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Presenter: Daniel P. Bumblauskas, Ph.D., Adam R. Carberry, Ph.D., and David P. Sly, Ph.D.
Sales engineering or technical sales programs bridge engineering and business to educate engineering students in sales specific to their discipline. Students develop business awareness through such programs, providing the sales workforce with technically knowledgeable salespeople. The following study analyzed cohorts of students enrolled in a technical sales for engineers course to assess the changing perceptions and attitudes of engineering students toward technical sales. Students reported statistically significant changes in perceptions regarding interest, need, and rank of current ability toward technical sales and social skills after completing the course. Student perceptions of sales skills being innate and ingrained decreased. Group analysis – enrollment in the sales minor or previous sales experience – revealed expected differences including higher ranked prior ability and initial interest in sales. A separate analysis of 20 technical sales skills at the end of the course was used to highlight the level students perceived they had achieved each skill.