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Michael Gallagher

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Becoming a Stevie Award-Winning Sales Leader

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Dec 28, 2016 @ 10:55 AM

Insights from a Gold Stevie ® Winner at Lennox Industries, Inc.

We wanted to learn a bit more on how Rich Ford, the Sales Director for Lennox Industries in Richardson, Texas  grew to win the Gold Stevie® for Sales Director of the Year in the 2016 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. So, we reached out to the Lennox Industries team and got a few different perspectives. Quan Nguyen,  the VP of Marketing helped us coordinate the conversation and expressed, “We are very excited and proud of Rich.“ Quan pulled in Gary Bedard, the Vice President and General Manager of Lennox Industries as well as the winner himself, Rich Ford.

The 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service is accepting nominations through January 11. REVIEW THE ENTRY KIT HERE.

To get started we asked Gary to give us a bit of background on what solutions Lennox provides.

Lennox Industries is a leading manufacturer and distributor of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems and products for residential and commercial markets. We have leveraged our expertise to become an industry leader known for innovation, quality and reliability,” said Gary.

Lennox 1.jpgGary also shared the Vision behind Lennox.Within the home comfort industry, we want to leverage our one step distribution model to provide our professional contractors with the most innovative and highest quality products and services for them to best serve our end customers.” Bedard continued, “Our core values of integrity, respect, and excellence has built a culture of performance and accountability to execute on our vision.”

When asked about the story behind the nomination, Gary got excited. “We have an outstanding team of sales professionals, a group honored by the Stevies for the Best Field Sales Force!  Within that team, we have a leader of leaders and that was Rich Ford. He’s elevated himself in both action and performance to become a complete sales professional. The three year sales performance and growth we’ve seen out of the Western Region is simply incredible for this industry. His leadership has been instrumental in our results. He continually coaches and mentors his team and his peers. He is a thoughtful advisor to the entire management team. He consistently finds innovative solutions to customer challenges and he maintains the highest levels of standards and integrity. When we saw this award category, we were absolutely delighted to nominate Rich. His contributions have been tremendous and he really embodies all of our values of integrity, respect, and excellence.”

Gary provided interesting background on how Lennox first became acquainted with the Stevie® Awards . “We had started undergoing a transformation in 2010. Coming out of the recession in 2012, we started winning. Not just growing,  but winning by taking market share!  It was largely driven by transformational changes in our sales team and supply chain logistics. I understood that the efforts and success we were making were not just industry leading but world class so we sought to compete on a global level. We came upon the Stevie Awards that way and that’s been one of our inspirations ever since.  And we still continue to win in the market.”

Enter Rich Ford himself who described the actual experience of winning the award. Rich began with,

“When you win something you’re not expecting, or even know you’re being considered, it’s a very humbling experience. We have some amazing leaders in our organization – others deserving of the award and recognition. Then, to find out the organization recognized me as their nominee, made me happy to be a part of the team; the organization as well as our industry.”

We were interested in learninghow the award has affected RIch’s business to which Mr. Ford replied, “I can’t say that the award has affected my business dealings. I’m not a better director or leader as a result of the award. I still strive to contribute to a culture of excellence in everything we do. I still try to bring the highest level of service to our customers and to be a champion and advocate for my team. I’m probably more acutely aware of my day to day interactions and will strive to live up to the expectations that come with the recognition.”

Rich also shared his insights on the future of his industry,The key drivers in our industry have always been regulatory. Either the environmental impact at the federal level or on the local level with utility companies. I find it interesting that the regulations can have a greater impact on our industry going forward beyond the typical SEER/EER ratings standards. Secondary regulations in local markets could impact the way our product is installed. And, as an applied product, this could have either a negative impact or change fundamentally how our product is designed and distributed in the future. Closely watching the actions of our competitors as well as different channels (Residential New Construction for example) will keep it interesting and require staying diligent in our own innovative development of products going forward.”

Rich showed his mettle with some inspiration we can all appreciate, “As I think about where I started professionally and where I ultimately wound up – it’s definitely not a straight line. Often times, Sales Leaders start in sales and through consecutive successes over their careers become who they are – Sales Leaders. I started with Lennox, as an IT Specialist. My background had been technology focused and it was through technology I joined Lennox. It wasn’t long before I noticed a culture of sales excellence within the company through working with the Sales Managers.

It became my purpose and goal to become a Sales Director before I had my first sales position. It was not a clear road.  It took three attempts before I was finally given the opportunity to join the sales team as a Territory Manager. With each rejection I worked harder to get better. I looked for opportunities for improvement by spending time with those who were great in the role to which I wanted to rise. From Territory Manager to District Manager – I learned from great DMs.  From DM to director – I listened to and spoke with great sales directors.  

I’m not a ‘natural salesperson’ as many believe is true for most salespeople. My point is – regardless of your dream – be it a sales leader, a great IT professional or even a great parent – don’t quit getting better at what you want to do. More importantly, find others who do it great and do what they do.”

Lennox 2.jpg

Shown from left to right: Mark Yonai winner of the Stevie Gold for Best Use of Technology, Leigh Ann Vernon winner of the Stevie Gold for Best Sales Meeting, Rich Ford winner of the Stevie Gold for Sales Director, Bill Carlson winner of the Stevie Gold for Business Development.

You can learn more about Lennox Industries at http://www.lennox.com/

Tags: sales team, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, sales awards, Customer Service

If Your Sales Team Has Been Nice, Not Naughty, in 2014...

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 @ 01:26 PM

Happy holidays and all the best to you and yours for 2015 from everyone at the Stevie Awards!

How has your salesforce performed this year?  Have they worked wonders?  Grown revenue?  Grown your client base?  Increased customer retention and satisfaction?  Do you have individual sales teams or performers you'd like to recognize?  Well we have a suggestion for you: nominate them for a Stevie® Award in the 2015 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.  The final entry deadline is January 13.  Complete details are at www.StevieAwards.com/Sales.

Stevie AwardThese are the world's top sales awards and customer service awards.  The list of sales organizations and performers who've been recognized over the years reads like a who's who of sales excellence:  AMD, IBM, Marriott Vacation Club, Richardson... the list goes on. (You'll find complete lists of winners going back to 2006 on the website.)  There's no greater public recognition you can pursue for your star performers than a Stevie Award.  They could receive plaudits from esteemed judges around the world, and accept one of the world's most stunning trophies on a stage before more than 400 of their peers from around the world, during a ceremony that will be broadcast on radio across the U.S.A. (and simulcast worldwide.)

You've got a few weeks yet in which to prepare submit your nominations to the awards.  Here's what you need to do to get started and make sure your team is nominated.

1. Review the Categories
There's a wide variety to choose from. Find the list of them below.  There are categories to recognize entire departments (by industry), specialized teams, executives, as well as the sales reps who are pounding the pavement (or the phones or keyboards, as the case may be).
     TIP: Ask yourself this question: What do we want to be recognized for?  The answer(s) to that question will help you to choose your categories.

2. Prepare Your Entries for Your Categories
The entry requirements are listed below on the categories list .  Most categories require only an essay of up to 650 words about what the nominee has achieved since July 1, 2013.  (The nominee can be an entire company, a single person, or any size group in between.)  You also have the option to supplement your essay with any number of supporting materials to impress the judges.  These could include video clips, images, press clippings... whatever you'd like to include to help tell the nominee's story.
   TIP: Read some of the past Stevie Award-winning entries to get a sense of the types of entries that score well with our judges.  You'll find links to Gold Stevie-winning entries going back to 2006 on the website.

3. Submit Your Entries by the Deadline
The deadline again is January 13.  It's easy to submit entries through the website - begin here. It will take you no more than a few minutes to submit your entries online if you've already prepared them.

4. Contact Us for Help
Email us at help@stevieawards.com at any time, or call us at +1-703-547-8389 with your questions about category selection, entry preparation, the entry deadline...whatever.  We're here to help.

Sales Categories in the 2015 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service

SALES INDIVIDUAL CATEGORIES
The sales individual categories recognize individual sales professionals.
Information required for entries in these categories include:
(a) An essay of up to 650 words describing the nominee’s accomplishments since July 1, 2013. 
(b) Optional (but highly recommended), a collection of supporting files and web addresses that you may upload to our server to support your entry and provide more background information to the judges. At the very least you should provide a link to the organization's website.

1. Senior Sales Executive of the Year
Recognizing senior sales executives with titles such as Chief Sales Officer.  This category may also be used to recognize senior corporate executives for their role in driving sales achievements.

2. Worldwide Sales Executive of the Year
Recognizing sales executives with responsibility for sales performance on a global level.

3. National Sales Executive of the Year
Recognizing sales executives with responsibility for sales performance on a national level.

4. Sales Director of the Year
Recognizing the achievements of sales directors at organizations of any size, of any type.

5. Sales Manager of the Year
Recognizing the achievements of sales managers and sales professionals with a managerial role at organizations of any size, of any type.

6. Sales Operations Professional of the Year
Recognizing sales executives and sales professionals with a managerial role for their achievements in managing sales organizations that run effectively, efficiently and in support of business strategies and objectives.

7. Sales Training or Education Professional of the Year
Recognizing sales executives and sales professionals with a managerial role who manage, design, or deliver sales training or education in any aspect of work life.

8. Sales Representative of the Year
Recognizing individual sales representatives for their personal contributions to organizations’ sales results. This category is split into four separate categories:
   a. Business Services Industries: recognizes sales representatives in business services industries such as advertising, consulting, marketing, public relations, recruiting, etc.
   b. Other Service Industries: recognizes sales representatives in services industries such as financial services, healthcare, hospitality & leisure, legal, media & entertainment, real estate, retail, etc.
   c. Technology Industries: recognizes sales representatives in technology industries such as computer software, computer services, computer hardware, internet/new media, and telecommunications.
   d. All Other Industries: recognizes sales representatives in all industries not covered by the other Sales Representative of the Year categories.

SALES TEAM CATEGORIES
The sales team categories recognize the members of individual teams within your overall sales department.  For example, the team may service a particular customer segment or a single client, or may work in a particular sales territory. 
Information required for entries in these categories include:
(a) An essay of up to 650 words describing the team’s accomplishments since July 1, 2013.
(b) Optional (but highly recommended), a collection of supporting files and web addresses that you may upload to our server to support your entry and provide more background information to the judges. At the very least you should provide a link to the organization's website.

20. Global Sales Team of the Year
Recognizing sales teams whose industry, client, or other focus has a global scope.

21. National Sales Team of the Year
Recognizing sales teams whose industry, client, or other focus has a national scope.

22. Government Sales Team of the Year
Recognizing sales teams whose charge is selling to government clients.

23. Field Sales Team of the Year
Recognizing sales teams that obtain the majority of their business out of the office at face to face meetings with clients.

24. Telesales Team of the Year
Recognizing sales teams that obtain the majority of their business by telephone .

25. Online Sales Team of the Year
Recognizing sales teams that obtain the majority of their business via online and social media.

26. Sales Support Team of the Year
Recognizing teams that provide administrative, logistical, or resource support to sales organizations.

27. Sales Operations Team of the Year
Recognizing teams that help sales organizations to run effectively, efficiently and in support of business strategies and objectives.

28. Sales Management Team of the Year
Recognizing the leadership teams of sales organizations for their achievements.

SALES ACHIEVEMENT CATEGORIES
Information required for entries in these categories include:
(a) An essay of up to 650 words describing the nominee’s accomplishments since July 1, 2013 in the area covered by the category.
(b) Optional (but highly recommended), a collection of supporting files and web addresses that you may upload to our server to support your entry and provide more background information to the judges. At the very least you should provide a link to the organization's website.

30. Sales Turnaround of the Year
Recognizing sales organizations for improvements since July 1, 2013, over the prior year.  Improvements in revenue, operations, and training will be considered in this category.

31. Sales Growth Achievement of the Year
Recognizing sales organizations for their improvements in sales growth - in revenue and/or units - since the beginning of July 2013, over the prior year.

32. Best Use of Technology in Sales
Honoring sales organizations for their innovative use of technology to improve sales operations, drive sales growth, and/or improve customer satisfaction since the beginning of July 2013.

33. Demand Generation Program of the Year
Recognizing sales organizations (and their colleagues in marketing) for their demand generation programs.

34. Outbound Marketing Program of the Year
Recognizing marketing programs that use advertising, promotions, public relations and sales.

35. Inbound Marketing Program of the Year
Recognizing marketing programs that rely on content generation, lead development, and prospect cultivation.

36. Sales Process of the Year
Recognizing sales organizations for their development and use of sales process methodologies.

37. Sales Training or Coaching Program of the Year
Recognizing sales organizations for their development and use of sales training and coaching programs.

38. Sales Meeting of the Year
Recognizing sales organizations for creativity and effectiveness in their sales meetings. There is no entry fee for this category.

39. Award for Innovation in Sales
Recognizing new ideas and developments within sales that enabled organizations to implement creative selling and business development strategies, since the beginning of July 2013, to win new customers and grow revenue.

SALES DEPARTMENT CATEGORIES
The sales department categories recognize everyone who works in sales in your organization, regardless of their role or location.
Information required for entries in these categories include:
(a) An essay of up to 650 words describing your sales department’s accomplishments since July 1, 2013.
(b) Optional (but highly recommended), a collection of supporting files and web addresses that you may upload to our server to support your entry and provide more background information to the judges. At the very least you should provide a link to the organization's website.

40. Sales Department of the Year - Computer Hardware
41. Sales Department of the Year - Computer Services
42. Sales Department of the Year - Computer Software
43. Sales Department of the Year – Distribution & Transportation
44. Sales Department of the Year - Financial Services
45. Sales Department of the Year – Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, and Related Industries
46. Sales Department of the Year – Hospitality & Tourism
47. Sales Department of the Year - Industrial & Manufacturing
48. Sales Department of the Year  - Media & Entertainment
49. Sales Department of the Year – Public Services & Education
50. Sales Department of the Year - Services
51. Sales Department of the Year - Telecommunications
52. Sales Department of the Year – All Other Industries

Tags: sales excellence, business awards, stevie awards, sales awards

New Business Development Awards Categories in the Stevie Awards

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Mon, Dec 15, 2014 @ 06:38 PM

Business development has long been mischaracterized as the little sibling of sales.  Even a major business magazine published an article asking, "What exactly is business development?"  Many business development professionals may feel a bit like Rodney Dangerfield, never getting no respect.

bizdev awardsWe at the Stevie Awards know what business development is, and we're pleased to introduce a menu of categories to recognize business development professionals and achievements in the 2015 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.  The final entry deadline for the 9th edition of these awards is January 13.  Get the entry kit and full details at www.StevieAwards.com/Sales.

These new business development awards categories will recognize the achievements of individual business development professionals, and singular business development achievements in a variety of industries.

Information required for entries in these categories include:
(a) An essay of up to 650 words describing the nominated organization's accomplishments since July 1, 2013.
(b) Optional (but highly recommended), a collection of supporting files and web addresses that you may upload to our server to support your entry and provide more background information to the judges. At the very least you should provide a link to the organization's website.

Here are the business development awards categories to choose from.

130. Business Development Executive of the Year
Recognizing the achievements of business development executives since July 1, 2013. (Professionals at the VP level or higher.)

131. Business Development Professional of the Year
Recognizing the achievements of non-executive business development professionals since July 1, 2013. (Professionals at a Director level or lower.)

132. Business Development Achievement of the Year - Financial Services Industries
Recognizing singular business development achievements - agreements, deals, implementations, and/or performance results - in any of the financial services industries since July 1, 2013.

133. Business Development Achievement of the Year - Hospitality & Leisure Industries
Recognizing singular business development achievements - agreements, deals, implementations, and/or performance results - in any of the hospitality and leisure industries since July 1, 2013.

134. Business Development Achievement of the Year - Media & Entertainment Industries
Recognizing singular business development achievements - agreements, deals, implementations, and/or performance results - in any of the media and entertainment industries since July 1, 2013.

135. Business Development Achievement of the Year - Services Industries
Recognizing singular business development achievements - agreements, deals, implementations, and/or performance results - in any of the services industries (business or consumer) since July 1, 2013.

136. Business Development Achievement of the Year - Technology Industries
Recognizing singular business development achievements - agreements, deals, implementations, and/or performance results - in any of the technology industries since July 1, 2013.

137. Business Development Achievement of the Year - Transportation Industries
Recognizing singular business development achievements - agreements, deals, implementations, and/or performance results - in any of the transportation industries since July 1, 2013.

138. Business Development Achievement of the Year - All Other Industries
Recognizing singular business development achievements - agreements, deals, implementations, and/or performance results - since July 1, 2013 in any industry not addressed by categories 132 - 137.

Finalists in these and all other categories in the 2015 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service will be notified on January 21 and publicly announced on January 22.  The Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners will then be announced at a gala awards banquet at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on Friday, February 27.  Attendance is not required to win, but if you attend you'll mingle with more than 400 sales, business development, customer service, and contact center professionals from around the world.

Questions about how to prepare and submit entries to the awards?  Contact us.

Tags: stevie awards, business development awards, bizdev awards

5 Days of SPAM - Lessons Learned from Holiday Email Marketing

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Dec 05, 2013 @ 02:18 PM

Becky Johns, Vice President of MarketBridge in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, will chair the final judging committee for the Sales Achievement categories in the sales awards section of the 2014 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. (The final entry deadline for the 2014 competition is January 14 — get your entry kit here )  She shares some timely advice on the do’s and don’ts of holiday emails.

In the U.S., the dust has finally settled on yet another record-breaking Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While retailers and shoppers recover from the highs and lows of record breaking sales, near riots, and yes, even the token Taser fight, it’s time to pay homage to the real victim of the holiday shopping melée: your Inbox.

Becky JohnsI’ve just finished spending some time sifting through my email over the past five days. Most of the Holiday Shopper-targeted emails were caught by spam folders, which ironically enough included an email from a national grocer with a special on canned goods (yup, SPAM stuck in spam). Some of the fortunate few survived the treacherous journey past the spam detectors and managed to make it into my actual Inbox … only to lie un-opened and largely ignored over the last few days.

Going through this exercise was both exasperating and somewhat deflating, especially when you consider that retail marketers have likely been planning and conceptualizing these Holiday Shopping emails for months. As a marketer and reformed spammer myself, I can’t help but ask the question: Is this the best we can come up with?

The answer, obviously, is NO. We can do better! And we don’t even have to Taser ourselves to get our creative juices flowing. (Side Note: why are there so many of these videos on YouTube?).

Here are my thoughts on the 4 key lessons from 5 days of Holiday Shopping emails I reviewed.

Day 1: Thursday, November 28th 

Theme of Emails Received: ThanksGivingYouNotice

Apparently there’s a marketing rule that on Thanksgiving Day, every email subject line needs to involve a pun—at least, all the 84 retailer whose emails I received thought so.  A quick subject line sampling (WARNING: these will likely result in you uploading a Self-Tasering video on to YouTube): “Gobble Up Our Sale,” “It’s our Thanksgiving Sales, Pilgrim,” and my personal favorite: “Did You Save Room … In Your Closet?”  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a good pun (see the above SPAM/Spam wordplay). But on a day when you are competing with every other retailer for mindshare—all of whom apparently are trying the same tactic—none of these messages will lead to increased open rates. Beyond this, NONE of these emails had any hint of personalization, leaving me with the feeling that the Retailer was offering me nothing specific.  So why should I even bother clicking on that email, as opposed to the 83 others that I received?

Lesson #1: Customize consumer messages to the individual. I’ve worked with many subscriber lists over the years and spent years cultivating engaged buyer communities solely by building relationship with prospects through email. The one thread common to all of the top-performing emails was the customization and personalization of the content and top-line message. Using what we know about the consumer can help tie relevant messaging to the right buyer at the right moment. Imagine if just one of the retailers picked up on my brand preferences and told me about an exclusive sale just for me.  It would certainly peak my interest—definitely more than “Did you Save Room… In Your Closet?”

Day 2: Friday, November 29th

Theme of Emails Received: Groundhog Day

On Friday, I woke up to double the amount of emails from the previous day. The tone of the day had changed, however, with most of the emails relying on the time-sensitivity factor that marketers love to use to drive reactions: “Today Only,” “Hurry, These Deals Won’t Last,” and “Time Is Running Out.”  But as the day progressed, I started to notice the same emails from retailers popping up for the second, and—I kid you not—third time. If the message had changed or evolved over the course of the day to tie together a story or theme it would have been an interesting strategy, and a compelling message to the consumer. But the same email multiple times simply smacks of laziness and, as a consumer, this would only make me twice as likely to hit the “Report As Spam” button.

Lesson #2: Reinforce your message, but do so by weaving together a story or narrative. Change the copy and/or the creative—and certainly the subject line! Sending the same email multiple times leaves a bad impression with your subscriber base. Adjusting your message can spark interest where the first email did not, thereby casting a wider net.

Over the weekend the emails continued their urgent theme. Some retailers “unexpectedly” extended sales, with new warnings about the impending end to the blowout savings. While it’s clear most retailers were following the tried and true method of putting the savings + urgency in the subject line, all these emails and offers seemed to get muddled together when they were stacked one on top of the other: “Up to 30% off everything,” “20%-40% savings,” “Half Off on Sale Items.” By adding your message to that heap, you are simply ensuring that your message will be simply passed over.

Lesson #3:  Dare to be different. The few retailers that caught my attention were ones that set themselves apart by not focusing on the savings in every blast. One that induced an immediate click was titled: “Thank you for your loyalty.” In a sea of messages aimed at asking me to do something, it was refreshing to see one thanking me for simply being a previous customer. With that said, the same retailer hit me up later with a 20% off discount for my loyalty, but I dutifully obliged by checking out the offer, feeling slightly more appreciated at this point.

Day 5: Monday, December 2nd 

Theme of Emails Received: Groundhog Day… Again

With Cyber Monday came a similar string of emails and tactics as Black Friday. By this point, there wasn’t much new to report—and that is precisely the point. As a consumer, I was fatigued by the emails and started to ignore emails from retailers that I knew had bombarded me over the previous 4 days. Luckily, no Tasers were in sight …

Lesson #4: Less can be more – or rather, more can be too much! In a period where we know consumers are being inundated with messages, we shouldn’t feel compelled to add to the chaos simply to compete. Consumers respect brands that respect them as valued customers and not targets.  Craft the right message by personalizing and customizing it, making it unique, and be strategic in when and how often you deliver that message. At least, that’s how retailers incite action and loyalty from me—and certainly not by the traditional “Taser And Awe” tactics that flooded my Inbox over these 5 days.

About Becky Johns
Becky Johns works with clients to improve marketing and sales productivity by developing and executing integrated data-driven marketing and sales strategies. At MarketBridge, her experience centers primarily on building brand loyalty through customer acquisition, engagement, and retention programs and on developing online and social media communities. In addition, she has expertise in enabling sales teams through innovative training and sales readiness programs. In her eight years with MarketBridge, Becky has managed accounts and initiatives across healthcare, retail, travel and hospitality, financial services, and high tech industries. Prior to MarketBridge, Becky’s background in marketing and advertising included client and agency positions working in both B2B and B2C engagements.

Becky has led her teams at MarketBridge 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; to be awarded the 2011 Marketing Innovation Award for Customer Retention and Loyalty by Merkle and the CMO Council; and to win a Silver Stevie Award for Brand Experience of the Year in the Marketing Awards categories of The 2013 American Business Awards. Becky's list of clients includes MasterCard, Saks Fifth Avenue, Humana, HSBC, Capital One, Guitar Center, Expedia.com, K12, Microsoft, Symantec, SAP, and Neustar.

About MarketBridge
MarketBridge is a leading global provider of digital marketing, sales enablement, and customer analytics solutions for Fortune 1000 and emerging growth companies. MarketBridge helps companies scale revenue growth and increase sales productivity by increasing digital customer engagement (social, mobile, on-line communities, e-commerce) and building robust customer analytics engines that focus marketing investments and sales activity on the right customers, with the right messaging and solution, through the right marketing and sales channels. Follow MarketBridge at: http://blog.market-bridge.com/

Social Selling: What the Oracle Sales Team Is Learning from a Stevie Award Winner

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Oct 23, 2013 @ 04:31 PM

Jill Rowley of Eloqua won the Gold Stevie Award for Sales Representative of the Year in the sales awards categories of the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top honors for sales, business development, contact center, and customer service professionals. (The entry deadline for the 2014 edition of the awards is November 13 - get your entry kit here.) Just before the award was presented in February 2013, Eloqua was acquired by Oracle Corporation .  Jill talked to us about the profound effect on her career that these two events have had.

1310RowleySail150Reaching the Pinnacle
After winning the Stevie Award for Sales Representative of the Year in the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, Jill Rowley had to ask herself: “Where do I go from here?”  She had reached the pinnacle of her profession by being recognized in a leading international awards competition.  With a trophy case that was already stuffed with awards, Jill realized that what she really wanted to do moving forward was not to win more awards, but to focus instead on helping others to achieve similar success.

At around the same time, Eloqua was being acquired by Oracle. To say that Jill was not excited when she first heard about this might be an understatement.  Being more of an entrepreneurial sales person, she had relished the ability to move quickly that Eloqua had offered her. Oracle, on the other hand, seemed like a big, political, hierarchical organization that would slow her down—or so she thought. Contrary to her expectations, Jill has found that working at Oracle has been a “shockingly awesome experience.”

Social Selling Training
Seeing that Jill’s expertise in “going social” had resulted in extraordinary sales at Eloqua, Oracle tasked her with educating their sales force in her award-winning methods.  She has now designed a social selling training program for Oracle sales staff, instructing on the why’s and how’s of leveraging social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter.

- The Why
Jill encourages sales people to read the same things that their buyers read, and to be in the same spaces.  She explains why:  “It’s all about changes in the buyers’ own circumstances. Nowadays they are online and self-educating via search and social networks, like using LinkedIn to find new staff.  Sales people need to be where their buyers are—offline and online.”

 At which point, adds Jill: “A light bulb goes on in their minds: Going social=building your sales pipeline!”

- The How
Having evangelized the why, Jill then moves on to the how.  For this, Jill has been put in charge of Social Selling & Social Business Evangelism and Enablement at Oracle, for which she is devising a series of training modules.

A Sense of Fulfillment
In less than a year, Jill has transferred from the small but successful company that was Eloqua—where she was the top sales rep and self-styled EloQueen--to the mega-company that is Oracle, with a worldwide salesforce of over 20,000.

Any change is hard, and at first Jill was hesitant to make the move, but she says: “Joining the Oracle team has evolved into an incredible opportunity to help other sales professionals modernize their beliefs and behaviors, something that I find incredibly rewarding.”

“The external valediction of the Stevie Awards, the recognition by others in my industry, has given me a sense of fulfillment.  I am now amped up and looking forward to helping others and to working on a much bigger playing field.”

Defining the Modern Sales Professional
Says Jill:  “Winning my Stevie Award back in February is partly what has allowed me to mentally shift gears. Instead of filling up my own trophy case, I am helping the sales people at Oracle to become modern sales professionals.  They are no longer selling to customers: they are helping their buyers to buy.”

Jill feels she is making real progress in her profession because she is helping other sales people to “go social.”  Not only is she helping to change the sales culture at Oracle, she is driving that transformation by being a thought leader in the space of social sales. 

Jill’s goal is to elevate the profession of salesperson worldwide. As she says, she is “shockingly surprised” at how well her new life is going.  In fact, she concludes, “I’m the luckiest girl at Oracle.”

Oracle and Eloqua
You can read more about Oracle and Eloqua on the Oracle Eloqua Blog.

About Jill Rowley
After six years in Consulting and thirteen years in Sales at Salesforce.com and at Eloqua, Jill has made an about-turn in her career: She now leads the Oracle Social Selling initiative.  Jill is currently responsible for evangelizing and enabling Oracle's global sales team on the Why, What, and How of Social Selling.

As an award winning, top selling sales executive, Jill utilized social media in her selling process. She mastered the art, and as a result is one of the most referenced experts in today's shifting world of B2B sales and marketing. From LinkedIn to Twitter to YouTube to SlideShare to Facebook, Jill practices the ABCs of Social Selling: “Always Be Connecting and Curating” quality content.

Jill defines the modern sales professional as an information concierge, a content connoisseur, an insights professional, and a mini-marketer with a personal brand. 

About Oracle
Oracle engineers hardware and software to work together in the cloud and in your data center. For more information about Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), visit www.oracle.com.

Tags: sales excellence, customer service awards, business awards, sales awards, jill rowley, oracle

Tips to Make Your Mark in Sales, From Sales Awards Winner Bill Binch

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Dec 15, 2011 @ 12:30 PM

Bill BinchBill Binch won the Stevie® Award for Worldwide VP of Sales of the Year in the 2011 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top honors for sales, call center, and customer service professionals.  Bill will chair the committee for final judging of the Sales Individual categories in the 2012 edition of the awards.  Entries for the 2012 awards are open through January 18 - submit yours now.

What are your top 3 tips on how to make your mark in sales?

1)    Prioritize your day or someone else will

I was taught early in my sales career to make a list before leaving work of the first 5 things I’m going to do the next day. I still do it. If you don’t set your priorities, a customer, a partner, or a colleague will do it for you.  This means you set the agenda for what it will take to be successful.

2)    There are no traffic jams in the extra mile

This is a fancy way of saying: Differentiate yourself.  For example, think about an interview for a sales job. Most of the candidates are going to tell a similar story to you, meaning you’re all talking about the same stuff.  So tell the story of why you’re unique and find the reason you’re compellingly different.  This applies in sales as well: Many of the products that you’ll sell in a career are similar to another product, so you need to find the edge on why your offering is different.

3) Establish a point of view

People who make a mark have an opinion, so have a point of view.  I respect individuals who can craft a compelling and passionate argument.  Even if I disagree with their opinion, I respect those who show up with their own thoughts.  That means they will likely be creative and not get boxed in.

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?

SAP’s purchase of SuccessFactors.  It is their first true entry into Cloud computing and sends a pretty big signal that I think companies like Salesforce and Oracle will need to respond to.  Also, the price they paid was incredible and creates a new standard for how Cloud-based companies are valued.

What is your favorite sport or hobby?

I enjoy golf, wine tasting, and spending time with my family and friends.

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?

I’d be in the music business.  Music and technology are colliding right now with digital rights, new distribution methods, etc.  I have the technology experience combined with a love of music, so think it would be exciting to be at the forefront of figuring out how people will get and pay for their music going forward.

What quality or qualities do you most value in your business associates?

Self-awareness is a top trait that I admire—people who are confident enough in their skills to know what they’re NOT good at. 

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?

I’ve worked for 18 years dreaming of being in a position like the one I’m in right now.  As a young sales professional, I visualized being the head of sales for a hot, fast-growing company.  Now that I’m part of one, it inspires me to develop the next set of future leaders.  Watching them grow, gain their voice, and make money are the best compliments I can get.  Knowing that you are helping people mature their business skills is tremendously rewarding. 

About Bill Binch
As Senior Vice President of Sales, Bill leads all of Marketo’s sales activities and is a key architect in Marketo’s rapid sales growth. Prior to joining Marketo, Bill was Vice President and General Manager, Distribution, at AVOLENT, where he managed the team focused on the distribution market, small and medium businesses, and install-base customers. Prior to AVOLENT, he developed his sales and operational experience at Oracle, PeopleSoft, and BEA Systems, where he built and managed direct, inside, and channel organizations and ran business units ranging from mid-market business customers to strategic accounts.

Bill graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing.

About Marketo
Marketo is the global leader in Revenue Performance Management. Marketo’s easy-to-use marketing automation and sales effectiveness solutions transform how marketing and sales teams of all sizes work—and work together—to drive dramatically increased revenue performance and fuel business growth. The company’s proven technology, comprehensive services, and expert guidance are helping more than 1,400 enterprise and mid-market companies around the world to turn marketing from a cost center to a business-building revenue driver. Marketo also offers Spark by Marketo™, a new brand of marketing automation tailored specifically for small businesses—the fastest-growing and largest segment of today’s economy. For more information visit www.marketo.com, or subscribe to Marketo’s award-winning blogs at blog.marketo.com.

Tags: business awards, stevie awards, sales awards, sales award, bill binch, marketo

How to Enter the World's Top Sales Awards

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Tue, Sep 27, 2011 @ 04:45 PM

We've published a 13 minute video called How to Enter the 2012 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

The video covers the steps you should follow if you're at all interested in winning the top sales award on the planet.

Entries are now being accepted for the 6th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.  You'll find the entry kit online, here.

If you have questions about how to submit nominations after watching the video, write to us at help@stevieawards.com.  We're here for you!

Tags: business awards, stevie awards, sales awards, sales award

5 Steps to Improved Sales Performance, From a Sales Award Winner

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Aug 18, 2011 @ 11:26 AM

The Brooks Group of Greensboro, North Carolina USA was named Sales Training Practice of the Year earlier this year in the sales awards categories of the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top honors for customer service, call center, and sales professsionals. Here we take a closer look at what drives this sales training firm.  (Entries for the 2012 edition of the awards are now being accepted.)

The sales professionals at The Brooks Group believe in continuity of coaching, customized training, and a consistent focus on client ROI.  This, they believe, is what drives success when it comes to implementing a sales system. 

They also know that if a salesperson follows a proven, tested selling system there is a 93% chance of making the sale. Without a system, the odds drop to 42%. Why? Because most sales people focus on the end stages of the sale and neglect the early-stage actions or leave them entirely up to chance.

A tested, proven sales system will direct the sales professional's attention to the entire sales process.  Following are the five steps that are used by The Brooks Group (TBG) in their proprietary deployment methodology:

Step 1: Assess/Screen

TBG’s powerful TriMetrix™ assessment tool goes beyond most personality-based tests by providing an insight into behavioral drives and attitude.  It tells the client where to place people for maximum results; how to coach medium and high performers for maximum results; why lower performers haven't lived up to expectations and what to do about it; and what non-personality characteristics to look for in new hires to better predict real-world performance.

Getting the right people to perform is the fastest way to translate training to sales. 

Step 2: Design/Customize

While the fundamental dynamics of selling don't change, how a successful sales professional applies those dynamics does change with the type of sale and industry.  TBG tailors its application for each unique industry and market so people are trained in actionable skills and techniques that will work in their field. 

Step 3: Delivery

TBG’s seasoned sales professionals and coaches can train a sales team, or they can "train the trainers," giving them everything they will need to successfully implement a customized training system.   TBG can even grant a license to re-brand its proprietary training under a client’s corporate aegis.  TBG also runs sales and sales-management seminars, and will work with clients to uncover their objectives and recommend the best delivery method possible.

Step 4: Reinforcement

A training program should continue after the sales force gets back in the field to implement what they’ve learned, so TBG’s training doesn’t stop when people leave the program.  Implementing a sales system requires reinforcement to make the training stick, so after 12 weeks a TBG coach leads the team through a competitive reinforcement process. 

Step 5: Measuring Return on Effort/Investment

TBG provides clients with the tools and processes to measure its training impact and results. This has proved to be an excellent customer-retention tool and is part of the reason why 84% of TBG clients who sign on for six months end up staying for more than five years.

In sum, everyone at The Brooks Group is tasked with working every day to “Elevate the Sales Profession.” An earnest belief in the idea that professional
sales people engage in a noble calling drives each member of the team to work hard to improve the skills, attitudes, and reputations of salespeople.

Jeb BrooksOn receiving their Stevie Award earlier this year, Jeb Brooks, Executive Vice President of The Brooks Group, commented: “The entire team at The Brooks Group is very proud to receive this level of recognition by the Stevie® Awards and its impressive panel of judges. This is a testament to the sales philosophy we preach: Commit to making your customers successful and amazing things happen.”

About Will Brooks
Called one of America's most thoughtful sales writers and speakers, Jeb Brooks is the co-author of the books Perfect Phrases for the Sales Call and High IMPACT Selling. He has appeared in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal. Jeb serves as Executive Vice President of The Brooks Group, one of the world’s Top Ten Sales Training Firms as ranked by Selling Power Magazine. He writes for The Brooks Group's popular Sales Blog, Sales Evolution. His greatest professional pleasure, however, comes from actively selling. As he was once told: “Selling is like shaving. If you don't do it everyday, you're a bum!”

About The Brooks Group
Founded in 1977, The Brooks Group is a sales and sales-management training firm that has helped more 3000 organizations in over 400 industries improve their businesses by creating and sustaining top-performing sales and business development programs. Headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, the company offers its clients proven sales and sales-management methodologies, industry-leading reinforcement tools, accountability systems, and sales-management training.  For more information go to: http://www.brooksgroup.com

What do you think of this five-step process?

Tags: sales excellence, brooks group, stevie awards, sales awards, sales award

4 Steps to New Business Success, From a Sales Award Winner

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Aug 10, 2011 @ 12:22 PM

Salesify, Inc. of Redwood City, California USA, a provider of outsourced B2B sales and marketing services, won the Stevie® Award for Sales Department of the Year - Services in the 2011 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. (Entries for the 2012 awards are now being accepted.)  Here we look at how the department’s system works.

Raj HajelaFor a company in the business of accelerating revenue for its customers, it seemed only natural to turn the talents of its sales team to its own sales efforts.

Using the same system that Salesify uses for its clients, the telesales team turned its talents to growing the company’s revenues.

The Salesify system has four tiers: 

1. Contact Discovery

The company’s research team developed its own customized B2B contact list containing current and accurate data.

2. Account Profiling

The team used a combination of online and telephone research to compile account intelligence profiling prospective accounts.

3. Lead Generation

The team leveraged creative content to nurture inquiries. They verified interest to confirm the presence of the most critical components that make up the lead: Interest and need.

4. Appointment Setting

Salesify’s experienced appointment-setting team further qualified leads and set confirmed appointments, which were then converted into highly qualified business opportunities.

High Productivity

The team’s overall productivity was high, with an average dial out—without the use of dialers—of 136 calls per day across a team of 8 sales people. With this level of activity, the team was able to generate on average 12 appointments per rep per month. In addition, the team closed an average of 18 new logo accounts per month—an average of 2.25 new deals per rep.

Quality Customers

While the range of companies that the team targeted and converted to customers included both small and large accounts, including Fortune® 500-listed companies, approximately one-fifth of closed deals included companies that were category leaders.  Revenue growth was also impacted because the team progressively increased the average deal size by almost double across all deals.

“In addition to amazing productivity, the sales team successfully built traction with new product offerings allowing for an increase of our company’s service portfolio. For example, the team successfully added event promotion services into the mix this year, which they were able to both cross sell to existing customers and sell to prospects,” said Raj Hajela, Salesify COO and head of Sales.

Retaining Customers

The Salesify sales team worked closely with Operations to integrate new back-end delivery processes and manage customer expectations of deliverability, which enabled Salesify to close 2010 with no meaningful customer attrition. Customer escalations were also reduced to 18% over the previous year.  While this speaks volumes for the Operations teams' evolution and commitment to high quality, it also reflects the sales team's effectiveness in setting the right expectations to matching the ability of the delivery teams.

In 2010, without any increase in team-size, the telesales team was able to deliver year-over-year growth for Salesify of over 50%, despite the depressed economy.

The company has made the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Fast 50 for two years running (2009 and 2010) and was named to Inc. magazine’s 2010 list of fastest-growing private companies. 

Commented Raj: “Our strong productivity combined with the team’s ability to listen to the customer and meet customer needs resulted in our strongest revenue growth to date. Salesify is honored to be a winner of a 2011 Stevie® Award. Our sales team’s unique accomplishment is testimony to Salesify’s ability to support the success of our customers and fuel their growth.”

About Raj Hajela

Raj Hajela has 20 years experience in high technology sales, sales operations,
and inside sales. As co-founder and COO of Salesify, Raj manages the company’s contact centers and internal sales team. Prior to co-founding Salesify, Raj was responsible for all direct and channel sales for Virtela in India.  He established Virtela’s first India-based B2B inside sales team to support all the company’s U.S. field sales teams. Previously, Raj had been Head of Business Development at TangibleData, had held a senior sales role at MCI, and had led a successful business consulting practice with clients such as Comdial Corporation and Innodata.

About Salesify

Salesify, a provider of outsourced B2B demand-generation services, helps its clients create pipeline and accelerate revenue by identifying, profiling, nurturing, and contacting the right decision makers within their clients’ targeted customer and prospect accounts. Salesify services include custom, targeted B2B contact lists; account profiling and competitive research; phone-based lead nurturing campaigns and content syndication; appointment setting; inbound lead generation qualification services; and CRM database cleansing. Salesify delivers high quality, cost-effective services and programs tailored to address each customer’s unique requirements. With over 300 clients, Salesify has a proven track record of helping some of the world’s largest technology companies drive revenue. For more information, visit salesify.com or call 1-888-557-2537.

Tags: salesify, best sales department, stevie awards, sales awards, sales award

3 Ways Multichannel Marketing Can Increase Sales

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Aug 04, 2011 @ 12:04 PM

Q&A with Jeffrey Max, CEO of Venda, Inc., a provider of multichannel commerce solutions, which won the Stevie Award for Best Business Service Web Site in the web awards categories of The 2011 American Business Awards. Here we talk with Jeffrey Max, CEO, about convergent commerce and the next evolution in marketing.

Jeffrey MaxWhat three ways can retailers and brands best utilize multichannel marketing to increase sales?

Nowadays we are seeing a convergence of disparate channels into a cohesive brand and shopping experience.  The following are just three of the ways retailers and brands can take advantage of this:


1. Use social media as an engine for the whole shopping experience
Merchants and businesses used to think only in terms of running the different sales outlets for their business—brick-and-mortar stores, online channels, social media—as different and separate entities.   The Internet was only used for online sales, whereas today it is the primary channel for social media, brand projection, online engagement, or brand affinity and PR.  Companies should now consider social media as an engine for the whole shopping experience, and since people prefer to carry out this activity with friends and family, social media is a natural fit.

    2. Make sure your channels are mobile-optimized
    The most social tool of all is the mobile phone, which allows customers, devotees, and fans to engage with brands wherever and whenever they choose. Customers used to have to walk into a shop or sit in front of a computer to find what they were looking for. Now engagement can be all-pervasive.

    3. Embrace and prepare for location-based services
    Using the leverage of online shopping empowers customers to shop or purchase wherever and whenever they want. New opportunities utilizing location-based attributes of mobile technology can enable brick-and-mortar stores to engage with the customer and can allow merchants to promote specials, discounts, and new items when the customer is physically in or near the store. Overall, businesses need to think in a holistic way and embrace a range of technical tools, for example linking websites to in-store promotions. 

    What item of news recently caught your eye and why?

    This story is a few months old now, but I was fascinated to learn that when Larry Page returned as CEO of Google back in April, one of the first things he did was to outlaw multitasking at meetings, one of my pet peeves.

    Do you have a favorite business app?

    From the consumer’s perspective, I like to keep an eye out for shopping apps. One of the most useful is Catalogue by The Find (for iPhone and iPad), which delivers a very usable interface for scanning company catalogs. If you find something that interests you, simply tap on the screen and it will take you to that catalog’s website so that you can purchase it.  This app definitely expands boundaries for consumers.

    If you could choose another profession, what would it be?

    I started out as a professional yacht captain delivering large yachts around the world; I then went on to have a fruitful career as a commodities trader on Wall Street, which morphed into a software and services company providing risk management tools for banks and securities exchanges. While I’ve been fortunate to have already had several exotic and exciting careers, working now in eCommerce offers exposure to a wide variety of organizations—from fashion to government agencies to museums—and at the same time it’s at the forefront of  how people interact with technology and how it influences their lives every day. This provides all the intellectual stimulation that I need.

    What quality or qualities do you most value in your business associates?

    Integrity, enthusiasm, and execution. A good business relationship is built on trust and execution.  Both the provider and the consumer expect us to deliver, while at the same time we expect our customers to operate with integrity.

    What do you think is the worst bad habit to have at work?

    Multitasking.  I’ve already mentioned that Larry Page has banned it from Google meetings, but across my professional career I’ve found more and more that the attention span of individuals is dropping, along with standards of professional courtesy. I find that there are real business benefits to being fully present and engaged when meeting with clients.

    As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?

    Every new day brings new opportunities and challenges. We are working on the creative side of new technologies that are changing the way things are done.  Right now the main growth in retail is online, and these new tools are influencing the way people live their lives.  So, other than actually saving lives like a doctor or surgeon, being a catalyst for change is highly exciting and rewarding.

    About Jeffrey Max

    Jeff joined Venda in 2003, and was responsible for establishing the company’s North American operation. A serial technology entrepreneur, Jeff brings the company more than 25 years of leadership and experience creating, growing, and transitioning software and services companies.

    Jeff has been a leading voice of innovation in the eCommerce industry, beginning with Venda’s introduction as the first enterprise-scale, cloud-based eCommerce offering in the US, to the Company’s current vision of omni-channel Convergent Commerce.

    Prior to joining Venda, Jeff was a principal at PLR Advisors, a capital market advisory firm, CEO of Whitelight Technologies (sold to SunGard in 2003), Director of International Market Development at OptiMark Technologies, and CEO of Systems Development Corporation (sold to Telkurs in 1996). He currently serves on the Boards of several cloud-computing start-ups.

    About Venda

    Venda is a global provider of multichannel commerce solutions. Customers embrace comprehensive online, mobile and social commerce, international expertise, end-to-end fulfillment solutions, and transparent pricing that yields superior ROI. Venda customers include industry leaders Tesco, Superdrug, JVC, Urban Outfitters, Condé Nast, and Jimmy Choo. Venda has offices in New York, London, and Bangkok.

    What do you think of Jeff's advice for retailers and brands?

    Tags: business awards, stevie awards, web awards, sales awards, venda, jeffrey max