The Stevie Awards Blog

Enable Salespeople to Sell on Value—Not Price

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Fri, Mar 29, 2019 @ 11:20 AM

It’s a conference room typically reserved for regimented business meetings, but on this winter day, the space transformed into a playground for a small group of sales associates. Each carefully bends and conjoins pipe cleaners in order to build a menagerie of animal figures and trees.

The undertaking isn’t simply an opportunity for distraction, however. In this case, the participants, who are taking part in a workshop by the sales training firm PJ Nisbet & Associates, are getting a lesson in kinesthetic learning. The idea is to help sellers use tactile experiences in future presentations with would-be buyers.

Welcome to the world of sales performance improvement, where clients look for whatever edge they can get in order to gain an advantage over the competition. For the consultancy, which is based in Cambridge, England, United Kingdom, raising top-line numbers is mission number one.

pj nisbetThat companies are looking to give their sales teams a leg up is, perhaps, no big surprise. The ability to generate leads and to convince customers to buy a product or service is the lifeblood of most businesses.

“It doesn’t matter how good the rest of the organization is. If the sales team is not functional, you are not generating revenue, so the rest is irrelevant,” says Nisbet, who founded the company more than a decade ago.

Often, the heart of the sales process is an interpersonal relationship between seller and potential buyer. Through workshops and e-learning modules, Nisbet’s firm tries to help professionals understand how to identify their best prospects and to get those individuals to buy into their offerings.

The company, which recently earned a Bronze Stevie® Award for Sales Training Practice of the Year, offers what it says is an easy-to-use, repeatable sales method. Clients can use this to secure more prospects at the top of the sales funnel, to qualify them in or out, and, ultimately, to close more purchases with higher profit margins.

One of the program’s core objectives is to help participants articulate their organizations’ strengths so they don’t have to put in rock-bottom quotes to seal deals.

“We enable salespeople to sell on value—not price,” says Nisbet.

New Challenges in the Selling Process

A seasoned business executive with a degree in organizational behavior, Nisbet launched the eponymous sales training firm in his native South Africa in 2006. He eventually relocated it to the United Kingdom, but he still does a lot of business back home. Presently, 50 percent of his clients are in the United Kingdom, and 10–15 percent are in Africa, with the remainder spread throughout Europe and the rest of the globe.

The company has taken on some big-name clients over the years, including Dunlop, Deloitte, and the investment giant J.P. Morgan. Instilling a companywide training philosophy at a global business presents certain logistical difficulties, but Nisbet seems to relish the challenge.

“Last year, over a nine-month period, we trained one thousand five hundred salespeople for one company at fifty-three events in twenty countries using materials in fourteen different languages,” the entrepreneur says. “The best part is that the company’s share price was the highest it’s ever been, which they attribute, in large part, to the implementation we spearheaded.”

In an age when most big companies are using one or more software platforms to manage the sales funnel, Nisbet says the flexibility of his company’s approach is a key to its success.

“When we start an engagement, we go through a discovery phase, and we learn about the automation tools our client is using,” he says. “We then methodically adapt our program to make sure we are using a common language.”

His team is also willing to use a shared risk–reward model, which reduces up-front fees in exchange for a share of the client’s future profits.

“Most sales training organizations wouldn’t do this,” Nisbet adds, “but we’re confident in our methods and enjoy having a little skin in the game, so to speak.”

In a couple of important ways, Nisbet suggests the stakes are higher than ever when it comes to training salespeople. For one, more customers are doing preliminary research online. This means they’re more knowledgeable when they first engage with sales reps. Secondly, purchase decisions have become more complex in the wake of the Great Recession, with stakeholders from finance, quality, compliance, and other parts of the organization getting more involved.

For PJ Nisbet & Associates, though, that’s also an opportunity to help those professionals adapt to a different selling climate.

“Today’s salesperson must be more consultative and better informed to guide buyers and influencers through the process and to help them to ask the right questions. It’s no longer about just showing up with a great product and pitching its attributes,” says Nisbet.

Tags: sales awards, sales achievement

Chairs Named for 2014 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service Final Judging Committees

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Jan 15, 2014 @ 04:11 PM

The following seven executives have been appointed to head the final judging committees that will determine the Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie® Award winners in the 2014 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service.  (All the category groups can be viewed in more detail here.) The winners will be announced at the awards gala on Friday, February 21 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Becky JohnsBecky Johns, Vice President of MarketBridge in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, is Chair of the Final Judging Committee for the Sales Achievement and Sales Individual categories.

Becky Johns works with clients to improve marketing and sales productivity by developing and executing integrated data-driven marketing and sales strategies. At MarketBridge, a global provider of digital marketing, sales enablement, and customer analytics solutions, her experience centers primarily on building brand loyalty through customer acquisition, engagement and retention programs and developing online and social media communities. Becky recently led her MarketBridge teams to win back-to-back Gold Stevie Awards for Sales Training Program of the Year in the 2012 and 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service Awards, as well as a Silver Stevie for Brand Experience of the Year in The 2013 American Business Award.

George OrrGeorge Orr, Vice President of Client Services at kCura in Chicago, Illinois, USA, is Chair of the Customer Service & Contact Center Achievement Final Judging Committee.

George Orr is vice president of client services at kCura, a developer of web-based e-discovery applications for managing large volumes of electronic evidence during litigation or investigations.  A member of the kCura team since 2007, George’s department is responsible for much of the company’s client-facing activity. Over the past few years, George has helped the team’s processes evolve from “brute-force problem-solving” to a set of polished procedures that ensures a positive customer experience every time. Prior to taking the reins of kCura’s client services department, George worked as the messaging systems manager for Rotary International, a Chicago-based non-profit organization specializing in humanitarian funding programs.

George is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition to being a Relativity Certified Administrator, George also has extensive Microsoft and infrastructure training and is certified in both arenas.

 

Mike Ortegon

Mike Ortegon, Director of Global Sales Operations at HomeAway.com in Austin, Texas, USA, Chairs the Final Judging Committee for the Sales Team and Sales Department categories.

Mike Ortegon joined HomeAway in March 2012. As the Director of Global Sales Operations, he is responsible for supporting sales leaders across the globe to help them make well-informed business decisions and to run effective and efficient teams while aligning to corporate strategy.  Throughout his career, Mike has been in management, operational, sales, and marketing roles in North America, EMEA, Latin America, and APAC. 

 

Sanjeev GargSanjeev Garg, Global Head of Customer Care, Commercial Vehicles Business Unit at TATA Motors in Mumbai, India, is Chair of our Customer Service & Contact Center Individual Final Judging Committee.

Sanjeev Garg has been the Global Head of Customer Care for the Commercial Vehicle Business Unit of Tata Motors since December 2011. His customer care group is spread across four continents and supports more than 3 million Tata Motors vehicles through 2,300-plus service touch points and over 33,000 retail networks of spare parts. In 1996, Sanjeev joined General Motors Ltd and was instrumental in launching new initiatives for the customer satisfaction index and new Competitive Intelligence processes. His work at GM encompassed global geographies including South East Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Under his leadership, GM was ranked No. 1 in customer satisfaction in the Middle East, ahead of Toyota, Honda, and Nissan.

KellyThomasThe Chair of our Customer Service Department Final Judging Committee is Kelly Thomas, Assistant Vice President, Client Relations at OppenheimerFunds, Inc., in Englewood, Colorado, USA.

Kelly Thomas began working with OppenheimerFunds 29 years ago and currently is assistant vice president of Client Relations at its Denver Campus.   Her leadership philosophy is to act with integrity and pursue excellence.  She believes a leader should be able to take risks, to challenge the status quo, to inspire others, and to create a healthy work environment that will encourage and foster team collaboration. In addition to her leadership role within OppenheimerFunds, Kelly serves as the president of the City of Centennial Chapter for the National Association of Professional Women

BenHerkenhoffBen Herkenhoff, Customer Interaction Center Manager at Outsell, LLC in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, Chairs our Customer Service & Contact Center Team Final Judging Committee.

Ben Herkenhoff has been the manager of the Customer Interaction Center at Outsell for the past two years.  Outsell LLC is a digital marketing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company that is transforming the way brands engage with consumers. Its Digital Engagement Platform offers clients the ability to consistently engage with consumers across distributed sales networks from the national to local level. Ben’s team at Outsell won the Stevie® Award for Contact Center of the Year in the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

Ben tells us he is “excited to get started” on the final judging, and has worked hard to put together a great committee.

Ansa SekharanThe Chair of our Final Judging Committee for the New Product & Service and Solution Provider categories is Ansa Sekharan, Senior Vice President, Global Customer Support at Informatica Corporation in Redwood City, California, USA

Ansa Sekharan is senior vice president of Global Customer Support at Informatica Corporation, an independent provider of data integration software and data masking technology. He is responsible for establishing Informatica as a trusted partner for customers worldwide by ensuring their success with Informatica's products.  Ansa has a very busy schedule, dividing his time between Redwood City, California and Bangalore, India, as well as other global Informatica locations.


 

Tags: sales excellence, judging, stevie award, stevie awards for sales and customer service, sales achievement, sales award, sales award, Sales Performance, Sales, judges, Finalists

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