Carter McElveen, Clemson University
Jennifer Siemens, Clemson University
The Sales Innovation Program allows students to participate in professional development both inside and outside the classroom, preparing them for sales careers.
We present an experiential learning program that prepares students for sales careers. The Sales Innovation Program (SIP) has five courses designed to simulate real world selling scenarios, including corporate partner engagement. In the capstone course, students sell golf teams, hole signs and other items for a charity golf tournament. SIP students also participate in professional development and skill-building activities outside the classroom, including pitch competitions, networking events, sales role-play competitions, industry expert panels, conference events and SIP social events, as well as many other opportunities to prepare for sales careers. These activities reinforce their classroom learning and allow knowledge application.
Experiential Learning, Simulations, Classroom Community
1. Analyze strategies enabling learners to create their own experience-based program for sales career readiness.
2. Create a plan to integrate learning inside and outside the classroom.
3. Describe the benefits of an experiential based program with industry involvement.
Hear it from the author:
Our project presents an experiential learning program that prepares students for careers in sales. Prior research has found that experiential learning helps prepare students to be career ready (Spanjaard et al., 2018; Magnotta, 2018). Providing students with opportunities to experience a realistic workplace prior to graduation enables their success (Stringfellow, 2006). According to a 2021 Wall Street Journal article by Thomas, “the number of sales roles advertised has risen steadily this year, up 65%” Students do not often receive experiential sales training prior to graduation. This often leads to extreme hiring costs. In response to this, sales programs have popped up at college campuses nationwide.
The Clemson Sales Innovation Program (SIP) combines coursework, sales research, and professional development opportunities with corporate partners to train the sales professionals of tomorrow. Coursework is designed to simulate real world selling scenarios and includes corporate partner engagement. SIP students and corporate partners participate in professional development and skill-building activities outside the classroom, such as pitch and role play competitions, along with networking events. These activities reinforce their classroom learning and allow knowledge application. Research informed best practices are utilized in the classroom to keep coursework relevant.
Magnotta, S. R. (2018). Can you hear me now? An innovative
experiential learning module to prepare tomorrow’s inside
salespeople. Marketing Education Review, 28(2), 75–79.
Mich, C. C., Conners, S. E., & Feldman, L. (2014). The impact of
experiential learning on student perceptions of a career in sales.
Academy of Marketing Studies Journal, 18(2), 1.
Spanjaard, D., Hall, T., & Stegemann, N. (2018). Experiential learning:
Helping students to become ‘career-ready’. Australasian Marketing Journal, 26(2), 163–171.