Friday, December 4, 2009

Business Students Place Second in National Team Selling Competition

Students in the Florida A&M University (FAMU) School of Business and Industry (SBI) won second place in the Indiana University (IU) Kelly School of Business Center for Global Sales Leadership National Team Selling Competition.

Team members Nicole Crowell, Ashley Alfred, Daniel Murff and Darriel Brown beat out teams from institutions like Indiana University, Penn State University and the University of Toledo. This was the first time FAMU entered the competition.

Following the competition, each member of the team was offered a full-time, selling position at Altria Sales and Distribution, Inc.

“I was thrilled because I knew my team had done a great job, but when I found out that we won second place it validated our performance,” said Alfred, a fourth-year business administration student with a concentration in marketing from Houston, Texas.

“Finding out we won second place was unbelievable,” said Murff, a graduating senior, business administration student from Indianapolis, Ind. “The chance to represent the university in a setting like that was an honor.”

Roscoe Hightower, Jr., associate professor for SBI, served as the advisor for the team and developed a theme for them while they prepared for the competition, “Tenacity plus Preparation plus Conviction equals Unlimited Success.”

“The team had to make personal sacrifices in order to maintain their scholarly efforts as FAMU students while at the same time prepare and fully understand these business cases that pertain to everything they are exposed to in business,” Hightower said.

According to Hightower, one of the largest deciding factors that differentiated FAMU from the other institutions was the students’ ability to “critically think” and apply their knowledge during a pressure situation.

According to Brown, a senior, business administration student from Lakeland, Fla., the team utilized team-building skills they acquired as students in SBI.

“Once we put those teamwork and communication skills to work, we discovered our strong and weak points and we could prepare better for the competition,” he said.

Fellow teammate Crowell, a junior business administration student from Stockton, Calif., said “the team was looked at as the underdogs.”

“This was really one of the greatest experiences ever,” she said. “Being in Indiana, around so many top institutions, many were surprised when we came in second place. I’m vey proud of the work that we put in.”

Each team role played as a fictional Caldaco National Account Supermarket Team whose goal was to introduce a new product, “Foco” brand energy drink, to the fictional Get-a-Lot Supermarket chain. The team had to convince a buyer to accept this new product in a morning appointment limited to 15 minutes. If the buyers accepted the proposal, then a follow up afternoon appointment was scheduled with a group of vice presidents where the team made a sales presentation based on uncovered needs from the earlier appointment. The afternoon presentation was limited to 20 minutes. The teams’ presentations were taped for them to review their performance later and judges provided detailed feedback on each team’s performance.

About the Center for Global Sales Leadership National Team Selling Competition
For three years in a row, the Center for Global Sales Leadership has hosted the National Team Selling Competition "Can't Beat the Experience!" at the Kelly School of Business on the IU Bloomington campus. This annual event is sponsored by Altria Sales and Distribution.

The event was launched as part of IU’s ongoing commitment to prepare today's sales students for the world of work. In today's fast-paced sales world, more companies are turning to a team selling or team consulting approach to their major accounts.

The competition attracts top teams of undergraduate sales students from America's leading universities who wish to pursue high-level, complex sales with an opportunity to practice team-selling simulations. Altria Sales and Distribution employees role play the position of buyers and senior management and also serve as judges.

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