Sales meets Science

Training sales-affine players in science

Caption courtesy by ITA

Research and science are regarded as the engine of industry. However, pure “research in the ivory tower” is increasingly becoming a thing of the past – researchers have to acquire more and more sales-relevant skills, for example, in order to successfully acquire EU projects within third-party funding.

In order to develop these competences professionally, the Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University, short ITA, together with the Chair of Information Management in Mechanical Engineering, short IMA, of RWTH Aachen University, organised the digital course “Sales meets Science” under the direction of the lecturer Bilgehan Karatas. The aim of the course was to further develop and strengthen the sales-relevant skills of academic staff.

The success of the course can be seen from the quotations of the participating scientists – a selection is attached:

  • Thanks to the theoretical input of the course and especially the practical transfer tasks, I am well prepared to present my projects to customers in an appropriate way.
  • This seminar gave me the opportunity to better reflect on what added value I actually have as a researcher for my partners from industry and how I can communicate this added value more specifically in discussions.
  • In the end, the acquisition should always have two winners. I cannot and should not force my product on my customer.
  • Mastering customer meetings and customer contact requires a lot of practice. The playful approach helped me a lot to train this.
  • There is a lot of strategy behind sales activities, but successful salespeople’s customers do not notice this strategy. You can use sales techniques to convince in many situations in life.
  • Not all acquisitions are the same. There are different methods that can be used for acquisition. You have to think about the person you want to talk to beforehand.

I am very satisfied with the course and the result of the seminar,” explains Professor Dr Thomas Gries enthusiastically. “Our researchers have realised that there is no science without sales knowledge and no (scientific) sales without a scientific background because in order to successfully apply for and carry out an EU project, for example, every researcher has to recruit and win partners. The course will go into the second round from the coming semester and is to become a permanent feature at ITA.

Background

Bilgehan Karatas has designed a digital teaching programme with 42 teaching and impulse videos on behalf of ITA and with the support of the inter-faculty service unit “Media for Teaching”. In the period from 12 April to 21 May 2021, 12 scientific staff members from ITA and 4 scientists from IMA participated in the practice-oriented programme. After a joint kick-off, the first half of the videos was released so that the participants could work on three practical tasks in groups of 4 until the next digital live workshop on 23 April (flipped classroom format). Subsequently, the second half of the videos and three further transfer tasks were released (flipped classroom format), which were worked on in the digital final live workshop.

The selection of the speaker Bilgehan Karatas by the ITA had a special background: Bilgehan Karatas is the founder of the start-up SALEVIUM and was honoured within the framework of the “Aachener Gründungswettbewerb”. He has developed analogue and digital board and card games to promote sales skills, which can be repeated self-directed under 60 minutes. There has already been a kick-off with a reference group of the ITA and IMA with the playful training tool, which triggered very positive feedback from the participants; especially from participants with great blockades and prejudices towards sales or acquisition.

Further information: Homepage SALEVIUM

www.ita.rwth-aachen.de