This Week’s Inspiration: How One University Trains Students with Sugar

This Week’s Inspiration: How One University Trains Students with Sugar

Students in Germany Use Sugar Sell to Prepare for Sales Engineer Jobs


By now, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about Sugar’s many tools for creating extraordinary customer experiences.

You can streamline social media and email marketing.

You can build better customer relationships.

You can even create a robust self-service portal to help customers get as much as possible from your products.

But did you know you can use Sugar to train rising sales employees, too? Recently, we spoke with the Chair of Industrial Sales Engineering (ISE)  at the Ruhr-University Bochum  (RUB) about this lesser-known use for our customer experience (CX) platform.

If you’re looking for ideas you can use to educate and train, keep reading for inspiration.

Designing a New Approach for Sales and Marketing Training

Each year, the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the RUB accepts around 100 candidates to the course of study “Sales Engineering and Product Management” (SEPM), where students prepare for future jobs as sales engineers within a highly specialized industry.

But while the coursework is challenging, the lessons learned in theory don’t always mirror true-to-career job activities. For this reason, the ISE team around Research Assistant Christian Ahlfeld wanted to come up with a better way to prepare students for future sales roles. So they ultimately decided to take a new approach to sales training by simulating real-world scenarios.

First, they invented a robot named Karl-Heinz. The robot was designed to represent the kind of complex, high-tech industrial product sales engineers are likely to encounter within the B2B realm.

Next, a variety of components were devised to simulate a true-to-life market environment. There were competitors to outsmart, go-to-market models to promote, and sales structures to implement.

With these training modules in place, students were tasked with producing and fine-tuning highly detailed sales processes to get Karl-Heinz in front of the right audiences at the right times, with all of the right information.

Instead of a traditional, dry approach to learning, students were able to hone practical skills that align directly with the new positions they’d soon be pursuing.

There was just one aspect left to address: For the class to be truly engaged and get as much as possible out of the program, the right sales and marketing technology was key. Students would need access to a modern, up-to-date set of sales tools, too.

That’s where Sugar came in.

How the Training Program Works

At first, the chair tried to implement the program using a different CRM. Eventually, however, it became clear that the original technology wasn’t providing everything students would need to be successful.

“Sales in the investment goods market is very complex,” says project manager Klaus M. Eichhorn, a technology consultant who helped ISE implement the program. Not all CRM systems cope well with this challenge.”

The team decided to look for an option that would be more flexible and switched to Sugar Sell. It didn’t take long to configure the platform with industry-specific functions, and soon SEPM students were on their way to a truly advanced training and education experience.

Today, students are introduced to Sugar through a 60- to 90-minute introductory lesson where they learn how to leverage various features. After that, they rely on a wide range of functions to complete projects and “sell” Karl-Heinz. They respond to requests for proposals, manage leads and opportunities, create offers for follow up and more.

And because Sugar is designed for easy on-the-go access, tasks aren’t limited to lecture hours and can be developed throughout the semester. Progress can be completed virtually anywhere, at any time.

Approximately 500 students have gained valuable market experience so far, with many more rising sales engineers yet to join the program. They’re not only developing critical sales skills but will arrive at new jobs having already mastered the professional use of an important sales tool.


Looking for more ideas you can use to put Sugar to work? We have plenty! For the latest inspiration, take a look at these success stories.


About Synergy Consultants CRM + Processes

This Week’s Inspiration: How One University Trains Students with SugarSYNERGY CONSULTANTS CRM + PROCESSES is a SugarCRM trusted Authorized partner, an expert in trends and developments. SynergyConsultantsgathers a strong track record of over 20 years implementing hundreds of CRM projects in Germany.

Matias Rajkay
Matias Rajkay Client Engagement Director, EMEA at SugarCRM An expert in Sugar methodology and delivery, Matias serves as a dedicated advisor to support the sale and delivery of SugarCRM in enterprise environments throughout the EMEA region. As a key engagement stakeholder, he aids in steering international projects and thrives via a strong project management skillset. He consistently embodies the level of service known to Sugar throughout EMEA to ensure compliance and maximize customer success.

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