We’ve come a long way since the late 1880s, when sales and marketing was not popularly considered to be an attractive career or a profession. But many in the business, seeing the need for professional recognition based on sound standards and ethical practices, created Sales Managers Clubs. First started in the 1880s in North America, they gradually spread throughout Europe, Australian, South American and the Pacific Rim.
From them emerged SMEI. In 1935, IBM Founder Thomas Watson Sr., Raymond Bill, founder of Sales and Marketing Management Magazine, and other visionaries invited the presidents of many Sales Managers Clubs to New York City to discuss forming a network of sales and marketing executives. The result was the National Federation of Sales Executives, the first of several names for SMEI.
The federation grew quickly, especially after World War II when member CEOs dedicated them to helping Europe and other war-battered areas rebuild their economies. By the late 1940s, the association included more than 40 countries and was the largest in the world for sales and marketing managers. In 1949 it became National Sales Executives (NSE)-International and in 1961 became SMEI.
SMEI continues to be the leading worldwide association of sales and marketing management. More than 57,000 members include individuals from sales and marketing departments for the world’s leading companies. SMEI members benefit from exclusive social networking sites for business, professional certification in sales and marketing, access to the most comprehensive online library of videos and short courses, and frequent webinars that provide insight into the latest and most effective strategies.