Just in its fourth year of existence, Samford University’s professional sales concentration is already making a name for itself in the business world. Students in the Brock School of Business program and members of the Professional Sales National Competition Team have advanced to the final round of the inaugural AT&T B2B (business-to-business) National Sales Competition.
Members of the team include senior marketing majors Brooke Adams, David Ballew and Robert Donovan, senior marketing and finance major Brantley Taylor, and junior marketing major Lacy Caughel.
“One of the main purposes for AT&T to host this event is to recruit top sales talent from across the country,” said Clif Eason, assistant professor of marketing and leader of the professional sales concentration in Brock School of Business’ Department of Entrepreneurship, Management and Marketing. “This is great visibility for our young sales program. We’ve been able to rub elbows with some of the top sales programs in the country.”
The students engaged in a 45-minute video conference call role play on Sept. 25 in which they had to propose a solution for a suite of AT&T business productions including fleet management, workforce management and cybersecurity, to an AT&T executive representing a fictitious client. The team was only given a week and a half to understand the products they were selling to the client.
“The client did not try to make it an easy sell. They gave objections to the products that the students had to overcome,” Eason added. “Our students responded very well to the objections—they were very poised and showed true professionalism throughout the whole pitch.”
Thirty universities competed, but only 12 were chosen to continue to the final round which will take place at the AT&T headquarters in Dallas, Texas, on Oct. 18-20.
“At the finals in Dallas, the team will essentially have to ‘close the deal,’” Eason said.
Team member Robert Donovan said, “This has been a great competition to be a part of. It has been a really cool experience and it’s so rewarding to see all of our hard work come to fruition.”
“Throughout this process we were able to take what we have learned in the classroom and apply it to a real-life scenario,” team member Brooke Adams added.
This was the first time for the group to participate in a competition of this nature. In the spring, the team will also compete in the National Collegiate Sales Competition hosted by Kennesaw State University, the largest and oldest sales competition in the country.
“We are trying to help our students signal to prospective employers that they have more than book knowledge,” Eason closed. “The concentration and their experience, like this competition, will indicate that they are good communicators.”
The professional sales concentration helps students develop the essential sales skills that employers are looking for, while at the same time, exposing them to the tools and technologies that are critical to being successful in today’s business world. The concentration is continuously recognized by the Sales Education Foundation as a “Top University Sales Program.”