Dancing with the Sales Stars
On 16–19 November 2020, Turku University of Applied Sciences organized the Turku Sales Week event online. During the Sales Week, the 15th Turku Sales Competition, 2nd Best Virtual Seller competition and Sales Academy day were arranged for over 300 participants.
Text: Timo Holopainen and Sanna Vauranoja
On November 16–19, School of Entrepreneurship and Sales from Turku University of Applied Sciences organized Turku Sales Week, which featured the Turku Sales Competition (TSC, carried out in English), Best Virtual Seller (BVS, in Finnish) and the Sales Academy day in English and Finnish. Over 300 people participated in the Sales Week events.
Turku University of Applied Sciences is one of the most active higher education institutions in terms of sales education in Europe. This has been demonstrated in year 2020 by organizing four online sales competitions, creating the Sales Academy day conducted in English and Finnish and creating a website, which is aimed at improving the appreciation of sales.
International sales skills
In Turku Sales Competition, 35 contestants from nine different countries sold a mathematics learning environment developed by the company Four Ferries.
“The competition was a very enjoyable and inspiring experience for us. It was great to see which approaches the students highlighted, and which issues caused some uncertainty. With this information, we can enhance our marketing. It was awesome how divergent the sales styles were, and I noticed that when the salespersons dare to be themselves, their confidence grows. I’m sure that the students got a very educational experience, and if they are brave enough to watch their own and others’ recordings and analyze what was working and what wasn’t, very good salespeople will grow out of this”, says Ida Rönnlund, the CEO of Four Ferries, who acted as the buyer in the competition finale.
The winner of Turku Sales Competition was Angelina Getmanchuk, who is a student from OTH Regensburg and an exchange student at Turku UAS. The other finalists were Veronika Gaßner, Basel Al Adib and Fathimah Nur Shabrina.
“The sales competition was a brilliant experience, and it also boosted my self-confidence. I recommend participation to everyone, as it was a great experience, which also superbly supports my development”, says Angelina Getmanchuk.
No! Why are people so annoyed by sales?
The theme of the Sales Academy day, organized for the first time, was “No! Why are people so annoyed by sales?” During the day, the topics included the contingency planning of Austrian companies, the “soft skills” needed in sales, success stories in sales and marketing, the importance of a personal branding, the culture of international sales in the marine industry, well-being at work and the impacts of the coronavirus on the everyday work of salespeople.
The day was concluded with a panel discussion on the cultural differences related to international sales. The panelists included Erno Väyrynen from Spin18 Oy, who has lived in the United States, Esa Jokioinen from Deltamarin Oy, who is very familiar with the Nordic countries and China, and Jaana Kallio-Gerlander from Turku University of Applied Sciences, who has become familiar with the Japanese business culture.
“It was an exceptionally interesting and inspiring day! I learned so much and participating in the panel discussion was a very pleasant experience”, says Head of Education and Research Jaana Kallio-Gerlander from Turku UAS.
The strongest salesperson in the virtual age
In Best Virtual Seller, which was now organized for the second time, 15 contestants met Maija Lehtinen, imaginary person created for the competition, when selling printing solutions of company WellBit.
“The finale was an experience in itself, but it was also great to see how new sales skills are taught at Turku UAS, in an obviously practical manner. These kinds of events should be organized more often because all parties can gain some new ideas from this. In sales, running towards the customer with the product first is no longer the most important thing; instead, you have to map the situation in a need-based and solution-oriented manner”, says Essi Moisio, the Key Account Manager, Wellbit.
The finalists were Lauri Nieminen, Santeri Sillanaukee, Jaakko-Petteri Mäki and Jenna Holopainen. From amongst them, the judges declared Santeri Sillanaukee as the winner.
“The competition was a fun and educational experience, which provided the opportunity to test my own sales skills in a realistic environment”, Santeri Sillanaukee thanks the organizers of the competition.
Henri Untinen, a professional in B2B sales, who acted as a buyer in both competitions, compares them as follows: “In Turku Sales Competition, cultural differences were tangible and in Best Virtual Seller, the competitors possessed good knowledge of the product’s technical qualities. Knowing your own company is an issue everyone should strengthen”.
“Sales competitions are an excellent pedagogical method. In them, a sales interaction situation, which is as realistic as possible, can be enabled for the student with real products”, states Principal Lecturer in Sales and the Director of the TSC Competition, Timo Holopainen.
“It has been awesome to follow the students’ learning experiences both during the competition and as a judge. Afterwards, no-one has said that I shouldn’t have entered the contest”, the Director of the BVS competition and Degree Programme Leader Sanna Vauranoja rejoices.
Best Virtual Seller will return in spring 2021, on 8 April, and Turku Sales Competition will take place on 12–13 April.
Turku UAS’ Rector and President Vesa Taatila comments on the competitions as follows: “It is a joy to see our students demonstrate this level of competence. Virtual competitions enable participation from around the world and coach our students for virtual sales in the future.”
Views on sales
Turku Sales Academy offers topical views on sales, sales competence and trainings. We are a part of the operations of Turku University of Applied Sciences. Would you like to develop your sales competence, experience growth in sales or have a development project made by students? Or would you like to participate in sales-related events or be a part of a research and development project? Find out more at MyyntiAkatemia