Bryant’s Sales Team had a busy fall, beginning with the annual Northeast Intercollegiate Sales Competition (NISC) Nov. 2-3, 2018, hosting some 400 students, faculty and staff from institutions across North America. They gathered on the Bryant campus for the competition that featured opportunities for students to showcase and hone their sales skills, and to interact with representatives from sponsor organizations.
The Bryant team made an impressive showing, winning all the foreign-language speed sell contests, and tying with Southern New Hampshire University for fourth place in the overall competition.
“Technology is changing the landscape for sales. It’s taking away some sales jobs, but it’s also providing tools so that sales people can do their jobs that much better.”
Shortly after NISC ended, six members of the team headed from Smithfield to Orlando, FL, for the International Collegiate Sales Competition (ICSC) hosted by Florida State University. There, they participated in similar contests of sales skills with students from 86 colleges and universities. The Bryant team placed 12th among the field, with Nicholas Garrigan ’19 receiving ninth place individually.
The competitions, according to Associate Professor and NISC Founder and Director Stefanie Boyer, Ph.D., are not only a great way for students to advance their skills, but also to network with sponsoring organizations eager to recruit top-tier sales talent. Occasionally, she says, students will even walk away from a competition with a job offer in hand.
“This year was probably the most competitive ever,” Boyer said, referring to the amount of effort put in by students and coaches at NISC and ICSC, which she said impressed her this year. “Everybody wants to win, but they’ve all won because they’ve all learned, and they’ve all gotten feedback, and they’re getting job interviews.”
Madison L. Gifford ’19, a marketing major, says she never saw herself in sales. Until, that is, she entered the 2017 NISC as a part of Professor Boyer’s Personal Selling class and eventually ended up with the grand prize. Now, she says she’s entertaining recruitment opportunities in the sales field because of what her training has exposed her to.
“The skills I’ve learned apply to so many different aspects of business,” Gifford says. “It has made me a better business student and a better business professional overall. I never imagined taking a Personal Selling class in my junior year would do that for me!” Now she recommends that all students take at least one sales class, even if it has nothing to do with their major.
Sales Symposium to debut at Bryant campus
Bryant will host the inaugural Sales Symposium, featuring a special training and panel discussion on Digital Disruption, Thursday, November 29, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Speakers will share insights about how to use new technology to stay informed and ahead of the curve of big data and technology, and the impact these are having on the field of sales.
“Technology is changing the landscape for sales. It’s taking away some sales jobs, but it’s also providing tools so that sales people can do their jobs that much better,” explains Boyer, who will moderate the discussion.
Panelists will include Bruce Richardson, Chief Enterprise Strategist, Salesforce.com; Steve Sadler, Director of Sales Enablement, Dell; Steve Shelgren, Microsoft Alliance Business Development Regional Leader, EY; and Jaime Diglio '00, Founder, BeInFirst Coaching and Consulting. Boyer hopes that the event will be held each year going forward.
December event to focus on high school students
For the second time this year, the University will host the Bryant Sales Discovery Program, which brings local high school students to campus for a Saturday morning. The first half of the December event will be spent coaching them on executive presence and how to communicate effectively in a professional setting.
The second half of the event is a speed-sell competition similar to those held at the collegiate level, with the Bryant Sales Team students offering the high school students coaching feedback. The high school students will receive a certificate for their participation and the best competitors will receive prizes.
“It’s teaching younger students how to engage those professional skills,” Boyer says. “We’re advancing the sales profession and teaching younger students what a great profession it is. We’re showing them how many opportunities there are to excel, and that Bryant offers them a great opportunity if it’s something they want to pursue.”