Back in May 2010, I was asked if I would create and teach a brand new module for the HVA [Hogeschool van Amsterdam]. For those non-Dutch people reading this blog, the HVA is an applied sciences University [bachelor degree level education] based in Amsterdam.
The module is entitled "B2B sales and marketing" and is a 9 week module for 3rd year MIC students [Media, Information and Communication] focused on marketing in the media sector. The aim of the module is to ensure that students have an understanding of the dynamics of B2B and how it is different from the B2C world, by actually experiencing selling in a B2B context.
Beyond the theory, the module includes:
- Practical experience of selling advertising/sponsorship for the Amsterdam newspaper, the Z Straatkrant. Before the students approached potential advertisers, they were taught about the sales process, how to discover a need and build a buying vision and did role plays to practice asking questions and pitching their solution.
- Making strategic decisions based on analyzing marketing calculations. Tracking sales and marketing progress and taking calculated decisions on the back of analyzing these calculations. The calculations included measuring sales forecasts, tracking sales funnel effectiveness, measuring customer lifetime value and closing the loop on lead generation.
- The importance of collaboration between sales and marketing. From acquisition through to loyalty strategies and tactics, in a B2B context, sales and marketing collaboration is essential for the long term success of a B2B company. Students are learning about creating sales and marketing plans in collaboration with sales.
We are in the 4th week of the module now and students appear to be having fun, despite finding it a very challenging module. I am very curious what the official feedback will be at the end of the module.
Having personally had 15 years of B2B marketing experience, I know first hand how important it is for marketers to actually understand the dynamics of selling in the B2B context and being able to partner with sales to create winning strategies and tactics. I am hoping by having more focus at University level on B2B sales and marketing that more marketers will enter the workforce as more effective marketers.