June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Engineering Management, Engineering Economy, and Industrial Engineering
23.553.1 - 23.553.8
Evaluation of Perceptual Changes in an Engineering Sales ProgramAbstractRoughly a half dozen schools offer programs in sales engineering or technical sales forengineers. In this study, we will present preliminary results for a study of learning outcomes forstudents taking one of two sales engineering courses offered as a minor in sales engineering at alarge land-grant, public, state university.The program of interest focuses on educating students in technical sales for engineers. Facultyand administrators reached out to an industrial advisory committee comprised of organizations todevelop the program with a vested interest in the program; specific organizations that hirestudents from the College of Engineering for career tracks in technical sales and marketing weresolicited.The instructor uses a combination of various sales techniques and strategies, from establishedtechnical sales programs to frame the syllabus for the course. This course has now been offeredfor five consecutive years, and surveys were taken of students at the beginning and end of thecourse since 2010. Assessment of the students has focused on their perceptions ranging frominterest and ability to helpfulness in learning specific technical sales skills.A paired-samples t-test analysis of students (N = 39; 54% industrial engineering majors) fromthree years of analysis uncovered statistically significant changes in student perceptionsregarding interest, need, and rank of current ability toward technical sales. Few differences wereseen when students were grouped based on enrollment in the sales minor and when students hadprevious sales experience. Differences included sales minors ranking their prior ability higherthan non-sales minors and sales minors or those with sales experience expressing higher initialinterest. A separate analysis of 20 technical sales skills at the end of the course also revealedgains ranging from helpful to very helpful. This paper will detail those results and seeks to drawconclusions on how the course is impacting student perceptions and attitudes, among variousstudent profiles, towards seeking a profession in technical sales.
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