Sales Education Foundation makes WSU Vancouver on top university sales program list
The professional sales certificate program in the College of Business at Washington State University Vancouver has been named one of the 2013 Top University Sales Programs by the Sales Education Foundation. WSU Vancouver’s program was recognized for preparing students for professional sales careers and placing top talent in professional sales roles.
The Sales Education Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes the sales profession through college and university programs, reports that more than 50 percent of college students in the United States enter sales careers, and many fail due to lack of professional preparation. Universities with professional sales programs are receiving significant attention from companies for successful hiring.
To earn a place on the Top University Sales Programs list, the Sales Education Foundation looks for programs that offer a minimum requirement of three sales-specific courses, university recognition for individuals completing their program, and the opportunity for internships. Most provide sales in the form of a certificate, concentration or minor to students from a diverse list of majors.
To earn a professional sales certificate at WSU Vancouver, students complete courses in marketing, professional sales, sales management, business-to-business marketing and negotiations. The courses are applied and interactive. Students complete sales and negotiation role plays, and shadow professional salespeople. Graduates of the program are in great demand, often entertaining multiple employment offers.
According to Howard Stevens, cofounder and chairman of the board of Chally Group Worldwide, a sales research firm, “We are happy to see that each year a growing number of universities are offering sales programs because their graduates average 50 percent faster ramp-up time and 30 percent decreased turnover.”
In high demand
“I see a huge difference in the quality of applicant after they have attended the sales course,” said Erika Donaldson, sales supervisor for Nautilus Inc. “I think that it gives students a lot of confidence. It teaches them skills that are not only good for sales, but great for any industry.”
WSU Vancouver’s professional sales certificate program has gained national notoriety through fine performances by students at the Western States Collegiate Sales Competition and the National Collegiate Sales Competition.
Twenty-nine students from 10 colleges competed in the Western States Collegiate Sales Competition last April at Chico State University in California. The WSU Vancouver team won third runner-up overall. Two students represented WSU Vancouver at the National Collegiate Sales Competition in Kennesaw, Ga. last March. Both performed well and narrowly missed qualifying for the quarter finals.
Donaldson has participated as a judge in WSU Vancouver’s sales competition for the past three years. She has mirrored Nautilus’s new-hire sales test after the appraisal judges use in the competition. Nautilus has hired one of WSU Vancouver’s sales program graduates so far. The fitness company is currently hiring sales positions and two more WSU Vancouver alumni will be interviewing for an opportunity to join the Nautilus team.
2013 graduates of the professional sales certificate program have been hired by some of the top sales organizations in the area including: ACS Professional Staffing, Alpha Broadcasting, Boeing, Consolidated Electrical Distributors, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Nautilus, Northwestern Mutual, Tom James Clothiers, U.S. Bank and Zones, Inc.
The professional sales certificate program has benefitted greatly from local business-community involvement. Local sales professionals have served as guest speakers, competition judges, career fair exhibitors and members of the Professional Sales Advisory Task Force.
The professional sales certificate program is directed by Ron Pimentel, clinical assistant professor of marketing and faculty director of professional sales; and Alberto Sa Vinhas, assistant professor of marketing.
This article appears in the Fall 2013 issue of NW Crimson & Gray Magazine
NW Crimson & Gray magazine is a quarterly magazine produced by Washington State University Vancouver that highlights the WSU Vancouver community and higher education in SW Washington. Subscribe for free or download the issue online.