Sales Professionals Anyone?

The term profession comes from the word profess. It originally was a religious term referring to an acknowledgment or declaration.

However, a profession is generally defined as an occupation (such as law, medicine, or engineering) which requires considerable training and specialized study. Many would argue that the sales profession is the engine that drives the global economy.

The question then becomes, “What is the Sales profession?”

With less than a handful of undergraduate degrees available to us, sales professionals are left to their own devices of learning and applying the vast body of knowledge available. In today’s increasingly complex business environment, the art and science of selling is becoming more and more complex and challenging.

Even though the profession of selling has been around from the dawn of civilization, until recently, there was no objective, portable, and measurable standard of what the profession is. A useful exercise is to understand what the definition of a profession is, in relation to the definition of professional selling.

Under many professions, there are specific professional specialties. As an example, with medicine, there are the specialties of internal medicine, pediatrics, and different types of surgery. Under the professional trades there are specialties of plumbing, electrician, painter, etc.

To arrive at a definition of selling, we must understand that just as all of the primary professions have specialization, so does marketing. Under marketing, there are several professional specializations such as:

  • Public Relations

  • Advertising

  • Marketing Communications

  • Branding

  • Product Planning (includes pricing and packaging)

  • Channel Marketing

  • .... and Professional Selling.

Yes, that's right. In the purely academic sense, selling is a subset of marketing, not unlike public relations, advertising, and marketing communications are a subset of marketing.

However, the PhDs in the University Sales Center Alliance likely disagree. Check it out.

Additionally, recent events such as corporate scandals, the evolution to digital,and legal and ethic regulations have placed increased emphasis on the importance of professionalizing each subset of business professions, and sales is accomplishing just that, with the work of more organizations who support selling as a profession -- and a fairly complicated profession at that!

About Growth Matters Growth Matters is a international business founded in 2011. This consulting and services organization is focused on the development and practice of sales management and sales enablement, our team of world-renowned experts spans the globe enabling businesses to improve sales conversations through services and solutions aligned to sales strategy. Our Americas operation is headquartered in Charlotte, NC (USA). With dedicated offices in South Africa (EMEA), and Sydney (APAC), we regularly facilitate senior-level workshops in 17+ cities in countries. For more information on equipping sales managers, and aligning to sales leadership, contact the Growth Matters team at

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