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Friday, May 29, 2020

Academics & Research

Bauer’s undergraduate professional sales program transitions to virtual selling, quotas


The C.T. Bauer College Business' Program in Excellence in Selling has been forced to adapt to its new virtual landscape as the coronavirus pandemic continues. | File Photo

The C.T. Bauer College Business’ Program in Excellence in Selling has been forced to adapt to its new virtual landscape as the coronavirus pandemic continues. | File Photo

In light of the new coronavirus outbreak, Program for Excellence in Selling students are transferring to an online version of the program without a reduction to their required sales quotas, one of their main selling responsibilities.

Each year, up to 160 applicants are selected from a pool of  hundreds of candidates to participate in PES, an undergraduate initiative hosted under the Stephen Stagner Sales Excellence Institute. One of PES’s primary program focuses is to give students real world selling experiences, traditionally employed set selling quotas assigned to the respective courses.

In marketing and management junior Alexandra Trevino’s case, she had achieved her personal selling quota prior to the coronavirus pandemic and did not have to worry about adjusting to the new sales environment.

However, Trevino did experience the impact of the coronavirus as she watched her classmates struggle.

“I had already met my quota so I was chilling, but I was definitely stressed on behalf of my peers who were still struggling to meet quota,” Trevino said.

A benefit of participating in PES is the opportunity to network with various companies in a professional setting. Trevino found the digital barrier between students and companies made it more difficult to build connections because of the inability for in-person interactions.

“We also typically had weekly luncheons and socials hosted by partner companies, and for the last month or so we had to move those online,” Trevino said. “I do feel like I missed out on an opportunity to truly network with my dream company because they were forced to do a virtual presentation, making it harder to interact.”

Throughout the program, students are required to take advanced professional selling, customer relationship management and personal branding courses in their first semester. Second semester PES students are required to take sales management, digital sales and key account selling. 

These are the classes where students practice selling and working towards quota. Students are expected to secure jacket sponsors, technology sponsorships, sponsorships for the semi-annual golf tournament, recruiting booths for career fairs and program partnerships.

Without the option to meet in person, some of these events had to be rescheduled or offered in a remote platform.

“The golf tournament wasn’t held; we offered rain checks for all players and refunds to all customers and the career fair had to be hosted online,” Trevino said.

In the future amounts of advertising products available will be adjusted, creating a different set of obstacles for PES students.

The maximum number of advertising products like promotional tables available for the golf tournament will be smaller,” Trevino said. “This means that first semester students will have to work a little harder, but overall we expect to host an amazing tournament.”

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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