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In all our degree programs, you will experience teamwork, relationship building, a focus on business ethics and the blending of hands-on problem-solving with important classroom teachings.  You’ll also stand out because of our unique set of college-level programs, specializations and certifications.  NIU Business has held continuous AACSB International accreditation at all levels since 1969, only eight years after the college was founded.

Professional Sales Certificate (100% Online)

Sales and revenue generation are critical components of business and being able to move others to action is an essential skill necessary for success in life. In this online program offered through Northern Illinois University's Office of Selling Effectiveness, you will gain knowledge of the sales process from preparation to closing. Special emphasis will be placed on the latest theories and techniques of strategic negotiations as well as strategies to make data-driven sales decisions.

This certificate program will be beneficial to individuals in a wide range of sales roles from key account managers to sales leaders. If you are interested in strengthening your sales tool kit, you should attend.

  • Small class sizes ranging from 10 – 15 participants.
  • The program includes eight modules with sixteen live synchronous sessions. Such live “Zoom-Meetings” allow for rich discussion among classmates and instructor.
  • Learn proven techniques for being an effective salesperson and sales leader from a variety of research-active faculty from Northern Illinois University's College of Business.
  • Put the latest sales and sales management techniques to use during live virtual role-plays.
  • Gain an understanding of the latest sales metrics and data analysis tools available to drive decision making in sales.
  • Receive a Certificate of Completion from Northern Illinois University's College of Business.

Module One - Contemporary Sales Methods and Methodologies

  • Session One: Tuesday, Dec. 1
  • Session Two: Thursday, Dec. 3

Module Two - Selling More by Talking Less

  • Session One: Tuesday, Dec. 8
  • Session Two: Thursday, Dec. 10

Module Three - Planning for Strategic Negotiations

  • Session One: Tuesday, Dec. 15
  • Session Two: Thursday, Dec. 17

Module Four - Negotiating Like a Pro

  • Session One: Tuesday, Jan. 5
  • Session Two: Thursday, Jan. 7

Module Five - Sales Metrics and Must-haves

  • Session One: Tuesday, Jan. 12
  • Session Two: Thursday, Jan. 14

Module Six - Making Data-driven Sales Decisions

  • Session One: Tuesday, Jan. 19
  • Session Two: Thursday, Jan. 21

Module Seven - Managing Your Time and Goals

  • Session One: Tuesday, Jan. 26
  • Session Two: Thursday, Jan. 28

Module Eight - Leading to Maximize Performance

  • Session One: Tuesday, Feb. 2
  • Session Two: Thursday, Feb. 4

Charles Howlett offers realistic career insights from over 20 years of sales management experience with Lilly USA where he consistently built, coached and led teams to achieve positive results. His analytical strengths of data analysis, strategy development and field implementation provide real-world perspective, while his forte of developing team culture, maximizing individual representatives' strengths and motivating teams to exceed expectations provide practical guidance for the sales program. In addition to his teaching duties, Howlett partners with company representatives on the Professional Sales Program's Sales Advisory Board to seek enhancements in curriculum and networking opportunities with sales students. He received his undergraduate degree at Iowa State University and EMBA from Northern Illinois University.

Robert M. Peterson, Ph.D., is the Dean's Distinguished Professor of Sales at Northern Illinois University. He holds degrees from Indiana University, George Washington University and the University of Memphis. He was a salesperson for many years selling printing and financial data prior to earning his doctorate. Peterson served on the board of the National Conference in Sales Management for seven years and has been a board member of the Sales Education Foundation for over a decade. Peterson earned the American Marketing Association 2002 Innovative Teacher Award, the 2006 Innovative Sales Educator Award from the University Sales Center Alliance, the 2010 Hormel Meritorious Teaching Award from the Marketing Management Association and the 2011 Excellence in Teaching Award by the Sales Special Interest Group of the American Marketing Association. Peterson is the editor of the Journal of Selling, an applied research journal. He has published over 100 refereed conference papers, presentations and manuscripts, including articles appearing in Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, Business Horizons, Journal of World Business, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice and the Journal of Marketing Education.

Mark D. Groza, Ph.D., is the Enterprise Holdings Professor of Sales and the faculty athletics representative at Northern Illinois University. Groza teaches a variety of courses in the Professional Sales Program including Business to Business Sales, Strategic Negotiations and Principles of Selling. He has published numerous academic articles at various outlets on topics including sales management, corporate sponsorship and corporate social responsibility. His research has appeared in the Journal of Business Research, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Advertising Research and the Journal of Global Marketing among others. Groza actively conducts a variety of consultative research projects related to optimizing sales force performance through Northern Illinois University's Office of Selling Effectiveness. He has provided data analysis and other consultative services to firms such as Two Much Research (Madrid, Spain), Code SixFour (Chicago, Illinois) and FASTENAL Industrial suppliers (Winona, Minnesota).

Reza Rajabi, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of marketing at Northern Illinois University's College of Business. Rajabi's academic research interests lie at the intersection of marketing/sales and analytics, applying various data analytics methods such as machine learning techniques, data-envelopment analysis, social network analysis and text mining. His primary research focuses on sales analytics, sales force performance and salespeople's turnover. He also examines the role of marketing/sales capabilities at early stages of startups where new ventures are not equipped with conventional marketing assets or capabilities. He earned his B.S. in industrial engineering and his M.S. in socio-economic system engineering. He earned his Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he won the Harold E. Hardy Award in 2015 and the University of Massachusetts Research Fellowship Award in the summer of 2017. Rajabi was also nominated for the University of Massachusetts's 2017 Distinguished Teaching Award.

What is the program about?

Today's global marketplace is competitive and rapidly changing. Our professional sales certificate offers a comprehensive curriculum that will provide you with leading-edge instruction and practical experiences.

What is the learning experience?

You learn from faculty who are scholars in their fields. Our faculty experts use a combination of case studies, class discussions, engagement with business leaders and real-world projects.

What is the program format?

Each module consists of two sessions. Each session is approximately two hours long, delivered synchronously online.

Can I opt out of some topics?

No. A new topic module is introduced each week. The learner is expected to complete the activities and requirements for the week before progressing to the subsequent week's topic.

Can participation in this program be counted as credit toward a degree?

No. Executive Education offers only non-degree programs. At the end of the program, participants who successfully meet the requirements receive a certificate of completion, which does not count as credit toward a degree.

Where can I receive more information?

Please contact us at 815-753-6177 or

2020 Session Registration

Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020-Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.

Program cost per participant including all materials: $1,700.

Registration is open through Monday, Nov. 30, 2020.


A minimum of 10 participants is required. NIU reserves the right to cancel the program if the minimum level is not met.

Contact Us

NIU College of Business
Barsema Hall
740 Garden Road
DeKalb, IL 60115
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