West Virginia University’s Professional Sales program within the John Chambers College of Business and Economics is developing the next generation of sales leaders, thanks to a collaboration of exceptional education, training and faculty.
Students in the program recently finished a busy season of sales competitions, most recently sweeping the competition held at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Another group of students was to compete in the National Shore Sales Challenge at Salisbury University the weekend prior to spring break; however, that was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Despite taking first-place out of 10 participants, Allison McCardle was new to the experience heading into the competition.
“I was very scared because sales competitions and role plays are very interactive, and ultimately, no matter how much you prepare, you have to adapt in the moment,” McCardle said. “This is the best real-world experience for someone who wants to go into sales because it gives you the chance to think on your feet.”
This was the third sales competition for Marisa McCoy, a sophomore Global Supply Chain Management major with a minor in Professional Sales.
“Knowing that WVU had won the two previous ODU Sales Slams, we definitely felt the pressure, but in a good way,” she said. “The ODU students and faculty were extremely welcoming. The buyers were also wonderful. It’s great getting to hear from industry professionals and practicing for our future careers.”
The ODU competition gave students the scenario of selling RUN Powered by ADP, a mobile payroll software for employers.
“Selling a new product is always something I look forward to, and ADP RUN did not disappoint,” McCoy said. “Getting the opportunity to research and learn about a new company from the expectation that you are the ‘salesperson’ is a unique experience that many students do not experience.”
The students prepared for three weeks before the competition, reading fake scenarios of a potential ADP client.
“We researched ADP — what they do, their services, how they work, the problems they fix — and then we began to create a need assessment, which is basically a set of questions that allows us to find out more about our client,” McCardle said. “This was nerve-racking, but also very excited because it’s kind of like figuring out a puzzle.”
McCardle said participating the competition helps her to feel confident about going into the workforce, particularly after competing against “the best of the best.”
Dominique Villsenor and Victoria McDonald placed second and third, respectively. The students were coached by Assistant Professor Emily Tanner. Villsenor just received a job offer at Gartner, McDonald is a sales manager for American Eagle, and McCoy already has a sales internship as a sophomore.
The Professional Sales minor is tailored toward students in both the marketing and hospitality and tourism management programs that hope to land a career in sales after graduation.
CONTACT: Brittany Murray
Senior Writer, Office of Strategic Communications
John Chambers College of Business and Economics
(304) 293-5927; email@example.com
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