Sales Awards Blog

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, sales awards, stevie awards, business awards

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, sales awards, business awards, customer service awards, jill rowley, oracle

Are You an Effective Sales Rep? Take a Stevie Awards Winner's Test

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 @ 10:31 AM

Dan Seidman, CEO of Got Influence? in Barrington, Illinois, USA, won the Gold Stevie® Award for Sales Training or Education Leader of the Year in sales awards categories 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. Here Dan discuses sales excellence.

Dan Seidman, CEOm Got Influence?This is a test, not a quiz.  Quizzes are easy.

This is a test that will give you a true measure of your understanding about sales skills.

This is a test. The right answers will improve your performance throughout the rest of your selling career.

Ready?  Answer the following three questions (and don’t cheat—write down the first answer that hits you):

  1. Who are you REALLY competing with? 
  2. What is the #1 PROBLEM encountered by anyone who sells anything?
  3. What is your RESPONSIBILITY on a sales call?

Now that you’ve written your answers, let’s work our way through each of these questions.

1. Who are you REALLY competing with?
No, it’s not you—though that might be the second smartest answer. In training sessions I’ve had salespeople tell me: It’s the cheapest competitor; the rep with the best rapport; the most persistent rep; or even the rep who offers the best bribe.

(And by the way, you do compete with yourself, in the sense that you can improve. By not improving, you are simply getting in your own way.)

Here’s the answer: You REALLY compete with the best sales professional that your buyer has ever encountered.

Think about that. Someone before you set a standard by which you and all others are measured. This might include how professionally you dress; your skill with words; your ability to sell without pressuring; your ability to ask the right questions; or your skill at reframing the issues.  Or it might reflect on your ability to quantify whether an investment in your solution will provide a worthy return on that purchase. Pack these together and you get the Best of the Best. That’s the framework for the buyer.

This buyer is probably not consciously comparing you against such elevated standards, but he or she somehow just remembers the experience of sitting down with that true selling pro.  So you’d better not be using old sales tactics that everyone’s heard a hundred times. You’d better truly distinguish yourself from other reps in order to gain a commitment from the buyer.

What do I like best about this answer? Outstanding selling pros will think: “Hey! I can be the one who sets the standard for all those other miserable reps out there. I can be the best.” And it gives them the incentive to work hard to outperform everyone they’re competing with.

How well do you want to attain selling immortality? You’ll need great training, or at least to adopt new strategies.  Try reading about, listening to, and viewing the latest sales techniques, and hang out with the best sales pros you can find.

2. What is the #1 PROBLEM encountered by anyone who sells anything?
The most popular response to this question? No money.

(I debunk this quickly in training by sharing a 12-page, single-spaced document of responses to the price objection. I have even compressed this masterful montage of objections and responses into one page—in a very tiny font!—so that reps can carry it around with them as a reminder that they have the flexibility to deal with any resistance related to money.)

Others respond that the #1 problem is no training, bad prospects, or the inability to reach the real decision-maker.

The real answer: The #1 PROBLEM you encounter is that you are chasing poor prospects.

Mention this to a room full of sales managers and their heads start nodding vigorously, like a freeway full of cars with bobble-head dolls during an L.A. earthquake.

We all do this: We look at the size of the sale or the prestige of the prospect or that smiling buyer and think: “YES! It’s a YES! They’re buying!”

Wrong. People really do hate to hurt your feelings, even if you’re a total stranger who has wrangled an appointment out of them. A prospect who acts nice, then tells you that they’ll get back to you, is not a good thing.  It’s a disaster.  So if someone says: “I’ll think about it and let you know,” you know. Chasing poor prospects is the biggest time-waster in the sales world.

This problem can be eliminated: Simply identify your perfect prospect and only court a prospect who fits that profile.

Who is your perfect prospect? Just look back at some of your best existing clients. Identify how you sold to them; what their needs were; how long it took to get to the real decision-maker; how quickly they made a decision. If you and your team can clearly identify a perfect prospect, you’ll stop chasing the poor ones.

3. What is your RESPONSIBILITY on a sales call?
(Hint: The answer has to be correct 100% of the time, whether you are talking about face-to-face meetings or phone calls.)

Here are some answers that are correct, but NOT 100% of the time: selling the buyer; educating the buyer; discovering the buyer’s needs; handling objections; finding the decision-maker; identifying the time frame for a decision; gaining an idea of the available budget; and so on.

The answer that is true 100% of the time?  Your RESPONSIBILITY on a sales call is to GET A DECISION.

If getting a decision is your key focus, it drives all your activity and language choices.

Here’s the how and why of decisions: You get a YES, that’s good—you sold them. You get a NO, that’s good—move on. You get a next step, that’s good—set the appointment for that next step. You get an “I’ll think it over,” that’s BAD, that’s not a decision.  So preempt that problem by asking your buyer to commit to a yes, no, or the next step.

This is the single most important concept any sales pro can learn and put into play.

The key to pulling this off is to draft a script that covers your rules of engagement. (You can use the script on the phone, but for face-to-face you’ll need to memorize it—while sounding spontaneous, of course.) The script might start: “Mr./Ms. Prospect, our conversation today is to determine whether we can work together. So at the end of our time, let’s figure out if it’s yes or no, or whether we need to set a next step …”

That’s just a snapshot of how this would work—and work it does, rather well, in fact.

How Did You Do?
You’ve finished the test and you have your three answers. How did you do? Did the responses here create a bit of an AHA! moment or two or three? Perhaps they made you say: “Ouch, I need a little work here.”

Think about how well your organization’s sales training measures up to these standards. You can produce smarter sales pros by teaching them concepts that mediocre reps won’t know.

Remember, to improve performance you must change behavior, and each of the three best responses requires a behavior change to put them into action.

Have some thoughts on these ideas? Please share them with me.

About Dan Seidman:
Dan Seidman is CEO of Got Influence? and one of the top sales coaches in the United States.  He is the author of the 600-page Ultimate Guide to Sales Training, (Pfeiffer, 2012), and six other books, including The Secret Language of Influence and Sales Autopsy!  Dan is also a consultant to the world’s leading training organization, ASTD (74,000 members), where he is helping to design a global sales-training program.

Dan is a former athlete with three Olympic gold medals for playing on the U.S. basketball team. He is married and lives in Barrington, Illinois.

Tags: sales excellence, sales awards, business awards, Got Influence, Sales training or education leader of the year, Dan Seidman

One Grand Reason to Enter the 2013 Sales & Customer Service Awards

Posted by Liz Dean on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 @ 02:22 PM

The final entry deadline for the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals, is tomorrow, January 15, and we thought it would be helpful if we shared one grand reason you should enter the 2013 awards.

Gold Stevie Awards TrophyHere's one more giant reason you should enter the 2013 awards: This will be your final opportunity to win the traditional, large Gold Stevie Award trophy. After this edition of the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the large trophy will become the Grand Stevie Award in all of our programs, and a new, smaller Gold Stevie trophy will be conferred. The Grand Stevie Award trophy will be awarded to only a handful of organizations in each of our four competitions and the new Gold Stevie Award trophy will be the same size as the Silver and Bronze Stevie Award trophies. Read more about this here.

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service feature more than 125 sales awards, customer service awards, and call center awards categories honoring sales excellence and best customer service practices for individuals, teams, and departments, plus categories for products and service and solution providers. If you haven't yet done so, you can begin your submission process by requesting your entry kit here.

Finalists will be notified on January 23 and winners of the 2013 edition will be announced at an awards banquet at Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on February 25, 2013.

Have last minute questions regarding the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service? Email us at help@stevieawards.com or call us at + 1 703-547-8389 and we'll get back to you right away.

Tags: sales excellence, sales awards, business awards, customer service awards, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, best customer service, call center awards, grand trophy

5 Days to Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service Final Entry Deadline

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 @ 04:18 PM

Tuesday, January 15 is the final entry deadline for the 2013 (7th annual) Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals.

Stevie Awards LogoIf you haven't yet done so, you can begin your submission process by requesting your entry kit here. The entry kit contains all of the instructions you need about how to prepare and submit your entries.

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service feature more than 125 sales awards, customer service awards, and call center awards categories honoring sales excellence and best customer service practices for individuals, teams, and departments, plus categories this year for products and service and solution providers. The 2013 awards will recognize achievements since July 1, 2011.

Information generally required for 2013 entries include an essay of up to 525 words describing the nominee’s achievements during the eligibility period; links to any online materials that support the nomination; and a brief (125 word) biography of the nominee.

To make the most out of your entries, we suggest downloading our 5 Tips for Winning Sales Awards in the 2013 Stevie® Awards tipsheet, reviewing past winners' entries, and watching our short video, How to Enter the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

Winners of the 2013 edition will be announced at an awards banquet at Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on February 25, 2013.

Have questions regarding the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service?  Email us at help@stevieawards.com or call us at + 1 703-547-8389 and we'll get back to you right away.

Tags: sales excellence, sales awards, business awards, customer service awards, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, best customer service, call center awards

3 Tips on Beating the Competition, From a Sales Awards Judge

Posted by Liz Dean on Wed, Jan 09, 2013 @ 12:25 PM

Robert Jeppsen is the Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales at Zions First National Bank in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, and is the Chair of the final judging committee of the Sales Individual categories 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 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 Rob shares some useful tips on beating the competition.

Robert Jeppsen, Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales, Zions First National BankAs one of the top sales executives for a growing financial institution, what top 3 tips would you give to sales individuals seeking to make their mark in sales?

  1. Understand that HOW you sell is far more important than WHAT you sell.  Products are copied almost immediately, especially in financial services.  While products will be copied, experiences can’t be.  Making the client experience your priority, from the initial sales process on, is the most sustainable competitive advantage you can have.
  1. Discover the process that works in your marketplace.  With the right process you can do things that would otherwise be impossible.  Process gives you predictability in sales, which may be the most desirable thing a business can have.  This is particularly important in complex sales environments like financial services.  For example, in commercial banking, studies show that it takes a minimum of 6-8 calls to a potential client before they actually get serious about considering the new banker as a viable option.  Here’s the problem: Most bankers quit calling on a prospect after 2-3 calls, the perspective being that there is no opportunity. In reality, at this point a banker is only 25-30% of the way to the stage of being seriously considered.  Process allows you to have indicators that not only help to win more business, but also provide confidence about where you are in each transaction.  Once you discover it, the right process can be a huge and ongoing competitive advantage: less than 10% of salespeople currently use a milestone-based process as part of their regular approach to winning and retaining business.
  1. Products don’t matter.  My first law of sales is simple: “Products have no value. Products only derive value.”  Rather than have your call preparation be about product knowledge and product fluency, my suggestion is to learn the breadth of problems a product can solve and why those problems matter.  Nobody likes a “Press Play” salesman who just switches on a product pitch.  If you can be fluent and comfortable in having conversations about the impact—preferably a dollarized impact—of solving a business problem, you will find that your sales cycle time shrinks and your win rate will rise pretty quickly.  One of the most important skills a salesperson can have is fluency and confidence in deriving value.  The better you are at this, the more successful you will be.

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
The most important news topic to me right now is U.S. fiscal policy.  New tax laws will have a huge impact on business owners and will create significant changes in our business environment.  With change there is always opportunity, and I want to be sure to be close to the changes that are inevitably coming in the short term. We saw a lot of business owners move into “hunker down” mode as the election drew near.  The jury is still out on the impact to business owners and their ability to grow.  As a financial institution that has been the #1 SBA lender in the Western United States, the economic environment for business owners is the most significant issue right now.  A lot of clients are asking us for insights into what the implications will be for them, and I want our team to be able to provide meaningful advice. 

What is your favorite app?
Like many sales leaders, I am on the road a lot and not able to attend many events back home with my family.  I miss a lot of the games that my kids play in, so an app that has been a real difference maker for me is GameChanger.  It allows an absentee Dad to “watch” a game by posting play-by-play updates, and for a Coach, it provides instant stats and match-up/coaching suggestions. (And as a sports fan, another app I don’t know what I would do without is ESPN ScoreCenter, which provides scores and news of sports leagues around the world.)

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
I would be a basketball coach.  The most fun I’ve had came when I was a volunteer coach for a local high school’s varsity basketball team.  It was in a less-affluent part of our area and many of the boys had never had the experience of learning the relationship of preparation and success. They hadn’t had a winning season since 1972.  But we had a winning season that year, and qualified for the state tournament…a quick turnaround.   I am in sales because I love the competitive element.  It gives me that thrill of competition I used to have as an athlete.  But as much fun as it has been to achieve my own success, I have found the most fulfillment when I guide a team to a point where the collective group wins instead of just me.  A much larger challenge is a much more fulfilling one.  Coaching a NCAA D1 team would be about as good as it gets!

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
I love winning.  At Zions, we have a big team and big challenges.  Last year, every single one of our 10 regions hit goal.  We had 31% growth in a down economy, and we beat our 2007 production numbers with fewer people.

There are big challenges in our industry right now that require big plans and big execution.  I like taking the NOT out of CANNOT and helping people realize they can do things that others simply don’t think is possible.  I like to go out and do things that are just too inconvenient for my competitors.  It is a ton of fun and it makes everything worthwhile.

About Robert Jeppsen:
Rob Jeppsen is the SVP of Commercial Sales for Zions Bank. With over 16 years of direct sales and sales leadership experience, Jeppsen has worked in publicly-traded organizations, privately-held organizations, and has successfully led sales teams in the technology, pharmaceutical, and financial services sectors.

Jeppsen is a regular speaker at conferences nationwide and at universities in the Western United States. He is the creator of the Zions Bank Business Performance Series, a tool offered to Zions' clients interested in building a world-class sales system. The course was taken by over 500 businesses in the 2010-2012 period. 

About Zions First National Bank:
Zions First National Bank is a subsidiary of Zions Bancorporation, which operates more than 500 offices and 600 ATMs in 10 Western states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington. As a full-service bank, Zions offers commercial, installment and mortgage loans; trust services; foreign banking services; electronic and online banking services; automatic deposit and nationwide banking and transfer services; as well as the more familiar checking and savings programs. For more information, go to https://www.zionsbank.com

Tags: sales excellence, sales awards, business awards, customer service awards, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, best customer service, call center awards, Zions First National Bank, Robert Jeppsen

Watch "How to Enter the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service"

Posted by Liz Dean on Tue, Dec 18, 2012 @ 05:44 PM

We've just published a short video called How to Enter the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Watch it here:

The brief video offers a comprehensive overview of the Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals, including:

  • What the Stevie Awards are, and their history
  • The schedule for the 2013 awards
  • How to review and select categories
  • How to prepare and submit entries
  • How the judging process works
  • Best practices

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service feature more than 125 sales awards, customer service awards, and call center awards categories honoring sales excellence and best customer service practices for individuals, teams, and departments, plus categories this year for products and service and solution providers. The final entry deadline for the 2013 edition is January 15, you can begin your submission process by requesting your entry kit here.

Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.  Email us at help@stevieawards.com or call us at + 1 703-547-8389 and we'll get back to you right away.

Tags: sales excellence, sales awards, business awards, customer service awards, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, best customer service, call center awards

Two Days to Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service Entry Deadline

Posted by Liz Dean on Mon, Nov 12, 2012 @ 12:29 PM

Wednesday, November 14, is the entry deadline for the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. (If you can't make the November 14 entry deadline, entries will still be accepted through January 15, 2013 with payment of a $35 late fee per entry.)

Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer ServiceAll entries are submitted online. You can begin your submission process by requesting your entry kit here. The entry kit contains all of the instructions you need about how to prepare and submit your entries.

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service feature more than 125 sales awards, customer service awards, and call center awards categories honoring sales excellence and best customer service practices for individuals, teams, and departments, plus categories this year for products and service and solution providers. The 2013 awards will recognize achievements since July 1, 2011.

To make the most out of your entries, we suggest reviewing last year's Gold winning entries. 2012 winners include: Adam Bain, Chief Revenue Officer, Twitter, Inc. (Senior Sales Executive of the Year), Direct Alliance (Government Sales Team of the Year), Joey Romaine, Customer Service Role Model and Innovator, Groupon (Young Customer Service Professional of the Year), United Parcel Service, Inc. (Front-Line Customer Service Team of the Year), and eCornell (Customer Service Department of the Year), among others. A complete list of 2012 honorees is available at www.StevieAwards.com/Sales.

Winners of the competition will be announced at an awards banquet at Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on February 25, 2013.

Need help submitting entries to the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service?  Email us at help@stevieawards.com  or call us at + 1 703-547-8389.

Tags: sales excellence, sales awards, business awards, customer service awards, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, best customer service, call center awards

Less Than Two Weeks to Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service Entry Deadline

Posted by Liz Dean on Mon, Nov 05, 2012 @ 01:13 PM

Next Wednesday, November 14, is the entry deadline for the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. (If you can't make the November 14 entry deadline, entries will still be accepted through January 15, 2013 with payment of a $35 late fee per entry. You can request your entry kit here.)Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service feature more than 125 sales awards, customer service awards, and call center awards categories honoring sales excellence and best customer service practices for individuals, teams, and departments, plus categories this year for products and service and solution providers.

Entrants may submit any number of nominations to any number of categories, which include:

  • Sales Individual categories such as Senior Sales Executive of the Year and Sales Operations Professional of the Year
  • Sales Team categories like Global Sales Team of the Year and Field Sales Team of the Year
  • Sales Achievement categories such as Sales Turnaround of the Year and Outbound Marketing Program of the Year
  • Sales Department of the Year categories in 13 industry groupings
  • Customer Service and Contact Center Individual categories such as Front-Line Customer Service Professional of the Year and Customer Service Leader of the Year
  • Customer Service and Contact Center Team categories like Contact Center of the Year and Customer Service Management Team of the Year
  • Customer Service and Contact Center Achievement categories such as e-Commerce Customer Service Award and Award for Innovation in Customer Service
  • Customer Service Department categories in 11 industry groupings
  • New Product and Service categories like Best New Business Intelligence Solution and Best New Relationship Management Solution
  • Solution Provider categories such as Sales Consulting Practice of the Year and Incentive, Rewards, or Recognition Provider of the Year

Winners of the most recent edition of the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service included New York Community Bancorp, Inc. (Customer Service or Call Center Training Practice of the Year), Rob Jeppsen, Zions First National Bank (Sales Director of the Year), International Checkout Inc. (Telesales Team of the Year), Office Depot, Inc. (Customer Service Complaints Team of the Year), OppenheimerFunds Inc. (Contact Center of the Year), and SquareTrade Inc (Customer Service Department of the Year - Financial Services), among others. A complete list of 2012 honorees is available at www.StevieAwards.com/Sales.

Winners of the competition will be announced at an awards banquet at Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on February 25, 2013.

Not sure which categories to enter?  Email us at help@stevieawards.com  or call us at + 1 703-547-8389 and we'll get back to you right away.

Tags: sales excellence, sales awards, business awards, customer service awards, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, best customer service, call center awards

Early-bird Entry Deadline Today for 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Posted by Liz Dean on Wed, Oct 10, 2012 @ 10:02 AM

Today, Wednesday, October 10, is the early-bird entry deadline for the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals.  

Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer ServiceTo begin your submission process, you should:

1. Request an entry kit.
The entry kit contains all of the information you'll need to be able to prepare and submit entries to this year's awards.

2. Review the categories.
The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service has more than 125 sales awards and customer service awards categories honoring sales excellence and best customer service practices for individuals, teams, and departments, plus categories this year for products and service and solution providers.

3. Submit your entries.
Select your categories, write your submissions according to the instructions, and submit your entries. All entries are submitted online. You can begin by registering here.

The entry deadline for the 2013 awards is November 14. Late entries will be accepted through January 15, 2013, with payment of a $35 late fee per entry.  Winners of the competition will be announced at an awards banquet at Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on February 25, 2013.

2012 winners include: Adam Bain, Chief Revenue Officer, Twitter, Inc. (Senior Sales Executive of the Year), Direct Alliance (Government Sales Team of the Year), Joey Romaine, Customer Service Role Model and Innovator, Groupon (Young Customer Service Professional of the Year), United Parcel Service, Inc. (Front-Line Customer Service Team of the Year), and eCornell (Customer Service Department of the Year), among others. A complete list of 2012 honorees is available at www.StevieAwards.com/Sales.

Need help answering  your early-bird questions?  Email us at help@stevieawards.com  or call us at + 1 703-547-8389 and we'll get back to you right away.

Tags: sales excellence, sales awards, business awards, customer service awards, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, best customer service