Why We Started The Great Canadian Sales Competition

Sarah Westwood (1st Place Winner of GCSC 2016) and Matt Ono (Sales Manager, Dell) at The FInal Round 

Sarah Westwood (1st Place Winner of GCSC 2016) and Matt Ono (Sales Manager, Dell) at The FInal Round 

So many people ask us why we started The Great Canadian Sales Competition.  Ok...truthfully, we are the ones who are asking!  After all, it is such a big financial undertaking (this year we are hiring 150 campus ambassadors across Canada to help promote it!), it is so time-consuming and such large project, and we don’t even plan to make a single dollar from it. Obviously, we are looking to position our company Sales Talent Agency as thought leaders  and champions of sales, but the reason behind it is actually much greater.

Over the past 8 years, we have watched as some of the largest and most successful companies in Canada struggle to attract and hire young people to their organizations for their junior sales roles.  These are the entry level sales roles that are perfect for a new grad looking to get in to a business and start their career.  We saw that the problem was two-fold: Firstly, nobody had ever heard of many of these companies (as a new grad, or even now: have you heard of Bunzl? Or Hilti?), and secondly, new grads just weren’t open to considering sales jobs.  Most want marketing or finance!

When we dug in to this issue further, we learned of all the negative perceptions that students had about the sales profession - if they had one at all.  A bigger problem was that few students were even exposed to sales in school – do you know anyone with a Degree in Sales?  Despite being arguably one of the most important positions within an organization, and the highest paying of the professions, it’s rare that sales is taught in school.

New graduates are carrying unprecedented debt-loads (some say this will cause the next crash) and face double the unemployment rate than the national average, yet they aren't considering or interested in some of the best jobs on the market.  Something had to change.

Our goal through the competition is to gamefy student recruitment, while helping to change what sales means.   In the process, we are helping students develop their sales skill-set (in order to enter the competition, students must create an online video pitching anything they want) and introducing them to amazing B2B companies that are eager to hire them for fantastic sales jobs and internships.

We believe that sales is one of the best professions (we are obviously biased as we are all in sales), but more importantly, sales is one of the most valuable skill to have, and  we are encouraging students to develop their sales skills regardless of if they go in to sales or not.  Regardless of one’s profession, sales is a fundamental skill that is as valuable as language (we teach English without expecting everyone to become an author) and being good in sales helps ensure you can make anything happen for yourself. How empowering a message is that to our young people entering the workforce?   Everyday – we are all in sales.

Our hope is that The Great Canadian Sales Competition will continue to be the biggest student competition in Canada and, more importantly, a program that becomes a huge part of student life across the country.

We are so excited for this year!  See our new website!