2021, University of Applied Sciences of Turku, Finland

How was the very first virtual European Sales Competition (ESC) 2020? An interview with competition director Johannes Reiterer

ESC: Johannes, you, and your team organized the ESC for the first time. How have you been for the past few months, weeks, and days?

Johannes Reiterer (JR): Very exciting. The organisation of a virtual sales competition requires a detailed workplan. Especially the set up of the online platform was challenging.  The cooperation with our sponsors and partner organisation like the digital agency “link instinct” went well.

ESC: In your opinion, how do you differentiate between a sales competition offline and online?

JR: Meeting students, professors, keynote speakers and companies from different countries is a very important element of an offline competition. It is very difficult to transfer the atmosphere of such an event to an online environment. Nevertheless, a specific learning effect for the students through the competition is still given. Sales is done primarily online at the moment. Online sales negotiations will be essential elements from the job future sales representatives.

ESC: You already have a lot of experience with sales competitions. In your opinion, what are the most important skills that sales students and prospective sales managers learn through a virtual sales competition?

JR: There are several competencies from students which can be enhanced through an online competition. First, students learn how to behave in an online environment. They identify the relevance of minor visual elements, like the positioning of  the camera, using the right light for a conversation, etc.

On the other hand, students learn to improve their communication skills.  They learn to ask relevant questions, to identify potential problems from a customer and they learn to present a product in an online environment.

ESC: There was also an extensive program of lectures at ESC 2020. How was that accepted and what were the highlights?

JR: In total, 10 key notes speeches were scheduled during the competition. Up to 90 people participated in these key note speeches. Highlights were key notes from Jiri Siklar about the art of storytelling, resilience in sales from Karl Pinczolits and Visual Selling from Marko Hamel. Our sponsors, Salesforce, Palo Alto and Gartner supported us with key note speeches as well. The feedback to those presentations was really good as well

ESC: Does the mixture of competition, lecture program for students and professors and networking make the ESC so attractive?

JR: Yes, the ESC was developed further to an event for experts in business-to-business sales. Such activities add value to the event and it enhances the opportunities to educate students in the area of sales

ESC: Last question – what is next, will there be other sales competitions besides the ESC? Maybe the “Sales Worldmasters”?

JR: Good question. A sales world cup sounds great. Let’s have a look.

ESC: We thank you for the interview and wish you and your team many more exciting sales competitions.

Mag. (FH) Johannes Reiterer Bed. MA (Competition Director)

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