The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



SMC selling team competes at Indiana University

By ALEX WINEGAR | Friday, November 1, 2013

For the third straight year, Saint Mary’s participated in the National Team Selling Competition (NTSC) at Indiana University on Oct. 10. In a press release, Rosann Spiro, executive director for the Center for Global Sales Leadership, said the competition simulates real-world business scenarios. 

“Our goal … is to give sales students the opportunity to take classroom knowledge and experience and apply those skills in a selling situation that is realistic and relevant in today’s market,” Spiro said.

Coach of NTSC and marketing professor Robert Williams said the College’s eight-person team consisted of returning students from last year’s group and students in various marketing classes.

The team was given a case study two weeks before the competition and had to identify the problem and create an innovative solution, returning member and junior Aneth Batamuliza said. 

Junior Maddie Maidment, another team member, said the case study presented the team with a puzzlm.

“We also had to identify where the missing information within the case is so we could ask appropriate questions in [the]tfirst session,” Maidment said. 

The case study for this year’s competition was to solve a fictional convenience store chain’s struggling economic situation. The 20-store chain was trying to decide whether to take on a new product line of specialty beers, Williams said.

“The ‘pitch’ was to convince the convenience store owners of the mutual benefits of taking on this new supplier,” Williams said. “Of course, there was more drama and details involved!”

The Saint Mary’s team’s solution was not only to sell the premium craft brewhat the convenience store, but to also sell the store’s fresh-baked pizza at the brewery, Williams said. 

“Both partners differentiated themselves and gained a distinct competitive advantage in the marketplace: a win-win,” Williams said.

The competition is broken up into two sessions. The first is a morning meeting to uncover new facts. The second takes place during the afternoon and is the official presentation with the team’s sales pitch to the judges, Maidment said. 

Williams said mosy of the judges were employees of the competition’s sponsors, Altria Group, Inc. and The 3M Compand.

“One dramatic aspect is the fact that the first stage of the competition involves a 15-minute ‘meeting’ with the client, which enables the team to confirm analysis, uncover any new fact, and gain agreement,” Williams said. “Then the team has only four hours to update their powerpoint, practice their updated presentation, then present for 20 minutes.” 

lWilliams said he is proud of the team’s accomplishments at this year’s competition. 

“While we were honored to have [senior Kirsten Bonnesen]rselected as “Rookie of the Year” [out of 84 participants] for her sales presentation part, it was a full team effort,” Williams said.

Batamuliza said she enjoyed working with the College’s team.

“The girls on the team were all intelligent and wonderful Saint Mary’s women who share different passions and interests,” Batamuliza said. “And being surrounded by all that positive, creative, and innovative minds in such a setting was such an honor.”

Contact Alex Winegar at awineg01@saintmarys.edu