Professional sales students deliver as top PA team, among the best at International Collegiate Sales Competition

By Jaime North
Marketing and Communications

It was a memorable performance for a group of Bloomsburg University professional sales and marketing students who placed 14th out of 80 schools in the recent International Collegiate Sales Competition (ICSC), hosted virtually by Florida State University due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ohio State University won the overall World Cup of Sales competition, which reflects the combined scores of the sales management simulation, sales management case, and role-play competitions, as well as webinar points.

Bloomsburg — the top performing Pennsylvanian school — was just two points behind West Virginia University and finished ahead the University of Central Florida and Iowa State. The next highest PA school was Temple University, placing 48th.

“We were in the mix with some of the top schools in the country,” says Matthew Loeh, a professional sales and marketing major competing in his second-ever sales management case competition. “It really put into perspective how well Dr. (Monica) Favia prepares us for this.”

Of the two Bloomsburg teams, one came away with a little history themselves.

Matt Dalrymple and Loeh teamed up to advance past the qualifying event and place second in their virtual room of the sales management case competition. It was the best showing a Bloomsburg team has had in the five years competing in the ICSC case competition, according to Favia, program coordinator and chair of the Department of Marketing and Professional Sales.

“If you truly want to make it in sales, you must work harder and put in more time than everyone else,” says Dalrymple, a professional sales and marketing major competing in his first-ever virtual sales competition. “Matt and I were tasked with coming up with new prospecting solutions for Paychex … solutions on how they could increase prospecting in a COVID-19 business environment.”

Professional sales students deliver as top PA team, among the best at ICSC

“In trying times like this, I’m thankful we were all healthy and had great support systems to be able to attend the competition virtually,” says Brittany Zipovsky, professional sales and marketing major. “Like the NCSC back in March, I've learned that being versatile and flexible goes a long way. Things are not always going to go according to plan and by choosing to make the best of the situation, you may be surprised at how many doors that opens for you.”

Dalrymple said the two had about 24 hours to come up with viable solutions and back them up with data and outside research, as well as create a presentation to present the next day to a panel of judges.

“My favorite aspect of the competition was the time crunch,” says Loeh, who landed a job offer with Oracle/Netsuite from the competition’s corporate networking session. “Only having 24 hours to do a case study really makes you push yourself to work harder than normal, and I was glad to have a great partner for it.”

The other team — Ryleigh Benjamin and Brittany Zipovsky, who individually placed in the Top 16 as a semifinalist at last spring’s National Collegiate Sales Competition — advanced to the quarterfinals of the role-play competition.

“We were selling an IT security software known as GreyMatter, acting as the sales representative from ReliaQuest who was trying to get a new client to buy and implement it within their company,” says Benjamin, a professional sales and marketing major competing in her first-ever sales competition. “However, it’s not just about making the sale. You have a 15- or 20-minute time slot to build rapport, ask the right questions, actively listen, present your product, and answer questions. And of course, the goal is to close at the end of the deal.”

Zipovsky’s spring experience ended up paying dividends.

“I already knew how to handle a virtual environment with a live client, and Dr. Favia showed us ways to keep the buyer's attention in this new environment,” Zipovsky says. “My partner had never attended a sales competition before and in each round, we ranked the same in our individual role-play events. This just goes to show that practice, research, great coaching, and confidence goes a long way in these competitions.”

According to the four students, they spent hours on their own connecting on Zoom and FaceTime to prepare as teams, as well as online sessions with Favia developing a game plan and confidence as a group. The hard work paid off as the two professional sales teams collectively placed Bloomsburg in the Top 15 overall.

“My biggest take away is don’t give up,” Benjamin says. “I had a lot of bad role-plays before I had great ones. This competition — and being inviting to represent Bloomsburg University by Dr. Favia — taught me another layer to the word resilience. A ‘small’ school placing 14th out of the 80 invited to participate, I’ll take it.”

Despite ICSC’s pivot due to the pandemic, Zipovsky says it was still worthwhile and impactful. Plenty of lasting takeaways.

International Collegiate Sales Competition

“In trying times like this, I’m thankful we were all healthy and had great support systems to be able to attend the competition virtually,” Zipovsky says. “Like the NCSC back in March, I've learned that being versatile and flexible goes a long way. Things are not always going to go according to plan and by choosing to make the best of the situation, you may be surprised at how many doors that opens for you.”

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