Hello and welcome to the first course in the Coursera sales operations specialization. I'm Mike Walsh and joining me is Suzanne Bal and Emily Tanner. We will be serving as your instructors. In this introductory video, we want to introduce ourselves and give you a quick orientation to the sales operations specialization. We will give you an idea of what to expect in this course and the other courses that make up the sequence. Now, if your plans are to only take just this course and some of our discussion, we'll cover the other courses in this specialization and you might find that some of that discussion isn't terribly relevant to you. Let's first introduce ourselves. So, I am chair and an associate professor of marketing at the College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University. WVU is actually one of the original land grant universities in the United States. We serve thousands of students in three campuses as well as virtually through our online educational programs. We are what's called an R1 institution and this means that compared to other colleges and universities, we have the highest research activity as defined by the Carnegie Classification of institutions of higher education. So, what does that mean? Basically, we're doing tons of cutting edge research and then we bring that into the classroom and into our courses so that you're getting the latest most up to date education. There are only 115 R1 universities in the world. The marketing curriculum at West Virginia University is defined by a couple of things. First, we are driven by industry needs, we talk to companies and people who hire our graduates constantly trying to understand what is it that they need in terms of skill sets with our students. We also benchmark ourselves against peer business schools by constantly going out and looking to see what other schools are offering and we're ensuring that our offerings are up to date with our peer institutions, and we have a very student centered faculty with years of real-world experience. I oversee a 14-member department. Two of those members are part of this course offering and there are an additional 11 others. I teach courses at the graduate level as well as at the undergraduate level. But the thing that I really enjoy doing is overseeing our professional sales program. We have a long tradition of sales education and we are very excited to share that experience with you. I joined the faculty in January of 2006. Now, prior to my move to academia, I spent over 25 years in general management, marketing and advertising, and much of what I did was sales-oriented. I oversaw Buchanan Ingersoll's marketing activities in two countries, the United States and Great Britain. Buchanan Ingersoll is a top law firm that's based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Prior to that, I was senior vice president and director of operations and finance for Ketchum Advertising. During my career at Ketchum, I helped clients with specialized international marketing communication strategies in basis to business, high-technology, and consumer marketing communications. So, as I just mentioned, joining me in this course are my colleagues Emily Tanner and Suzanne Bal. So Suzanne, welcome to Coursera. Thank you. Tell me a bit about yourself and your background. I had been at WVU for four years and prior to that I taught for a number of years as an adjunct professor. At WVU I teach several courses in sales. Like Mike, I have spent most of my career in the business world, specifically in sales. Prior to being a college professor, I worked for a number of organizations in a sales capacity. Some of these companies include NCR Corporation in Washington D.C., Pitney Bowes in Seattle, Washington and Michigan Medical in Tacoma Washington. Wow. That is really interesting some very big names and also tell us a bit about these jobs. Well in NCR corporation, they had cash register systems and ATM systems and I was handling large accounts, large retail and then Pitney Bowes was mid-sized accounts throughout Seattle, Washington, mail systems for companies and then the mission medical was medical equipment sales to physicians and hospital systems. So, this is interesting. In your career you've had a lot of different kinds of customers that you've caught on differently. Very different industries. Wow, that must make for some really interesting experiences for now. Yes. So, through all this experiences and what have you learned about professional sales that you try to bring into the classroom? Well, selling is not something that you do to someone, it really is something you do with someone. I think that's the critical point here. I believe sales and selling shouldn't be competitive or manipulative, it should be collaborative. The best sales conversations are based on a mutual desire to solve a problem. Your goal is to get all stakeholders working towards the same objective. Wow. Those are great words to remember. So, let's turn to my other colleague Emily Tanner. Emily you've been on the WVU faculty now for about two years. Yes. Tell the audience a bit about your background. I earned my PhD at Oklahoma State University and currently I teach courses in personal selling. My research focuses on the formation in management of marketing relationships and so these can be between a sales manager and a salesperson or a salesperson and the customer. Before my move into academia, I was the director of health care sales at a marketing research firm called Research Now. We're an online data collection panel company and I was involved in building the Healthcare Research Department and managing the marketing of healthcare related marketing research panels. Wow. That is really interesting. Tell us a little bit more about what you did for this company. Okay. So, Research Now as an online data collection company and basically what we do is collect information from people depending on the different types of panels. I was involved in the health care panels and my role was to service large marketing research firms as they worked with the pharmaceutical companies to come up with marketing campaigns for certain drugs or even come up with the name of the drug itself. So, the selling process here must have been a pretty complicated and involved selling effort. It was, it was a lot of problem solving and consulting and for me I was a little bit unique in that I started out as a sales intern, and worked my way up through the company and grew with as the company grew, going into inside sales, sales manager position into the sales director role that I finally had. That's the neat thing about sales, right? I mean, if you're doing a good job, you can expect to grow and get promoted. Quickly in a lot of quick cases. Wow. So, students that are taking this course so obviously they're interested in sales and sales management as a career now, what do you what do you make of that? This is a very exciting time for sales and sales management careers. In many regions because sales positions go unfilled for lack of qualified applicants and many more jobs are filled by people who are unprepared to accept them. For at least five consecutive years Manpower, the are recruiting and workforce development firm, has ranked sales and sales management as one of the hardest positions to fill. This shortage will only get worse as today's older workers leave mid and senior level positions. According to the US Department of Labor, companies will lose 40 percent of senior talent over the next few years. So, moving into sales and sales management is a very smart move. So, as you can see, we bring a wealth of both academic and real-world experience to this course. We are so excited to be working with you. Now, let's talk about the sales operations specialization courses.