Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

April conference aims to Elevate Sales Innovation Program’s brand


The Sales Innovation Program is elevating its brand, enhancing professionals’ skills and challenging students – all through a virtual sales conference this spring that will benefit a local charity.

A cadre of industry and academic experts in sales will share their expertise during Elevate, an April 16 online conference where sales professionals can network and receive actionable guidance to advance their organizations and further their careers.

“Elevate is one way the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business’ Sales Innovation Program is establishing itself as a destination for sales leadership,” said Ryan Mullins, J. Daniel and Nancy Garrison Professor and executive director of the Sales Innovation Program. “Our mission in elevating the sales profession involves being recognized as a leader in sales research, industry collaboration, and developing the next generation of sales leaders.”

The half-day event will focus on the future of sales leadership and provide students in the Department of Marketing’s Sales Innovation Program hands-on experience in making this inaugural event a success.

Ryan Mullins mugshot
Ryan Mullins

Carter McElveen, senior lecturer in Marketing and instructor for the Sales Innovation Capstone Course, said her students’ sales knowledge will be put to the test by selling attendees virtual seats to the conference.

“Students’ sales acumen will be tested in selling tickets to this event for sales professionals. Elevate is a pivot from the Tiger Paw Classic golf outing, our normal spring sales experience. Even though the pandemic cancelled the Tiger Paw Classic, it created another opportunity for students to put their sales knowledge to the test in a way that will mirror a real-world sales experience,” she said.

Each student will have a quota of tickets that need to be sold by a certain date. They will be graded on the leads they generate, meetings they set up, and most importantly the tickets they sell.

Carter McElveen

“For many, this will be their first real-world selling experience. They will have to enter calls, track customer communications, and be held to quotas, much like they would be in a real-world sales organization.” McElveen added. “This experience will help them implement their knowledge through the process of calling customers, developing leads, along with elevating their individual styles.”

Mullins and McElveen said they expect students to come away from the exercise with confidence in their selling capabilities and a feeling of accomplishment, knowing that Clemson has prepare them well for a career in sales.

“The classes in the Sales Innovation Program have prepared our students to feel comfortable and excel in a sales experience like this,” Mullins said. “Beyond the experience they gain, students will be supporting future sales students and helping the Clemson Community Care foodbank, which will receive proceeds from the event.”

Elevate’s keynote speakers will be two industry sales leaders: Tajh Boyd of Lakeside Lodge in Clemson, and Vic Parker of Exact Sciences, Sales Innovation Program partner whose technology focuses on early detection of cancer.

“We’re at a good time for experts to weigh in on what the future of sales leadership looks like in the next decade,” Mullins said. “Among the many topics speakers will address are go-to-market strategies during a pandemic, managing millennials, compensation trends, leading in a remote work environment, and sales technology tools.”

Alana Darby

Senior marketing major Alana Darby, program manager for the event, said this capstone exercise “throws students into the deep end to see who sinks and who swims.”

“With few marching orders other than to use the knowledge they gained in the classroom, students are charged with selling businesses on the value of their employees attending the sales conference,” Alana said. “An exercise likes this shifts students’ mindsets from classroom to real world. For example, crafting an email pitch in class is very easy. But when you are faced with sending it to a potential buyer, the dynamic shifts dramatically.”

Mullins says plans are for the Tiger Paw Classic to resume post-pandemic, and for Elevate to remain a staple in the Sales Innovation Program’s goal of becoming globally renown for sales thought leadership.

“Our hope is that this event can be a springboard to grow our presence as a resource for sales leaders while also offering additional value for our students aspiring for a career in sales,” he said.

For a line-up of Elevate’s industry and academia speakers, click below.


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