New Vlerick initiatives to professionalise Sales
Even though so many people work in a sales function, there is a significant lack of specific sales education in Belgium. Sales is often regarded, erroneously, as marketing’s little brother. That’s why Vlerick has been launching a number of special initiatives to further professionalise Sales as a field of study as well as a career choice. The ultimate goal is to establish a Vlerick Centre of Excellence in Sales.
These initiatives rest on two main pillars. First of all, the intention is to develop more knowledge via specific academic and applied research projects. Then, Vlerick wants to share that accumulated knowledge with the people for whom it is relevant.
From clubs to contests
In February, the very first edition of the Sales Management Forum took place – this event for sales professionals featured various talks on sales management of the future. Investments are also being made in the development of new company-specific programmes for sales departments and professionals. The Sales Club is new as well: an online community and blog focused on sales, where current students and alumni can exchange thoughts and ideas. In addition, the team behind the Sales Club is also organising a Guest Speaker Series with hands-on experts, and a series of workshops around the sales profession in practice. To complete the practical experience, a genuine sales competition is organised during the Masters in Marketing Management programme, in which the students, in groups of two, must try to sell the iPad as a new product. The best student pair from the previous competition travelled to the US to participate in the largest international sales competition of its kind – and they won 3rd place!
The driving force behind all of these initiatives is Vlerick Professor Deva Rangarajan who has been specialising for years in everything that has to do with sales. He is also representing Belgium in the Global Sales Science Institute, where he will submit a proposal for organising a European sales competition similar to that held in the US.