BGSU sales competition connects students to jobs
Starting with 46 students in September, the selection process narrowed the competitors to the top 13. These finalists competed in a more-involved role play based on the event’s premier sponsor, Marathon Petroleum Company LP (MPC). In fact, over 25 companies participated in this event. They not only judged the student role plays, they also recruited them for full-time jobs and internships. The winning students were announced at the Sales Awards Banquet on November 9 with the top two advancing to the National Collegiate Sales Competition.
First place went to Derwin Pritchett, a junior marketing student, pictured center, with senior marketing student Sara Scacchi capturing second place, and junior Collin Newton placing third. Pritchett and Scacchi will advance to the National Collegiate Sales Competition, with Newton, a sales and service marketing and business analytics student, serving as an alternate. Besides earning the prestigious title, the top three winners also earned scholarships -$1,000, $500, and $150 respectively.
The BGSU Sales Competition develops critical oral communication and problem-solving skills that are relevant to all business careers, according to Dr. Greg Rich, the BGSU sales coach. He adds that most students sign up for this competition because it connects them to the participating companies at the Professional Selling Job Fair that immediately precedes the banquet. This year, about 120 students – including both the competitors and other sales-oriented students – interacted with representatives from the companies at the job fair.
Marathon Petroleum has been the key sponsor of this event for fifteen years. In the final round of role plays, students sold a Marathon CentsOff card program to a carwash owner who was portrayed by TJ Noonan, an MPC employee who is the program’s coordinator.
The keynote speaker at the Awards Banquet was William “Bill” McCleave, a 1982 BGSU alumnus who is Director of Brand Marketing at Marathon Petroleum. Based on his past experiences, McCleave shared with the audience that if they use outdated methods to approach and engage customers, they were at risk of not being in business tomorrow.
McCleave concluded his remarks with two examples of how an organization can be successful through customer orientation and sales. Before presenting one’s product or service, salespeople must first and foremost build rapport with the customer and second, ensure they truly know the customer’s specific wants and needs. The second example related to building and leading a customer focused organization and the practices used for external sales are very applicable to internal business partners.
Dr. Rich, marketing department associate professor, was responsible for organizing the competition and banquet. He was assisted by marketing department faculty member Mearl Sutton who advises BGAMA, which is BGSU’s student chapter of the American Marketing Association.