Thursday, January 2, 2014

Are Companies Seeking Marketing Graduates with a Global Perspective?

Sales management is an important skill in a global community where products buzz world round in only a few days. Executives are having a hard time finding college graduates that have sufficient skill to compete for top sales positions. The demand for sales professionals has outpaced supply at colleges. A study by Deeter-Schmelz & Kennedy discusses their findings of why business colleges are having such a hard time filling this need (2011). 

Few studies have explored why colleges are not graduating a sufficient supply of college prepared sales professionals that can step into a more complex world. Problems span an array of issues ranging from the changing nature of sales management in a larger world to a lack of preparedness of professors. Their paper focuses on the assessment of the state of sales education in a global business environment. 

Marketing has changed over the past decade becoming more complex with high technology functionality. There are hundreds of ways to formulate a marketing strategy and it is difficult for a single person to put their mental arms around the breadth of information. This means that professors with a wide variety of such skills are in high demand but in short supply.

If we also consider the financial and analytic abilities needed to manage a global marketing campaign the task of educating people to fill this roll becomes even more daunting. Sales managers must be competent with databases, IT, financial projects, and analytic forecasting. Each dollar spent on a campaign must have a significant return and this requires the ability to conduct in-depth financial analysis. 

The authors collected college information via online surveys. They found that the major problems in order are qualified faculty, large class sizes, obtaining technology, shrinking resources, business demand outpacing students, not understanding online education, and cross-university competition.  New tools and better methods are needed to keep the momentum. 

The study does list the primary reasons why universities feel they are having a hard time producing qualified candidates at a proficient pace. Marketing can entail concepts ranging from psychology to data analytics and this is hard to pack in a four year degree. Focusing on those core concepts of marketing theory is beneficial but organizations may need to train them in specific skills to create competency. Many colleges can only introduce them to the main tools and concepts. Proficiency is left to the company. For now, there is no perfect solution.

Deeter-Schmulz, D. & Kennedy, K. (2011). A global perspective on the current state of sales education in college curriculum. Journal of personal selling & Sales Management, 31 (1).

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