A national collegiate sales competition showcasing the talents of "hot" Sales and Marketing students

UW-Eau Claire Center for Sales & Sales Management
UW-Eau Claire College of Business
UW-Eau Claire

The Sales Warm-Up: thenANDnow

Posted: October 20th, 2016

This week marks the 10th Anniversary of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up, a collegiate sales competition that showcases the talents of "hot" sales and marketing students from across the United States. The 2016 competition will be held October 20-22 at UW-Eau Claire. Learn more about The Warm-Up. 

Somer SoliPatrick Gotham and Danielle Siegle will represent the Blugolds at the 2016 competition. Attending as an alternate and student assistant coach is Austin SamsaJessica Gardner, Management and Marketing, is the coach for the Blugold Sales Team.

The Warm-Up has evolved from a local sales competition that UW-Eau Claire marketing faculty hosted for its students, to a nationally-recognized competition featuring students from over 20 schools around the United States. 

"We knew how to run a sales competition because we had been running an in-house one for five years," said Dr. Robert Erffmeyer, director of the UW-Eau Claire Center for Sales and Sales Management. "We thought it would make things more interesting for our students if other schools also competed at our event."  

The idea to develop a regional competition was also supported by members of the college's Business and Marketing Advisory Councils. 

"Everyone pitched in," recalled Erffmeyer. "Once we set the date and the program was developed, everyone worked together to get the competition off the ground. Colleagues at other universities were invited to bring their students to our event. Faculty and staff handled communications, fundraising, and all the logistics. Hormel and CINTAS agreed to be the major sponsors for the event. Board members like Kurt Mueller from Hormel and Brian Audette from SUPERVALU signed up as case writers, buyers and judges." 

After much discussion, the event was called the Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up. The name was selected to differentiate the UW-Eau Claire competition from the National Collegiate Sales Competition (NCSC) held in the spring at Kennesaw State University. The name also reflected the fact that The Warm-Up was a developmental event as well as a competition.  

"We wanted to give student an opportunity to practice or "warm-up" their sales skills in the fall so they would be ready to compete at nationals in the spring," said Erffmeyer. "We also wanted to "warm-up" students to the idea of sales as a profession."  

In many ways, The Warm-Up was similar to the NCSC as the format of the presentations and the scoring sheets were the same. But there was one important difference. After each presentation, Warm-Up contestants would receive a half-hour debriefing session with one of the sales professionals who evaluated them in addition to their evaluation sheets and recordings of their performances.  

"It is the one-on-one time with a judge that was then and still remains today the most valued experience by students and their coaches," said Erffmeyer.  

The first Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up was held Nov. 15-17, 2007. Forty-five students from eight universities located primarily in Minnesota and Wisconsin attended the event along with their faculty coaches. Competing for UW-Eau Claire was Heather MaulGarrett Ullom and Jenna Weber. The Blugold team coached by LaNette Flunker, senior lecturer in the Department of Management and Marketing,  took the top three places. 

"Heather, Garrett and Jenna were a dream team," recalled Flunker. "Their talent and commitment to do well as representatives of UWEC made me proud to be their coach. They also know they were setting the stage for future competitors." 

Somewhere along the line The Warm-Up became a national competition.  

Since 2007, nearly 3,000 people have participated at The Warm-Up, including 535 student competitors. Sponsorships have also increased, from 10 companies in 2007 to 31 sponsors in 2016. Four of the original sponsors-Hormel Foods, SUPERVALU, Liberty Mutual and Larson Companies-still remain and have helped shape the event into the national competition that it is today. 

The number and locations of the universities attending The Warm-Up has also changed over the past ten years. This year 21 schools located in 13 states will be at The Warm-Up -- nearly triple the number in 2007. The number of universities competing at both The Warm-Up and the NCSC has also increased dramatically. In 2007, only 2 of the 8 universities attending The Warm-Up could also be found at the NCSC. Last year, 18 of the 22 Warm-Up universities were at the spring competition. 

The Warm-Up continues to serve as a catalyst for the UW-Eau Claire sales program.  

In 2008, a chapter of Pi Sigma Epsilon, a national professional fraternity in marketing, sales management and selling, was established on the UW-Eau Claire campus. PSE also hosts regional and national sales competitions. 

One year later, the College of Business established a Center for Sales and Sales Management which included dedicated space for role playing. This was a major change for The Warm-Up which traditionally used any available room in Schneider Hall for the competition. The new space, which was funded by a gift by the Rathbun family in Chippewa Falls, is also used throughout the year by UW-Eau Claire students in the beginning and advanced sales classes. 

In 2011, UW-Eau Claire was invited to join the University Sales Center Alliance, a consortium of sales center around the United States. The USCA advances the sales profession through teaching, research and outreach. 

In 2012, Jerry Kollross, senior lecturer in the Department of Management and Marketing, became the coach of the Blugold Sales Team. Thanks in part to a Blugold Differential Tuition Grant, Kollross's students were able to travel to competitions at Ball State University, Chico State University, Florida State University, Northern Illinois University, and William Patterson University in addition to competing at The Warm-Up and the NCSC. In 2013, the Blugold team took 1st at the FSU International Competition. One year later the team placed 1st at the NCSC. 

Interest in sales as a profession continues to grow on campus. This fall, 86 students have declared sales as a first major, a figure that has doubled from 43 students in Fall 2007. The number of total marketing majors also continues to grow, making it one of the most popular majors in the Department of Management and Marketing. 

"We like to think that The Warm-Up has helped foster an increase interest in sales among our students," said Dr. Robert Erffmeyer. "I am grateful to everyone who has played a role in making our competition a success."      


The Warm-Up, thenANDnow

  • Nearly 3,000 students, coaches, volunteers and recruiters have participated in the Warm-Up since 2007. 
  • A total of 535 students have competed at The Warm-Up. The number of competitors ranged from 45 in 2007 to of 63 in 2016. 
  • The number of universities participating at the Warm-Up has nearly tripled -- from 8 schools located primarily in Minnesota and Wisconsin, to 21 schools located in 13 states throughout the United States. 
  • In 2007, only 2 of the 8 universities attending The Warm-Up also competed at the National Collegiate Sales Competition, an undergraduate and graduate sales competition hosted by Kennesaw State University in Georgia. Last year, 18 of the 22 Warm-Up universities also competed at the NCSC. 
  • The number of Warm-Up sponsors has tripled, from 10 sponsors in 2007 to 31 sponsors in 2016.

 

View More News

2018

Kansas State student wins 2018 Sales Warm-Up

Welcome to The 2018 Warm-Up!

2017

UT-Dallas student wins 2017 Sales Warm-Up

Welcome to The Warm-Up!

2016

Hailey Dudley from FSU named Top Sales Person

The Sales Warm-Up: thenANDnow

Welcome Warm-Up Competitors!

2015

UWEC Derek Baker named Warm-Up champ

Welcome Warm-Up Competitors!

2014

Baylor student is 2014 Warm-Up champ; Elon, UW-Eau Claire in Top 3

Welcome Warm-Up Competitors!

2013

Baylor, Kansas State, and North Dakota State take top honors at 2013 Sales Warm-Up

Welcome Warm-Up Competitors!

Warm-Up students and sponsors share information using QR code technology

Seventh annual UW-Eau Claire Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up to be held Oct. 31

2012

UW-Eau Claire and Bowling Green take top honors at 2012 Warm-Up

Sixth annual UW-Eau Claire Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up to be held Nov. 8-10

2011

UW-La Crosse, Baylor and Illinois State U take top honors at 2011 Warm-Up

Fifth UW-Eau Claire Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up to be held Nov. 10-13, 2011

2010

UW-Stout Sweeps the 2010 Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up

Students from Twelve Universities to Compete In Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up

Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up Photo Wins National Award

2009

College of Business receives Gold, Bronze Awards at CASE V Conference

2009 Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up the Biggest Event Yet

Students from Fourteen Universities to Compete In Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up

C. Willi Myles is Featured Performer at 2009 Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up Enterprise Rent-A-Car Comedy Club

2008

Amy Lytle, Bemidji State University, named Overall Champion of the Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up

Students from Nine Midwestern Universities to Compete In Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up

Tommy Dare, Hypnotist is Featured Performer at Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up Enterprise Rent-A-Car Comedy Club

2007

UW-Eau Claire Comes Out On Top at Sales Competition

First Annual Sales Competition Set for November, 49 Participants Registered

Results & Photos

2018

Overall Champion
Abbie O'Grady, Kansas State University

First Runner-Up
Ethan Alexander, Louisiana State University

Second Runner-Up
Justin Lentz, Florida State University

VIEW 2018 PHOTO GALLERY

2017

Overall Champion
Caleb Meyers, The University of Texas at Dallas

First Runner-Up
Brittany Mercadante, Florida State University

Second Runner-Up
Katelyn Wondolkowski, UW-Whitewater

VIEW 2017 PHOTO GALLERY

2016

Overall Champion
Hailey Dudley, Florida State University

First Runner-Up
Cameron Allen, The University of Texas at Dallas

Second Runner-Up
Stephanie Mueller, UW-Whitewater

VIEW 2016 PHOTO GALLERY

2015

Overall Champion
Derek Baker, UW-Eau Claire

First Runner-Up
Kristen Sutcliffe, University of Cincinnati

Second Runner-Up
Jessica Miller, Bowling Green State University

VIEW 2015 PHOTO GALLERY

2014

Overall Champion
Erin Robason, Baylor University

First Runner-Up
Shakori Fletcher, Elon University

Second Runner-Up
Scott Mundt, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

VIEW 2014 PHOTO GALLERY

2013

Overall Champion
Oscar Velasquez, Baylor University

First Runner-Up
Emily Jardine, Kansas State University

Second Runner-Up
Andrew Richards, North Dakota State University

VIEW 2013 PHOTO GALLERY

2012

Overall Champion
Cameron Walther, UW-Eau Claire

First Runner-Up
Melissa Erickson, UW-Eau Claire

Second Runner-Up
Alecia Hitchman, Bowling Green State University

VIEW 2012 PHOTO GALLERY

2011

Overall Champion
Monica Bohl, UW-La Crosse

First Runner-Up
Spencer Anderson, Baylor University

Second Runner-Up
Joseph Turek, Illinois State University

VIEW 2011 PHOTO GALLERY

2010

Overall Champion
Alyssa Anttila, UW-Stout

First Runner-Up
Jack Pendergast, UW-Stout

Second Runner-Up
Emily Moe, UW-Stout

VIEW 2010 PHOTO GALLERY

2009

Overall Champion
Amy Lytle, Bemidji State

First Runner-Up
Robyn McBrady, Bemidji State

Second Runner-Up
Colin Forst, University of Northern Iowa

VIEW 2009 PHOTO GALLERY

2008

Overall Champion
Amy Lytle, Bemidji State

First Runner-Up
Sarah Windlan, Ball State University

Second Runner-Up
Katie Wenzel, Minnesota State University-Mankato

VIEW 2008 PHOTO GALLERY

2007

Overall Champion
Heather Maul, UW-Eau Claire

First Runner-Up
Garrett Ullom, UW-Eau Claire

Second Runner-Up
Jenna Weber, UW-Eau Claire

VIEW 2007 PHOTO GALLERY

The names of the top three finalists as well as the individual school champions will be posted on the Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up website the week following the event.

Team photos and photos of individual students are available free to competing universities for their use. Photos will be posted on the UW-Eau Claire College of Business Flickr site. Please use the following photo citation: Image courtesy of UW-Eau Claire.