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About SMEI – History


SMEI is the only global sales and marketing professional association. Members enjoy online forums, educational webinars and peer connections for knowledge sharing. SMEI’s professional certification programs create a world wide standard of credibility for individuals seeking recognition for their professional competencies. SMEI is a New York registered non-profit (501c6) organization founded in 1935. (Sales & Marketing Executives International, Inc.)

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 America 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 Association (NSE)-International and in 1961 became SMEI.

SMEI continues to be the leading worldwide association of sales and marketing management. Its members include heads of marketing or sales departments; sales professionals, marketing professionals and academic leaders. SMEI members benefit from access to an online catalogue of sales and marketing on-demand courses, and frequent local and virtual meetings that provide insight into the latest and most effective strategies. SMEI’s online learning portal for professional certification in sales and marketing contain hundreds of hours of professional development for its members.

SMEI’s social media presence reaches over 120,000 professionals globally.