With most of the odds stacked against them, a group of four sales students from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside captured first place at the 2013 National Team Selling Competition, besting 20 student teams from schools across the country and overcoming their reputation as the underdog.
The sales competition, held in October at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business in Bloomington, Ind., drew undergraduate sales students from leading schools including Baylor University, Michigan State University, Syracuse University, Northern Illinois University and UW-Madison.
The UW-Parkside team that took first this past year has participated in the competition since 2009 but, before their victory, had never placed among the top five sales groups.
During the 2013 competition, the team, which included students Joshua Frazier, Carlyse Mayfield, Jeremy Mishork and Nathan Whittaker, aimed to at very least place higher than in past years.
The annual team selling competition, a two-day event, features role-playing scenarios in which employees from Altria Group Distribution Company and 3M Corporation act as buyers and senior management and also judge students’ performances. The competition challenges sales students with high-level team-selling simulations.
“This was the competition I wanted to do,” Frazier said. “Team and complex sales are the future of large B2B sales.”
UW-Parkside completed the first round of the competition smoothly, but while preparing for the second day of presentations the group of students realized some of their facts and figures were incorrect.
They worked through the night to pull their first-place presentation together, staying up all hours, even after being labeled the underdog by other student teams.
“We fed off each other’s confidence,” Mayfield said. “We motivated each other. As a highly competitive group, there was no way we were going to get this far to give up. We still had a lot to prove.”
Their presentation resulted in positive feedback from the judges and, ultimately, the title of first.
Each of the four student’s work ethic and persistence to rise to the top brings pride to the entire UW-Parkside campus community, said Dr. Peter Knight, team coach and co-chair of the UW-Parkside Business Department.
“The tireless work reflects the drive to excel of these students,” Knight said. “We have produced some excellent sales students in the past five years, but this group was truly special.”