Earlier this month I received my formal appointment letter from MIT Sloan School of Management, which means I’m an adjunct faculty member co-teaching the Entrepreneurial Sales course for MBA students. I’ve been teaching this course unofficially since 2016, but even so, the letter was a serious “wow, is this for real?” moment for me. To say I’m honored and blessed just doesn’t even begin to explain it.
Huge thanks to all of my mentors, former teachers, managers, team members, and current MIT co-lecturers for all the help along the journey.
So why do I bother with this course? After all, I have a day job and no ambition of leaving the industry to join academia. To answer, let me first take a step back.
Marketing, Finance, Engineering, and many other functions have long been categorized as things you can learn, so universities built courses and degrees around them. You can take a marketing class and get a marketing degree and then a job in marketing.
But historically sales has been different. There was an idea that you had to be born with it. A naturally smooth-talking, scratch golfing, life of the party who was great at things you just can’t teach.
I don’t think that’s the case anymore. While those traits are still valuable, great sales people today work to understand their customer’s business and needs. They know the market, the competition, the pain points. They study their craft and work to apply new tactics that help them achieve quota. They lean on metrics. They are customer-centric. They go about it with a process, and it’s a process that anyone can learn and apply.
Kudos to MIT Sloan for the vision to create an MBA course on Sales so long ago. I’m incredibly honored and excited to be a small part of this change in sales education and look forward to the continued evolution of the sales profession.