Sales Articles

European Sales Competition 2024 – The largest international sales competition in Europe 

Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences has organized the largest European Sales Competition to date from 22 to 24 May 2024 in Helsinki, Finland. The competition was held for the 10th time, and it brought together 81 students from 27 universities in 12 countries across Europe, the US, and Asia for three days of intense competition, networking, and learning.  

The competition, sponsored by leading companies such as Management Events, TeamViewer, Serious Games.Studio, Gartner, Lindström, and iMotions, highlighted the best and brightest in sales talent and innovation. 

As the main cooperation partner of the competition, Management Events provided the solution the students sold during the competition to the buyer company, TeamViewer 

Day 1: A Grand Beginning 

The competition kicked off with a warm reception and registration, where participants had the opportunity to meet their peers and build initial connections. The Grand Opening ceremony set a positive and enthusiastic tone for the event, welcoming all participants and outlining the exciting days ahead. 

While competitors had already sent their first-round video pitches beforehand, the highlight of the day was the first face-to-face sales negotiation in round 2 of the competition. In this round they had a 20-minute call with a potential client, TeamViewer, and their task was to qualify if it makes sense for the prospect to work together with Management Events. Competitors showcased their skills and strategies in challenging sales scenarios designed to test their sales acumen. The day concluded with a delightful dinner, offering a perfect setting for participants to unwind and network, sharing their experiences and expectations for the days to come. 

Day 2: Collaboration and Competition 

Day 2 began with team assignments and presentations. Participants were grouped into teams, where they collaborated to develop and present innovative strategies on how to create exceptional customer experience from the moment a taxi drops the CEO of TeamViewer to Pasila campus to the moment he will sit in Pasila Auditorium to participate an event. This exercise not only tested their teamwork and creativity but also their ability to communicate and work effectively. The teams presented their insightful ideas in the Pasila Campus Auditorium to the audience, which included other teams and judges. 

The next round of sales negotiations in the afternoon was a highlight of the day, with participants demonstrating resilience and adaptability in high-pressure situations. The competitors’ task was to showcase Management Events’ service, build a strong business case and learn everything needed to make the deal. The competitive spirit was palpable, with each participant striving to advance to the final round.  

The day wrapped up with another networking dinner at Little Finlandia, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie among participants, judges, and company partners. At the dinner the four finalists to advance to the next round of sales negotiations were announced. The finalists were Bakir Torkman (California State University Chico, USA), Sem Angenent (HAN University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands), Kristen Chatham (California State University Chico, USA) and Artem Kislukhin (Haaga-Helia, Finland). 

Day 3: The Grand Finale 

The final day of the competition was nothing short of spectacular. The day began with the last and most intense round of sales negotiations. The finalists had an hour to prepare for their last performance and a vast audience gathered to watch the final sales negotiations in the auditorium. In the last round, the finalists met with the CMO and CFO of TeamViewer, and their task was to close the deal. Finalists gave their all, knowing that their performance would determine the winner. The competition was fierce, and the judges, who represented sponsors, other companies, and universities, were impressed by the high level of talent and preparation. 

After the final negotiations, participants had the opportunity to meet and network with the company partners. This time was invaluable, providing insights into the sales industry and potential career opportunities. It also allowed participants to showcase their skills and make lasting professional connections. 

The event concluded with the announcement of the winner, who this year is Sem Angenent from HAN University of Applied Sciences (the Netherlands). 


The European Sales Competition 2024 was a resounding success, filled with networking, learning, and fun. The event provided a platform for students to challenge themselves, develop their skills, and forge meaningful connections. The dedication and enthusiasm of all participants, judges, and sponsors made this an unforgettable experience. As we await for the competition again next year, hosted by FH Campus 02 in Graz, Austria, we celebrate the spirit of competition and the bright future of sales talent globally. 

Thank you to everyone who made the European Sales Competition 2024 an outstanding success! 

ESC – European Sales Competition 2022

What is European sales competition?

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Since March 2020, B2B customer sales meetings have faced major changes, as the sudden Covid-19 pandemic caused face to face meetings to move into a fully virtual world. Customers as well as salespeople must have learned new ways to work together and communicate in a virtual environment. The change has affected the customer experience, the purchasing process and enabled different practices between both the customer and the salespeople.

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Role-playing based B2B sales practice improves learning in Entrepreneurship Education

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Artificial Intelligence in Sales: Chatbots and Customer Profiles

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Sales competition enables a career boost for sales students

Turku UAS, Finland, is the most active organizer of sales competitions in Europe. In Turku UAS, sales competitions have been organized since 2011. Originally designed to take place on site, the competitions were adapted to the omni sales situations with both an online and an onsite sales interactions. In spring 2023, the Turku UAS arranged two competition’s with totally 650 participants, where the qualifying rounds took place online and the finals on site.

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European Sales Competition 2021 boosted employment possibilities

Probably the largest event for sales educators in Europe on 2021 – the European Sales Competition ESC 2021 – was held on November 17th-19th 2021 in a virtual meeting platform Tavata. Totally 60 competitors from 13 different countries – 10 European countries + invited visitors from Indonesia, Thailand and USA – competed in the 7th edition of the European Sales Competition. All competitors were students, representing 25 different higher education institutions.

The ESC 2021 event was launched to search and train top class future salespeople, capable for challenging international business-to-business (B2B) sales. All individual competitors’ performances were carried out as 20 minutes role-playing meetings, during which each competitor went through a typical international online B2B sales negotiation. The winner of the ESC 2021 was filtered through four eliminating competition rounds.

The top 4 competitors in the ESC 2021 were Sjoerd Smeltink from HAN University of Applied Sciences (the Netherlands); Taric Jahic from FHWien der WKW (Austria); Artur Schmal from Hochschule Aalen (Germany) and Andre Ostheimer from Technische Hochschule Aschaffenburg (Germany).

Totally 335 active participants – talented students and also great number of sales experts from universities and businesses – took part in 48 different events of the ESC 2021, like competition rooms, workshops, and keynote speeches. Most of the time, participants were hands-on involved as judges, buyers, or competitors as part of the developing sales role play scenario, which was all the line created in close cooperation with the 2021 Case company PinMeTo.

“It was a very exciting and interesting experience to see how competitors managed to do their research about PinMeTo and understand how to present its values throughout the competition. From business perspective, we got multiple new fresh point of views for our sales teams”, says Iiro Antero, Country Manager from PinMeTo.

European Sales Competition serves also as a cost-effective platform for fresh sales talent recruitment for cooperation partners. Additionally, it provides valuable opportunity for all participants to widen their professional networks in international settings. As a tangible impact, several competitors received immediate job offers from cooperation partners already during the competition.

“Shortly after the start of the event, I was contacted by two international ESC 2021 partner companies and at the end one more. Furthermore, my network on LinkedIn expanded by a considerable number of good new connections”, sums up finalist Andre Ostheimer.

Implementation of the ESC 2021 was enabled by Gold level cooperation partners Gartner, Shopify and Qualtrics Experience Management; Silver level partners LinkedIn, Tavata and Palo Alto Networks; and Bronze level partners The Academic Association of Sales Engineering (AASE) and StratX Simulations.

The ESC 2021 was hosted by the Turku University of Applied Sciences (Finland), and the Competition Director Timo Holopainen felt relief and satisfaction after the intensive event: “Real experts have it and several students get it always during competitions, namely passion towards sales. It motivates me to organize these very intensive and impactful events”.

“Quality of competitors was really high. In all competition rooms, our international panel of judges had to utilize their full observing and assessment capacity to find best performers“, summarizes the ESC 2021 Head Judge Harri Lappalainen from the Turku UAS.


Joy of Sales

“SEX sells” is a common saying in advertising. However, the question remains

“Is selling sexy as well”?

In 2014, the Harvard Business Manager magazine featured an article by Phil Kreindler and Gopal Rajguru titled “The Crisis of Sellers.”

We interviewed 300 buyers who bought products or services worth at least $ 75,000 a year and asked them to rate the sellers ‘performance, and nearly half of the customers (45%) were dissatisfied with the sellers’ performance in B2B.” In a previous survey in 2004, only one in five customers (18 percent) was dissatisfied.

As sales manager, this finding should make you think. In particular since over the last years, an increasing investment on supporting sales functions with trainings and digitalization (i-pad, smartphone) occurred.

But what has changed?

Buyers have become more professional. Information is easier and faster to access. Most companies have a sophisticated purchasing process. Buying centers examine potential suppliers very carefully. Above all, the EXPECTATIONS of buyers on their business partners has increased immensely.

A social issue comes along with it – sellers have a rather low status among the population (in contrast to firefighters or doctors), as evidenced by a global GfK study from 2016.

Young people want to have a cool, sustainable and meaningful job. The work-life balance must be right – all signs that selling is not sexy, right?

Not quite!

Today, an increasing number of acquisitions take place on the internet. The unpleasant “cold calling” over the phone or in person does not work anymore.

Consequently, there is more focus on a professional appearance on social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, …) – a digital twin (avatar) represents the extension of my person. Networking and a digital understanding lead to more success than many calls each day.

The following attributes are crucial for a good seller today, like

  • Knowledge,
  • Curiosity,
  • Empathy,
  • Understanding
  • Connected thinking.

Selling today is an honest consulting at eye level. The prejudice that selling is all about quantity and hard selling belongs to the past.

It is all about interpersonal contact!

And isn’t it more fulfilling to be interested in other people and their business challenges and being able to help?

That’s exactly when humans find somebody “sexy” – to find someone who has an interest in oneself, emphatically reacts and supports me in my concerns and help.

Not for nothing do many people find firefighters “sexy”. Precisely because, they offer support and help, and we trust them.

Be a problem solver, be proud to help people – and become a “selling firefighter”!

(@Eigner A., 2019)

Sales Talk Articles from exchange students of Turku UAS:

From Sales Funnel
to Customer Journey

5 March 2021

The right handling
of Objections

3 March 2021