hand in hand. Physicists that are involved in sales are responsible for making sure the company is using the correct resources in the most efficient way to market their product(s). In sales, physicists are often assessing clients’ needs and researching new market opportunities to grow their customer base. This makes physics a very important role in sales because their knowledge and input can impact phases in research and development, production, marketing, and supply chain.
Collegiate Sales Society (CSS) is the premier national collegiate sales organization creating lifelong leaders through sales education, networking, and career opportunities. Programs such as the Collegiate Sales Certification and the annual CSS Summit allow our students to cultivate sales skills through real experience and network with industry professionals.
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