In 2014/15 the BCITMA has done something untried in previous years – expand its Business Development Committee into two separate entities. Corporate Relations, under the skillful management of Jenny Chen has continued to achieve great results in working with businesses and providing students with exciting and practical work-related experience. And with the leadership of Kristina Milanovic-Litre, the Sponsorship committee has forged valuable mutually-beneficial relationships that quite frankly, have allowed the MA to reach new heights like never before. We are thrilled to recognize the efforts of the Sponsorship Committee with this profile and interview with the multi-talented Kristina Milanovic-Litre. Special thanks to her and the extra effort she put into this piece despite her hectic schedule.
Kristina’s passion for sales is what led her to enrol in BCIT’s Marketing Management Professional Sales option. Now, in her second year she is excited to help lead the club’s sponsorship committee. A year of BCIT marketing studies paired with a BSc at UBC, various experience including a full summer of sales with Ledcor, and lastly a first place finish at the BCITMA regional sales conference have gotten her ready for the challenge of sponsorship. She is excited to put her newly acquired knowledge into action and looks forward to learning from and working with her colleagues to make this a very successful year for the BCITMA.
How/ when did you know that a career in sales was for you?
I’ve known that sales was for me since I was a little kid selling parking at my house for the PNE! I’ve always liked the people side of sales. Now I can’t wait to apply the other business skills I have learned at BCIT to my future career.
Describe your experience with Ledcor and how it has helped you in your final year at BCIT.
Working for Ledcor over the summer, and now part-time, has been a wonderful experience! Being part of a growing business venture has allowed me to develop new skills and truly be adaptable in any role I have. When I was out in the field it was a series of micro-sales each and every day; this was a great way to apply what I learned at BCIT and marry it to the new skills I picked up at Ledcor.
This all translated well into my final year at BCIT because I have more applied skills and experience. I am able to put a new perspective on what we learn in class. And of course, my earnings are helping the “starving student fund.”
What tips do you have for someone preparing for a sales competition?
The biggest tip I have for someone preparing for a sales competition, is to actually prepare! Make sure you know your stuff; your product, yourself, and your buyer.
Then practice, run through a sale a few times, and don’t memorize a script. Memorize your “tool-box” instead. Know what tool (Needs Analysis Questions, SPIN, Feel-Felt-Found) to use in each situation. And then just go for it.
How do you handle the pressure/ stress/ possible rejection associated with a sales career?
I don’t feel that I need to “handle” the pressure or the stress; because it is one of the things I love about sales. That little extra pressure and awareness that you are not guaranteed a “YES” is very important. It ensures that as sales reps we qualify our prospects and do a good needs-analysis. I need to find out whether someone truly needs the product I am selling and whether or not they are able to buy it.
After that, it’s up to me as a sales rep to show them why the product/service helps them and their business. The little extra adrenaline from the “pressure” is a good thing.
If it ever does get to be too much; I think I’ll just make sure to sign up for a spin class or some other activity to “blow off the steam.”
How does sales go hand-in-hand with your job as VP of Sponsorship?
Being the VP of Sponsorship is truly a sales management role (except unpaid)! This role requires organization of weekly meetings (sales/sponsorship meetings), development of sales/sponsorship targets and goals, the use and implementation of a customer relationship management system, and working with each team member (sales-rep) to help them find sponsorship.
It might be a long list, but can you tell us the new companies and organizations that you’ve brought into the fold?
Our team has worked hard to bring in some new and renewed sponsorship’s this year!
We are very happy to have these sponsors on board:
- BCIT School of Business (Annual Sponsor)
- ADESA Richmond (Platinum Sponsor of the BCITMA Regional Conference & Case Competition Sponsor at the event)
- Ledcor (Platinum Sponsor of the BCITMA Sales Competition)
- TEKsytems (Gold Sponsor of the BCITMA Sales Competition)
- The Sales Talent Agency (Gold Sponsor of the BCITMA Sales Competition)
Tell us about your team and what they do.
Our sponsorship team is fantastic! They work hard every week to prospect and call potential sponsors. We are a healthy mix of first and second year students; Jacquie Kine (Director of Sponsorship), Ian Twa, Lianne Laurin, Cameron Kooy, Alim Dhanani, Antoni Lauzer, Josh Stokes, and Samantha Lee.
Every meeting we discuss progress, role-play, and prepare for our future calls. I really have to say thanks to Jacquie Kine who worked really hard to find a CRM System that worked for the team and helped implement it! She was able to solve a huge “data management” problem. Also a big thanks to Lianne Laurine who worked hard with our Platinum Sponsor Adesa Richmond. The whole team has put in a lot of time and effort to make sponsorship, year-to-date, a huge success.
Describe briefly about the process of acquiring a new sponsor.
It starts with prospecting, then we call and qualify. We are able to identify if sponsorship suits both the company’s needs and the BCITMA’s. We work together with the sponsor to find a package that works well for them (needs analysis). After this we move forward and build a partnership and commitment. Then the big day/event comes and we make sure that we follow through on our end and make sure the sponsor receives the recruiting opportunities, promotional opportunities, and brand awareness they are promised!
What does the future hold for you after BCIT?
After BCIT I hope to find a rewarding career in sales. Currently, I am very interested in the medical equipment industry and I hope to find a position there. I love the fact that I can use my background in science, teaching, and sales all at once. Of course my mind is very open to other industries as well; these include recruiting and industrial sales.
From all of us in the BCITMA, thank to Kristina and her top-notch team for doing all their behind-the-scenes work that have made 2014/15 such a fantastic year!
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