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Foundations of Sales, Group C

Course code
Course type
BSc Course
Weekly Hours
FS 2021
Marcel Hering
Please note that exchange students obtain a higher number of credits in the BSc-program at WHU than listed here. For further information please contact directly the International Relations Office.

The course content is organized around three parts:

1) Managing sales prices

Week 1: Setting and getting prices

  • Bargaining techniques (includes case Porcelaine, WHU)
  • Price-quantity-costs trade-offs

Week 2: Economics of B2B2C

  • Value pricing and economic value calculation (includes case Soren Chemicals, HBS)
  • Distribution channels for consumer goods

2) Managing the selling process

Week 3: Personal selling techniques

  • Telling a compelling selling story
  • Sales conversation techniques (includes video case)

Week 4: Building customer relationships

  • Selling process and buying process (includes case Boise Automation, Ivey)
  • Systematic networking (includes case Heidi Roizen, HBS)

3) Managing sales people

Week 5: Managing sales productivity

  • Managing field sales (includes case Clef Company, HBS)
  • Managing inside sales (includes case ZenRecruit, HBS)

Week 6: Sales and the CEO

  • Pipeline management and forecasting (includes case PackMach, WHU)
  • Corruption and compliance (includes case Medical Equipment Inc. in Saudi Arabia, Ivey)
Date Time
Thursday, 07.01.2021 11:30 - 15:15
Thursday, 04.02.2021 11:30 - 15:15
Wednesday, 20.01.2021 08:00 - 11:15
Thursday, 11.02.2021 11:30 - 15:15
Wednesday, 28.04.2021 09:00 - 12:00
The course enhances five categories of competences:

1) In regard tofactual knowledge,participants are enabled to

  • apply salespeople jargon to discussing the status of a sale (such as the “buying center”, “red flags”, “pipeline”, “RFQ”, “gatekeepers”, and other idioms),
  • apply negotiation jargon to discussing the status of a negotiation (such as BATNA, ZOPA, walk-away price, logrolling, non-offer offer, good cop – bad cop, and other idioms),
  • apply sales management jargon (such as quota, forecast, pipeline, DSM, and other idioms),
  • understand the specific terminology of sales management in a different sales contexts, such as selling to distributors, selling to large enterprises, B2B2C, and industrial selling.

2) In regard toconceptual knowledge, participants are enabled to

  • explain the evolution of retailing,
  • analyze the composition of a buying center,
  • analyze sales pipelines and generate sales forecasts,
  • calculate price-trade-offs against other profit drivers,
  • to analyze economic value to customer,
  • map the structure of personal networks.

3) In regard tosales-specific procedural knowledge,participants are enabled to

  • apply a structured negotiation process and blueprint,
  • evaluate the win probability of a sales opportunity,
  • evaluate the needs of a customer through questions,
  • evaluate and create a compelling selling story,

4) In regard togeneral business-relevant procedural knowledge, participants are enabled to

  • prepare for business meetings and internal committee sessions,
  • make the best out of a limited preparation time budget,
  • make concise contributions to meetings,
  • constructively build and comment on contributions by other participants in the meeting, and
  • derive a course of action from a careful analysis of the situation and a structured evaluation of alternatives.

5) In regard tometacognitive knowledge, participants are enabled to

  • evaluate the ethical dimension of a sales situation,
  • evaluate their own selling behavior, and
  • observe the power of deep reflection and mindfulness that is not distracted by smartphones.
There is no required textbook. We have not found a book that covers the range of topics discussed by this course. The learning material for this course includes presentation slides, articles, case studies, role-plays, videos, and black board notes. These and further course-related information are available on the learning management system myWHUcourses (another name for it is “Moodle”).
The course uses a hybrid teaching approach: It emphasizes live interactions in the classroom while integrating online participants into the classroom via Zoom. In the unfortunate case of quarantine measures, the classroom sessions will be switched to live sessions on Zoom.

The overall learning method mix across all class sessions of this course is:

  • 23% interactive concept lectures,
  • 10% video for self-study,
  • 65% case-based discussions, and
  • 2% in-class role play between students.

This video shows the style of case-based sessions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbNNsq1fC0A. This way of learning requires a great amount of energy, both from the student and from the teacher.

The course grade is based on individual performance 100%. There are no team grades and no peer evaluation. The course grade is composed as follows:
  • 33.33% (30 points): eight written case preparation notes (pdf, bullet points are enough, ca. 300-500 words),
  • 66.67% (60 points): final exam at the end of the semester.

Both for the students of the current BSc class and for students from a previous BSc class who are retaking the examination, the examination is based on the content of this semester. Re-examinees are advised to participate in as many of the current sessions as possible. Students who are re-sitting the examination module (Wiederholer) must submit all assignments during this course. Please note that this course has an early enrollment/un-enrollment deadline as some assignments are already due in the early weeks of the course.

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