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Advancing the Practice of Sales Excellence

The mission of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Center for Sales Excellence is to shape the future of personal selling and sales management by providing advanced instruction to students, creating mutually beneficial relationships within the business community, and generating high-caliber sales research for the benefit of our partner companies.

Sales Education Foundation (SEF) Award Logo

Named a 2018 "Top University for Professional Sales Education" by the Sales Education Foundation (SEF), this program contributes to the success of students and business partners. The Nebraska Undergraduate Certificate Program in Sales Excellence has been named a "Top University for Professional Sales Education" each year since inception in 2014-15.

Your Major + Sales Skills = A Competitive Edge

Learn how you to sell yourself to employers, pitch your ideas, and influence others. The coursework in the Certificate in Professional Selling program will enable you to be more productive and more influential, no matter what career path you choose.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the top skills employers are seeking in job candidates include the ability to communicate effectively with stakeholders inside and outside the organization, make decisions, solve problems, plan, organize, and prioritize work, obtain and process information, and influence others.

Through the Center for Sales Excellence certificate program, you will learn and practice all of these skills, making you an exceptionally strong job candidate – and helping ensure a successful career.

Business Major

Gain a competitive edge in your field.

  • Whether you are in accounting, actuarial science, agribusiness, economics, finance, management, marketing, or supply chain management, there is some form of selling in every job.
  • Sales communication training develops skills desired by employers and increases your market value.
  • "There are a lot of brilliant people in business who cannot communicate with others. When they attempt to become managers, we have to replace them with the kind of people who can communicate.” CEO of a California corporation

Non-Business Major

Gain a competitive edge for your future.

  • Sales is a crucial component of every industry. Regardless your chosen profession, sales skills are a tremendous asset that can give you a distinct competitive advantage throughout your career.
  • As a non-business major, this is a great set of skills to list on your resume.
  • Completing a Certificate in Professional Selling proves to potential hiring companies that you have strong communication skills, good relationship-building abilities, and that you will be an influential contributor.
Sales Students in Sales Lab room.


Students may earn a certificate from the College of Business in Professional Selling by completing 15 credit hours of required coursework. An advanced certificate in Professional Selling is also available for students who complete an additional 3 credit hours of relevant coursework. Any and all majors are welcome to apply for admittance to the program by taking the first course in the program, Sales Communication – MRKT 257 which is an ACE 2 class.

The certificate and advanced certificate will be awarded by the College of Business. Both complement the student's existing major/minor and serve as a formal recognition that the student has satisfactorily completed the course requirements listed below. Certificates will not be listed on the student's transcripts. However, given the value of the certificates' curricula to prospective employers, students will benefit by mentioning these certificates on their resume.

Required Coursework
MRKT 257 – Sales Communication
(3 credit hours)
ACE 2 Designated Class
This is the first course in the certificate program and provides an introduction to the fundamentals of sales communication including, verbal, listening, and written skills. You will learn the various components of the selling process, develop a written selling plan, and gain experience in executing each step of the selling process through role-play exercises.
MRKT 357 – Advanced Professional Selling
(3 credit hours)
Prereq: MRKT 257 and admission to Center for Sales Excellence
This course will build on the concepts in MRKT 257. You will learn advanced professional selling theory and practice, sales processes, planning and delivering sales presentations, and dealing with ethical sales issues. Professional selling practice and individual feedback for improvement are a core component of this course.
MRKT 371 – Sales Practicum I
(3 credit hours)
Prereq: Admission to Center for Sales Excellence
This course will help you develop your personal brand. You will learn about business etiquette, networking, negotiations, and career strategy. You will also be exposed to the organizational culture and opportunities provided by the Center for Sales Excellence Partners and learn what they look for in potential employees.
MRKT 457 – Customer Relationship Management and Sales Technologies
(3 credit hours)
Prereq: MRKT 257 and admission to the Center for Sales Excellence
This course focuses on customer relationship management (CRM) and sales force technology. The course will teach you how to use CRM systems in sales and use them to identify good prospects, improve customer retention, and maximize customer value. You will also get hands-on experience using a CRM system to successfully plan and execute a sales plan.
MRKT 458 – Sales Force Management
(3 credit hours)
Prereq: MRKT 341 or admission to the Center for Sales Excellence
In this course, you will learn about tasks that a sales managers needs to perform in building, directing and leading a sales force. Topics covered include sales forecasting, designing and structuring sales territories, and issues related to hiring, managing, compensating and evaluating sales people.
Optional Coursework
MRKT 372 – Sales Practicum II
(1-3 credit hours)
Prereq: Admission to Center for Sales Excellence
This optional practicum course is for students who want to pursue a sales-related internship (highly recommended). In this practicum, you work with a professor on a one-on-one basis and learn how academic sales concepts apply to your practical internship experience.
Advanced Professional Sales Certificate Additional Coursework
MRKT 460 – Key Account Selling
(3 credit hours)
Prereq: MRKT 257; MRKT 357; MRKT 457; and admission to the Center for Sales Excellence
Teaches how to segment key accounts, how to identify high-margin business opportunities, how to sell to complex enterprises, and how to manage a Key Account team. Students practice key account presentations through role-play exercises and make actual calls and presentations to businesses in the region.

Sales Excellence Laboratory

As part of the Sales Center program, students use state-of-the art facilities located in the College of Business Center for Sales Excellence role-play lab. With seven role-play rooms equipped with one-touch recording technology, students have the ability to role-play, review, and revise their work, which helps them apply and practice their selling skills.

The sales labs also provide a means for professors to view and evaluate selling skills and techniques. Students also have the ability to download their role-plays for personal use, and can include digital resumes and videos to share with potential employers.

Sales Students in Sales Lab room.

Sales Students

Join a Community

As part of the Sales Center program, students enjoy the tight-knit community that develops from being in the same classes and participating in the same sales projects.

Kathleen O'Toole outside Howard L. Hawks Hall
Kathleen O'Toole
Senior marketing major

We work in collaborative groups and the students really bond in this program to where you know everyone in a closer way than normal classmates.

Build Real-World Skills

Learning how to build relationships, communicate, and persuade effectively will help you advance more quickly. Mike Steinerd, Director of Recruiting at a leading job website, notes the top 7 soft skills employees are looking for are:

  • 1. Acting a team player
  • 2. Flexibility
  • 3. Effective communication
  • 4. Problem-solving and resourcefulness
  • 5. Accepting feedback
  • 6. Confidence
  • 7. Creative thinking

The Center for Sales Excellence will provide you with many opportunities to build and strengthen these skills so you will be ready for the interview – and ready for the job.

Cole Weers studying
Cole Weers '17
Advanced sales certificate recipient

The sales process we studied helped me prepare for meetings and engagements during my internship with Cox Automotive Inc., in Atlanta. I knew from these classes there is more to sales than just selling. It’s also about building rapport and a relationship with the client, as well as understanding their business so you can present something to them that fits their needs and helps them become successful.

Realize Opportunity

As a sales center student, you will connect with companies that are recruiting for talent and provide a variety of opportunities for internships and full-time careers. Networking events on and off campus will also help introduce you to the talented people behind world-class sales organizations.

Students also have access to special scholarships, including the Richard W. Chapin Scholarship. Mr. Chapin ’46, provides scholarships to sales students because he believes in the importance of strong selling skills. In fact, he began a career in media sales in 1953 and later became a pioneer in the world of television and radio through his leadership at Stuart Broadcasting.

Richard Chapin profile photo
Richard Chapin
Nebraska media pioneer

I started the Chapin scholarship program because I believe in the sales profession. When I speak to students I explain a good sales person never wants for a job. The Center for Sales Excellence is a way to give stature to the profession and the scholarships are my way of giving back to the College of Business.

With access to a wide-variety of companies and generous scholarships, Sales Center students have the opportunity to realize significant benefits from the program.

Trevor Willenborg profile photo
Trevor Willenborg
Senior marketing and international business major

The Center for Sales Excellence provided me the foundation I need to build a career. Professors provide supportive context for what you’ll experience in the field like the sales internship I have in Omaha at Buildertrend. It also helps working with high-achieving students in collaborative groups who aren’t afraid to work outside their comfort zone.

Corporate Involvement

The Center for Sales Excellence works closely with corporate partners that provide generous support to the program and our students.

These partners not only help support the mission of the Center, but also contribute to the professional development of our students by attending events, participating in course projects, mentoring, and regularly speaking in the classroom.

In return, our Partners build strong relationships with our sales students and also have the opportunity to engage in custom research projects with our faculty members.

Partner Companies and Advisory Board Members

The Center for Sales Excellence Advisory Board is composed of select business leaders from a variety of impactful companies in the Nebraska community. Board members provide invaluable support in helping to shape the program and give students maximum opportunities to learn and grow in the sales profession.

If you are interested in learning more about Corporate Partnerships, please contact Chad Mardesen.

If you are interested in learning more about Custom Research, please contact Ravi Sohi.

Certificate Program in Sales Excellence News

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Sohi, Ravi
Executive Director of the Center for Sales Excellence
HLH 335 D
Mardesen, Chad
Assistant Professor of Practice
HLH 335 Q
McLeod, Laura
Assistant Professor of Practice
HLH 335 H
Runnalls, Blake
Assistant Professor
HLH 345 L