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The Department of Marketing’s Professional Sales Program recently won top honors in the University Sales Center Alliance’s (USCA) Sales Center Innovation Competition. The sales program was awarded the first-place prize for its innovative social media marketing campaign earning the program a $2,000 award. 

The national competition is part of the USCA’s ongoing initiative to create value for its members consisting of top collegiate sales programs throughout the country. The purpose of the competition was to identify and highlight new ways to grow and enhance sales programs by sharing innovative initiatives that have proven successful for member programs. 

For the Professional Sales Program, this meant highlighting the success of their recent social media advertising campaign that aimed to both raise program awareness amongst undergraduate students as well as to increase enrollment in the sales program. 

The winning entry featured the program’s one-minute promotional video which ran on both Instagram and Facebook, as well as the results of its promotional strategy which used remarketing and targeted messaging to help reach a larger population of undergraduate students. Ultimately, the campaign disseminated its message on social media to a highly targeted audience of more than 16,000 Virginia Tech undergraduate students, and the program saw an increase in enrollment of more than 26% the semester following the campaign’s debut.  

“With our goal of increasing program awareness, we saw this as an opportunity to leverage our department’s marketing expertise in digital media and promotion,” says Rajesh Bagchi, department head for the Department of Marketing.

It’s important to show that we don’t just teach the material, but that we can also ‘walk the walk’, so to speak.

“It’s an added honor to be able to share our best practices and successes with other collegiate sales centers throughout the country that are also striving to grow their programs.”

The innovation competition winners were chosen by popular vote amongst all current USCA members, and guidelines required that entries focus on recruitment strategies, program engagement, and marketing communication and brand-building initiatives. The end goal was that winning strategies would be shared to facilitate adoption by other collegiate sales programs. 

The Professional Sales Program resides within Pamplin’s Department of Marketing and consists of both minor and concentration tracks, and like many collegiate sales programs across the country, its focus is on promoting sales as a highly reputable profession and an integral part of a business’s operational success. VT’s sales program is also one of the few programs within the Pamplin College of Business that boasts a 100% job placement rate and is open to students of all majors across the university. 

“We’re very honored to have won the USCA Innovation Award,” says Brian Collins, director of the Sales Center at Virginia Tech. “We certainly have more work to do to get our message out, but we’re very proud of the work we’ve done so far to position our program for a bright future focused on growth and on preparing our students for successful professional sales careers.” 

For more information on the Professional Sales Program, please visit the center’s website or contact Brian Collins at collinbr@vt.edu

- Written by Monica Hillison