TAMPA – Over two weeks in February, the USF Center for Marketing and Sales Innovation hosted a major collegiate sales competition and a biometrics research conference that together drew hundreds of participants from across the country.
The fifth annual Selling with the Bulls sales competition attracted over 200 people over two days on Feb. 16 and 17. The sales competition, billed as the “Toughest Test in Sales Education,” brought together more than 100 students from 21 colleges and universities from 15 states.
Participants competed in sales skill challenges that encompassed the entire sales process, such as networking, prospecting, discovery, and sales meetings. In the championship flight, the top teams included the University of Florida, University of South Carolina, University of Central Florida, Pace University, and Florida Gulf Coast University.
This year’s competition featured a case subject where a company’s chief financial officer challenges the firm’s employee benefits program due the company’s work-from-anywhere program. Competition organizers threw in a last-minute curveball. Just before the final round, leaders introduced a major twist: the competitors learned the fictious company had experienced a major flood.
BKS Partners, an insurance brokerage firm, supplied the case material and was this year’s project sponsor. In addition, 100 business professionals from 24 companies served as role-playing buyers and judged the competition. In less than 30 hours, the business leaders participated in 300 role plays, evaluated 400 prospecting messages, and conducted over 600 scheduled networking conversations with students.
The sales competition was followed by the inaugural Affective(ly) Research, a conference that brought together researchers working with biometrics and emotional insights to collaborate and share best practices.
Over 40 researchers and lab managers from 21 institutions gathered on Feb. 23 and 24 to discuss their research on human behavior. The two-day conference, held at the Muma College of Business, included a networking event, research presentations, and panel discussions.
Plans are underway for a second conference in what is expected to become an annual event in February 2024, said Rob Hammond, the director of the Center for Marketing and Sales Innovation Customer Experience Lab.
The lab’s technology partner, iMotions, was a platinum sponsor for the conference.