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It was a great honour that the European Ales Competition Association (ESCA) selected Edinburgh Napier Business School to host the 2017 European Sales Competition. Dr Tony Douglas, competition director, having participated at very successful and enjoyable competitions at both Vlerick Business School in Brussels in 2015 and Haaga-Helia/Turku UAS in Helsinki in 2016, did not underestimate the size of the challenge in hosting and delivering the European Sales Competition for 2017 in Edinburgh. Tony had a strong team of helpers to enable the careful planning and execution of the event – Suzanne Smith, Sharyn Wilde, Sharon Homan-James, Frank Martin, Colin Mackenzie, Barbara McCrory and many more.
It was Edinburgh Napier’s intention to respect the hard work undertaken by those who had gone before, but with the support of the ESCA Board to make the 2017 event a little bigger involving more partner Universities, more sales academics, coaches and students, together with additional activities over two, not one day. The mission was to enhance the opportunities for students of learning and honing further their selling and sales skills as well as improving the opportunity of employment in the sales sector by connecting them with company sponsors looking to engage the best students to take onto their programmes. Students competing represented 19 Universities across Europe from Scotland, England, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Holland, Belgium Norway and Finland. An added dimension was the attendance of students from Kansas State University, USA – where the Sales Competition idea first took hold.
Salesforce were the main product sponsor. In addition Oracle, Gartner, Textron, the Association of Professional Sales and several local and regional companies supported the Competition in cash and in kind (with their talented personnel) to enable the event to take place. The 2017 event offered a new dimension, students acting as salespeople for Salesforce interacted with ‘real’ Royal Bank of Scotland supply chain buyers, making the role plays more intense.
The 2017 event introduced a lively Speed Sell element that as an ice breaker loosened the tongues of everyone, giving ample opportunity for students to talk about what was special about them to prospective employers. On the day of the role plays, table talks took place by Salesforce and Oracle keeping all participants involved throughout the second day.
In all 60 students took part in the event, with 40 involved specifically in the role play element (5 streams of 8) which kept the judges very busy all morning. All students were given verbal feedback as well as a video of their role play from which to learn from and to improve.
5 finalists from each of the streams took part in the finals on the afternoon of the main day. These sales meetings were streamed live into Edinburgh Napier’s impressive ‘EGG’ Lecture theatre with streaming available to other students back in their home Universities.
The 5 finalists were:
Daisy Fagel from Euridis Business School , Matthew Saunders from The University of Portsmouth, Roy van Grinsven from Avans University of Applied Science, Rachel Kipper and Lanessa Aurand, both from Kansas State University.
The quality of the performance of these finalists was truly inspiring. It was a close run thing! The winner was Daisy Fagel from Euridis Business School in Paris and the runner place went to Lanessa Aurand from Kansas State.
Sales people work hard and play hard. The prize for everyone was a night out in the West End of Edinburgh at the famous Ghillie Dhu where neeps, tatties and haggis (traditional Scottish fayre) was served together with copious amounts of amber liquid followed by some traditional Scottish dancing – a ceilidh.
The baton was passed by Tony Douglas to Bernard Hasson of Euridis. We are looking forward to attending and competing at the 2018 European Sales Competition in Paris on 30th and 31st May.