Julie Thomas is President and CEO of ValueSelling Associates, a sponsor of the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. (January 15, 2013 is the last day that late entries will be accepted for the 2013 edition. All organizations and individuals worldwide are eligible to submit entries for sales awards, contact center awards, and customer service awards. If you haven't yet done so, you can request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.) Here we sat down with Julie and asked her about selling globally.
As CEO of a company with a global reach, what top 3 tips would you give to international organizations wanting to improve their sales?
Value Selling specializes in helping B2B organizations transition from competing solely on price to competing on quality, so my top tips for companies moving into international markets are:
- Alignment: transitioning sales methods requires consistency. Moving into an international market is a change-management process, and management needs to be aligned with that process.
- Integration: everybody involved in sales needs to be trained to use the same processes and tools that are required to transition to new markets.
- Cultural Adaptation: businesses should be fully aware of cultural differences in new regions and countries before operating in them.
What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
The reality is that while much of the business news these days is related to economic factors, businesses themselves continue to grow and invest. The difference is that nowadays value is more important. Sales people that are aware of this, and are good at helping make the business case for a company to spend more, will themselves be more successful.
What is your favorite business app?
Value Selling has developed an app, ValueSelling Framework® in a Flash©, that provides ValueSelling students with flash cards to remind them of key concepts. Sales people can use the app to refresh their pitch before a sales meeting. The app is available free for smartphones, and a fuller version is available for just $4.99.
If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
I’d probably still be selling something in technology, but if I didn’t need to earn a living, I’d love to work in a non-profit organization. I’m on the advisory board of the eWomenNetwork Foundation’s Advisory Council for women entrepreneurs, and I also help out whenever I can at the Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary in San Diego and the Encinitas Community Resource Centre, just north of San Diego. The holidays are an especially busy time helping out with food, clothing, and toys for families in need.
As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
What inspires me is the fact that the work we do at ValueSelling helps make a difference for both individuals and corporations. And it’s fun to work with sales professionals because they tend to be exuberant, Type A people. It’s highly gratifying to see them succeed using our tools, and I get a lot of feedback from people saying how they’d finally been able to close a deal or how they’d earned a great bonus because of increased business.
About Julie Thomas
Julie Thomas, President and CEO of ValueSelling Associates, is a noted speaker, author and consultant. Thomas began her career at Gartner Group and in 1999, she became Vice President of Gartner’s Sales Training for the Americas, which included successfully managing the training of new hires in the ValueSelling process. In 2003, Thomas acquired ValueSelling Associates with the support of ValueSelling CEO and co-founder Lloyd Sappington. Since then, Thomas has led the company to become an industry leader in competency- and process-based training for escalating sales performance.
Thomas is a guest lecturer at both Babson University and the University of Michigan. She is a member of the advisory board of the eWomenNetwork Foundation Advisory Council and is heavily involved with her local public schools as well as the San Diego Children’s Hospital Auxiliary. Thomas earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Since 1991,ValueSelling Associates has helped FORTUNE 1000 business-to-business sales organizations around the world compete and win. Generating revenue is the goal of all sales organizations. To do that, sales teams need the right tools, skills, and processes to succeed. ValueSelling Associates has maintained its position as a leader in the industry for nearly 20 years by continually evolving to meet the new challenges sales forces face. Clients turn to ValueSelling Associates for classroom training, e-learning, and consulting services that yield immediate impact, repeatable strategies, and sustainable results. For more information, go to www.valueselling.com.