New European Sales competition wants to be the start of real sales education in Europe
After the example of the National Collegiate Sales Competition in the US Vlerick Business School together with a consortium of 3 other universities and 1 technology park has launched a new sales competition at a European level. The first edition will take place on 5 and 6 June 2014 in Poznan (Poland).
With this initiative Vlerick and its partner schools are pioneering since no other similar competition exists in Europe up until now. The objective is to bring students from different countries throughout Europe together, offering them a challenging competition where they have to compete with some of the best European sales talents.
One of the driving forces behind this whole idea is Deva Rangarajan, Vlerick professor of Sales Management. “With this competition we aim to fill the gap in sales education among students in Europe by creating a new pan-European Sales Alliance across universities and bringing European students' sales skills to the next level. We really want to put sales on the map in Europe. For this first edition we have received funding from the European Union in combination with a contribution from the partner schools. For 2015 we want to attract additional universities and sponsors in order for the competition to be guaranteed in the future.”
Lack of qualified sales talent
Recent study undertaken at Vlerick Business School with 40 sales directors of multinationals indicated a clear lack of qualified sales talent at undergraduate level. According to Deva the reason for this is obvious: “There is no structured sales education and training and more importantly a semi-standardised sales curriculum across European universities. There has also been an over-reliance on the US model of selling, which was not built for European complexity and challenges in the sales situation.”
Broader understanding of cultural issues in sales is where the set-up of a European Sales Competition can help, especially by bridging cultures and exposing participants from different countries to each other’s cultural mind-set on sales practices. This can also help the participants to understand different buyer methodologies used in different countries.
A consortium committed to one common goal
The organising party behind the European Sales competition consists of Vlerick Business School, Turku University of Applied Sciences (Finland), HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences (Finland), University of Applied Sciences in Wiener Neustadt (Austria) and Nickel Technology Park Poznan (Poland). Together they want to make sales top of mind both with European students as well as with global professionals interested in recruiting these students. Almost all members have close links to the business community as well, to help develop and facilitate a curriculum that is both academically rigorous and practically relevant.