This site provides a form that may be applied in sales and sales management courses. It features two 12-item assessment tools: one for skills and one for behaviors. Space is provided for a self-assessment and a second assessment (the individual's boss or someone the individual knows). Detailed directions for completing and scoring the form are provided.
Type of Material:
It would be difficult for undergraduate students to complete the assessment tool without actual experience. Thus, for undergraduate courses the material might best be used as an example of an assessment tool for sales and sales management. Alternatively, for MBA/EMBA classes in which the students have at least some business experience, the assessment tool could be used for personal development. The material is for self-evaluation initially and then, after completion of the self-evaluation, the discussion with a supervisor is recommended.
Students would need Internet access and an Adobe Reader.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The primary goal appears to be personal development so students learn which skills and behavior are relevant to being effective on the job. Ideally, the student would become more self-aware about their skills (e.g., questioning and listening, negotiation, etc.) and behaviors (e.g., striving for new skills, taking personal responsibility).
Target Student Population:
The target audience appears to be marketing or management majors as well as anyone working in sales and/or sales management.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Students would need a basic understanding of sales and sales management, including the role assessment tools can play in those activities.
The module provides a good example of an assessment tool, and provides directions regarding proper use. It can also be used in several different ways (e.g., example for undergraduates, personal development for MBAs) as the material is a good first step to class discussion.
To be effective, more context is needed. The ability to self-assess is always a problem. Also, the problem of discussing one's strengths and weaknesses with a superior is huge. It is difficult to admit or even recognize weaknesses and the problem of the sales manager's ability and willingness to assess subordinates.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The material provides a concrete example of an assessment tool. As a teaching tool, the questionnaire is easy and useful. It can also serve as a reference point for open discussions and a template for a broader discussion. It can also allow professors to cover all the important facets of performance standards for someone in the sales profession.
As a teaching tool, it is fairly effective because it is still an exercise with no emotion attached to the outcome. The concepts addressed should be presented in the appropriate context as established by the instructor.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The material is relatively easy to use, particularly if presented as an example of an assessment tool. If the instructor wishes to use the material for the purposes of personal development, clear instructions are provided. It would be easy to use for both students and faculty, with few problems. It could be incorporated into a "real world" experience by using the template for evaluation after a joint project with team members.
Students with business experience would find the form more interactive, in that they could conduct a meaningful assessment of themselves. Undergraduates are less likely to experience this benefit. In addition, grading by the professor might prove problematic because of the subjective nature of the data.
Other Issues and Comments:
The skill-set and behavior set assessment document is a useful tool for highlighting the areas necessary to be a successful manager, in the selling profession or any profession. Instructors might explore the Business Balls web site (http://www.businessballs.com) for additional information that might be useful in establishing the appropriate context for using assessment tools.
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