Although I intentionally avoided graduate school, instead opting to pursue a position in the lucrative and stable world of journalism, I have lots of friends who have earned MBAs. Some buy into the MBA curriculum a bit too much and it takes the friction of real-world experience to erode their academic veneer. A few others are more effective at blocking out reality – much to their peril and the peril of the companies they work for.
One thing I heard from a graduate from a major southern California business school was that his MBA studies had provided him with foundational background and a deep working knowledge of how businesses work in the recent past. When he was hired, it was like stepping on a speeding treadmill – things have changed, driven by technology and the changing customer.
There’s a group of students who are far less likely to have to sprint to catch up. At DePaul University’s Center for Sales Leadership, a select group of pupils is being exposed to a much more technology-driven view of business – one that parallels what’s going on in the real world.
The course on sales strategy and technology, taught by Daniel Strunk, the center’s managing director, allows students to perform as if they were sales reps, using current technology like Hoovers and Brainshark to understand the day-to-day of modern selling. The 10-week Sales Management 2.0 course goes into management tasks, using CallidusCloud for sales performance management, Salesoforce.com for CRM and other technologies. The course includes talks from customer speakers, helping students get an inside-out view of the type of people they’ll be selling to, and includes a simulation of working as an actual sales manager. Instead of merely role-playing at selling and sales management, the students are able to use the technologies they would use if they were really selling. Each student is given six “reps,” each with different profiles and each in need of evaluation by their manager. Using CallidusCloud SPM, the managers then take action to improve the performance of these reps. “Unlike a lot of business courses, this results in ‘work-ready’ graduates,” said Strunk.
The sales management course is only two years old. Not only is it popular with students – only a small number are permitted to take it each semester – but it’s popular with the school’s business partners. “They’re fascinated with this course and would like to see their own people take it,” he said.
But the real point of the course is to develop a workforce of young people that’s ready to step out of the classroom and right into modern business, and which is familiar with current technology. “You need to understand CRM and SFA, and you need to know the other tools needed to be successful in a sales environment,” said Strunk.
Strunk is presenting a session on the DePaul University Center for Sales Leadership’s sales strategy and management courses and their uses of real-word technologies – including CallidusCloud – on Tuesday, May 12 at 3:20 p.m. at this year’s C3 event. It’s just one of many sessions that point out unique and creative uses for modern sales technology, and it points out how critical training is to getting the most out of your technology investment. To learn more about C3 2015, visit the event website.