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Giving the cream of UK sales talent the chance to shine

Posted: 6th February 2017

A NATIONAL contest launched by Edinburgh Napier University will again give young sales stars the chance to shine.

Talent from across the UK will gather in Dundee this month for the return of the university competition where selling skills are honed and students get feedback from corporate executives.

Scottish Sales Contest 2016

Abertay University will host the prestigious Salesforce Scottish Open Sales Competition 2017 in partnership with Edinburgh Napier, where the event was first piloted last year.

Universities from Scotland and England will be challenged to sell under real life conditions to major players including San Francisco-based software and enterprise firm Salesforce and banking giant RBS.

Last May’s event at Edinburgh Napier’s Business School was the first of its kind in the UK, with students taking on an Apprentice-style sales challenge as well as a speed selling exercise.

Now the next generation of business professionals from Edinburgh Napier, Abertay, Aberdeen University, Robert Gordon University, Dundee University, Sheffield Hallam University, Coventry University, Perth College UHI, St Andrews University and Glasgow Caledonian University are sharpening their sales tactics in preparation for the battle in Dundee on February 21 and 22.

The competition conference model is based on massive US sales events where up to 1,500 colleges regularly compete, and the winners will go head-to-head against the best in Europe at a contest at Edinburgh Napier this summer.

Sponsored by Salesforce, Royal Bank of Scotland, IT insights specialist Gartner, recruitment solutions firm Talented Scot, software company Zudu, and the Association of Professional Sales, the competition at Abertay is also a golden opportunity for businesses across Scotland to identify student sales talent with a view to employing future stars.

A role play session where students engage in a business to business seller-buyer meeting makes up one element and there will be a timed Speed Sell section to test nerves under pressure and also instill confidence in the students.

There will also be a range of talks and feedback sessions from industry experts over the two days and the event will culminate in a Gala Dinner.

Tony Douglas, of Edinburgh Napier Business School, said: “It is so important in today’s fast changing business environment that our University Business School students have the opportunity to learn and practice the important presentation, listening, questioning and negotiating skills that will help equip them for not just a job in sales but also introduce them to the opportunities for a career in sales.

“Large numbers of students leaving our Business Schools are destined for a sales-related first job in the real world – it is important that we assist them in finding meaningful employment on graduation.”

Dr Gary Mulholland of Abertay’s Dundee Business School said: “Working in the sales industry is both rewarding financially and personally and is a great way of meeting people.”

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Edinburgh Napier offers two degree programmes with a sales element, and an advisory group drawn from industry helps develop the teaching agenda.

The university recently announced that it had added world-renowned sales expert Neil Rackham to its academic staff as a Visiting Professor in Strategic Selling.

Pictured: The image shows Edinburgh Napier student Andrew Dailly, who came top in last year’s Speed Sell event, with the university’s Tony Douglas (left) and Craig Jackson of Talented/Edgar Stewart.

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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