Balto Sponsors University of Nebraska-Lincoln Annual Sales Pitch Competition
Next generation of sales professionals test skills in role play to sell the Balto platform and compete for top prize scholarship money
Balto, the #1 real-time guidance platform for contact centers, was recently honored as featured product sponsor and judge for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s 2022 Center for Sales Excellence (CSE) Team Role-Play Competition on Friday, April 15. The annual sales competition pits teams of students against one another in a tournament style pitch-off for the chance to win a $3,000 scholarship. The objective is to “close a sale” by getting judges, who represent a potential customer, to agree to a follow-up meeting.
Balto joins the ranks of several software as a service (SaaS) companies and industry leaders featured in the annual competition. In 2021, Hubspot held the distinction.
Thirty-two students across 14 teams role-played as Balto sales development representatives, whose responsibilities include prospecting and developing relationships with contact center as a service (CCaaS) businesses focused on improving their contact center performance. Competitors were required to learn the ins and outs of Balto’s real-time sales enablement tool that uses artificial intelligence to improve customer contact conversations and experiences. The teams were given product information, case studies, and customer insights to better understand the industry, craft pitch decks, and accurately represent Balto’s brand and solutions.
“We were thrilled to finally bring students and business professionals together again to enhance the learning and development opportunities for our sales students,” said Blake Runnalls, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business. “It was critical that the students understood their team dynamics to deliver a cohesive role-play.”
As part of their sales training at the university’s Center for Sales Excellence, students are taught to probe to uncover the needs of the customer and overcome objections. As such, the competition’s judges were encouraged to make competitors work for the sale by providing objections and not divulging too much information outright.
“All the teams did an amazing job,” said Dan Templeton, VP of Sales at Balto. “I was blown away by their product knowledge, handling of objections, and poise. We didn’t go easy on them. They came prepared and are positioned well to enter today’s sales workforce.”
Teams were also judged on building rapport, listening skills, enthusiasm, effective communication, professionalism, and the ability to get commitment to the next step in the sales process: selling the boss.
The winning team consisted of Valerie Bohuslavsky, an agribusiness major, and Jordan Kuhn, a management and marketing major, took home the $3,000 first place scholarship prize. The second and third place teams were awarded $2,250 and $1,500 scholarships, respectively.
The competition is part of a wider partnership between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Balto’s Conversation Excellence Lab, a team dedicated to conducting research alongside academic institutions and analyzing data from Balto’s over 125 million calls. . Read the Conversation Excellence Lab’s most recent report on the state of contact center attrition in 2022.