Developing Sales Professionals

A term project that develops sales professionals through analyzing and evaluating the sales management of a particular company.

Goal: To evaluate the professional selling and sales management effectiveness of an organization and provide the company with specific, actionable recommendations.


Prior readings for this course included - Contemporary Selling: Building Relationships, Creating Value, Greg Marshall and Mark W. Johnston; Selling 101: What every successful sales professional needs to know, Zig Ziglar; The One Minute Sales Person, Spenser Johnson, 1984; Blink, Malcolm Gladwell; The Top Ten Best Selling Tips of all Time, John Westman, 2013. Additionally, students completed a sales simulation ( and signed up for a free tip of the day on professional selling (http://www.makingthenumbers/index.html).


Team Project

  • A team of 3 or 4 students will select an organization, assess its professional selling and/or sales management effectiveness and make recommendations to improve its business results. This team will deliver a presentation to the class and a written (or electronic) report to the instructor. An example of one group’s final paper is attached.

Class presentation

  • Create and deliver a concise and informative 10minute executive summary of the highlights of your project. The presentation can include (suggested time in parentheses):
    • a brief the company/product/situation as background (2 minutes),
    • details on what the company does well & what they can improve (3 minutes), and
    • specific, actionable recommendations (with an estimate of their impact) to help the company and/or sales rep be even more successful (5 minutes). Create actions that are specific and clear so that the company could implement them tomorrow.


Executive Summary Presentation rubric

Content (60%)

  • Information is clear and easy to understand
  • The assessment is thorough & states who (e.g. by title or customer segment) was surveyed
  • The recommendations are specific, can be implemented tomorrow, and you estimate their impact

Delivery (40%)

  • Information is conveyed clearly and enthusiastically with good technical presentation skills
  • Memorable theme or moment that stands out, is informative and is an important message

Written report rubric

Content quality (60%)

  • purpose of the report is clear, outline shows logical organization of information
  • analyzed the organization’s selling approach with at least 5 concepts from the course
  • recommendations are realistic, specific, thoughtful and will help the organization
  • interviewed 5 or more people in the organization and interviewed or surveyed 10 or more customers

Documentation quality (40%)

  • report is a written or edocument that gives a great first impression
  • easy to read using section headings, bullet points, tables, figures and graphs when appropriate
  • maximum 5 pages of text, 10 tables or figures


  • The instructor notes that a key benefit to this term project is the real-world, real-time engagement with course material and a relevant company
  • The instructor advises to define the rubric early, and after 3 classes, schedule time in each class to get input from at least 1 group on their project

Submitted by John Westman, Harvard Extension School

bombardier_activity.pdf622 KB