The USA has been foremost in developing and promoting sales competitions for university graduates. However, this dominance is quietly being challenged by the Europeans and universities across South East Asia.
There are different factors at play across the world as well as alternative pedagogical approaches. This article discusses the challenges of organising a sales competition, recent research in the impact on students and observations about cultural differences.
Sales competitions are business-to-business role-play events, where an experienced industry buyer is matched up with a sales education student in a ‘live’ interactive selling experience. Observing the interactions are judges from industry and academia. The ‘business case’ may be imaginary or, more often, based on a real case developed from a sponsoring company. Students may be selling anything from software, recruitment services or even aeroplanes.
The success of the European Sales Competition (ESC) and South East Asian Sales competition (SEASAC) depends on cooperation between business and academia. This discussion is from just three seasoned stalwarts from the many hundreds involved in these events. They are: Dr Colin Mackenzie, previous head judge for the UK competition, a buyer and judge in the SEASAC and ESC. Johannes Reiterer, Competition Director for ESC 2020, and Dr Alexander Bauer, judge, buyer and co-researcher with Johannes Reiterer on the impact of sales competitions on sales students. All of these academic-practitioners have extensive sales backgrounds.
Mackenzie, C., Bauer, A. C., & Reiterer, J. (2022). Learning Through Competition. International Journal of Sales Transformation, 8(1), 11-12