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, 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

Why It’s Important to Listen, from a Sales Awards Sponsor

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 @ 11:26 AM

ValueSelling Associates, in Rancho Santa Fe, California, USA, is a sponsor of the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world’s top sales awards and customer service awards. Find out how to enter the 2015 competition here.

The following article by Julie Thomas, CEO of ValueSelling, was first featured on the ValueSelling Associates Blog in Jul. (You can also read about this year’s successful salespeople in the Sales Individual Awards categories on the Stevie Awards Sales & Customer Service website.)

ThomasIt’s a commonly accepted notion that buyers often don’t like salespeople. It’s your job to overcome that initial barrier by recognizing that a successful sales relationship hinges on your personal relationship with the customer.

Trust and rapport are essential in encouraging potential buyers to share their challenges and allow you to explore different solutions. People buy from people, so a sales relationship becomes more difficult if two people can’t communicate effectively.

The greater the trust and rapport, the easier it is to get the client to share their perspective, including their personal motivations, and to listen to how your products can create value for them.

Selling Is a Multilevel Communication Process

We trust people who appear to have the same model of the world as we do. We trust people who understand our problems. Whether you are building trust and rapport, persuading, or negotiating, selling is a multilevel communication process.

But active listening is a difficult skill to practice. We are often more comfortable talking and tend to believe that the best way to sell is to make a perfect presentation. Even when we aren’t talking, we are thinking about what we’re going to say next. Every moment spent thinking is one spent not listening. We run the risk of missing buying clues or critical information. We are in danger of missing lost opportunities.

Active listeners always ask themselves these questions:

  • Did I hear what they said?
  • Do I understand what they said?

5 tips for honing your active listening skills:

  • Give your full and undivided attention to the person who is speaking and, whenever possible, make eye contact.
  • If you are speaking with someone on the phone or VoIP, avoid distractions and the temptation to multi-task by emailing or texting. The person on the other end of the line can always tell!
  • Don’t interrupt the speaker.  No one appreciates being interrupted; when you interrupt someone, you are sending the following message:  “What I have to say is more important than what you are already saying.”  Pause to gather your thoughts and respond thoughtfully. Pay attention to any lag time or delay if you’re using Skype and time your responses accordingly.
  • Clarify and confirm. Use breaks in the conversation to confirm what you heard and clarify what you understood. Trust and rapport are built through this process. Confirmation is critical to demonstrate your listening skills and abilities.  Asking follow-up questions and testing your understanding are very powerful and simple ways to prove you are listening.
  • Provide nonverbal feedback. If you are having a conversation in person, then nodding, appropriate facial expressions, and occasional verbal affirmations reassure the person you’re speaking with that you are actively listening.

While speaking well is important, our ability to listen, learn, and understand is essential. Active listening can be practiced on anyone, anywhere in an organization. It’s really about the quality of the conversations you have. The better the questions you ask, the better the answers. The more you listen to the answers, the better the conversation, and the more effective you will be as a sales professional.

About Julie Thomas

Julie Thomas, President and CEO of ValueSelling Associates, is a noted speaker, author, and consultant. In a career spanning more than 24 years, she credits her mastery of the ValueSelling Framework® for her own meteoric rise through the ranks of sales, sales management, and corporate leadership positions.

Julie began her career at Gartner Group. 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, Julie acquired ValueSelling Associates with the support of ValueSelling CEO and co-founder Lloyd Sappington. Since then, Julie has led the company to become an industry leader in competency- and process-based training for escalating sales performance.

Julie is a sought-after speaker at industry events such as the Selling Power Sales Leadership Conferences. She is a guest lecturer at both Babson University and the University of Michigan. In addition, Julie is on the advisory board of the eWomenNetwork Foundation Advisory Council and is heavily involved in her local public schools as well as the San Diego Children’s Hospital Auxiliary.

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

About ValueSelling Associates

ValueSelling Associates, based in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, is the creator of the Value Selling Framework®, the sales methodology preferred by sales executives around the globe. Since 1991, ValueSelling Associates has helped thousands of sales professionals increase their sales productivity. Offering customized training to FORTUNE 1000 companies, mid-sized businesses, to early stage startup organizations, ValueSelling Associates’ proprietary sales training tools and consulting services deliver measurable results. Clients turn to the experts at ValueSelling Associates for classroom and online training and consulting services that yield immediate impact, repeatable strategies, and sustainable results to sales productivity.  For more information, go to www.valueselling.com

Tags: business awards, stevie awards, sales awards, valueselling, Julie Thomas

How to Price Your Product to Sell: Tips From a Sales Awards Sponsor

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Fri, Feb 07, 2014 @ 10:09 AM

Julie Thomas is CEO of ValueSelling Associates in Rancho Santa Fe, California, USA, a sponsor of the 2014 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top customer service awards and sales awardsValueSelling has associates around the globe, and recently appointed a new associate in China, so Julie is excited by the customer service awards category in the new Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards.  (Get your entry kit for this program here.)  Julie recently shared with us some insight on determining the right price of a product or service.

Julie ThomasDuring the objection-handling module of our ValueSelling sales training course, we ask participants: “What is the most common objection?” Nine times out of ten, the objection they get from the customer is: “Your price is too high,” or “You’re too expensive.”

The price objection is guaranteed to come up during most sales cycles. In the current economic environment, no one wants to pay more than necessary for any product or service.  In addition, buyers are more educated than ever before. Choices are plentiful. No one wants to overpay or be taken advantage of. With that said, we don’t need to lower prices to win the business … nor do we need to be afraid of discussing the cost of the products or services we sell.

Price objections are raised because the salesperson hasn’t yet demonstrated enough value for the prospect to feel comfortable in making a purchase.

Price and value are vastly different concepts, however. Price is what is paid for an item at a given time. It’s a short-term conversation. Value is an investment made in exchange for future benefits. Value is a long-term concept.

Does your product or service convey value?
Start by asking yourself these seemingly simple questions:

-What makes your company valuable to a customer?

-What is your unique selling proposition?

-Why should the prospect care?

Often a prospect gets the same pitch from both you and your competitors. Whether it’s great service, 24-hour availability, leading-edge technology, or more than 500 happy clients, they’ve heard it all. The truth is that it doesn’t matter what you think is valuable. What matters is what the customer perceives is valuable.

Once you identify what is valuable to your customer, it will be much easier to lead the prospect toward a buying decision.

Most sales professionals don’t spend nearly enough time to uncover the real value they offer the prospect. Still others don’t know how to articulate the value in a way that presses the customer’s emotional hot buttons.

Get the customer’s perspective
What’s the best way to pinpoint and promote real value? Get the customer perspective. Discover how your customer uses your product or service. Interview them by phone or in person, and find out:

-What do they like about your product or service?

-How does it make their life easier?

-How could your product or service be improved?

-How do they use your product or service?

-What causes them to use your product or service?

-How does it impact their customers?

This gives you a ripe opportunity to listen and be open to what the customer has to say. Even if the comments are less than positive, sometimes the mere fact that you’re listening helps to create a bond with the customer that is long lasting.

Become your own customer 

Believe it or not, some companies don’t even use their own products or services! First-hand experience gives you true empathy for the customer. You wouldn’t buy a car without reading the reviews, visiting various car dealerships, or taking a few for a test drive, would you? Often your product or service requires a much larger investment. So don’t just rely on information from marketing materials to fuel your sales presentations. Shop around, “test drive” the other products and services, and do a side-by-side comparison with the competition.

By being your own customer, you’ll quickly discover what’s so great about your product or service, and you’ll be able to articulate the value proposition more effectively.

Deliver value to your customer
Given that customers are faced with a vast array of decisions, opportunities, and alternatives all competing for limited funds, value matters more than ever before. Your job throughout the sales cycle is to determine the customer’s motivation for buying your product or service, and then articulate that value in such a compelling way that the customer feels comfortable making the decision to buy from you.

When it comes to decision criteria, these are the crucial measurements the customer weighs:

-Is the price worth the investment?

-Is the risk worth the reward?

-Is the effort worth the impact?

Value is in the eye of the customer
Make the effort to gain the customer perspective, passionately articulate your value, and then deliver value over and over again. Doing so will help you reduce the perceived risk, increase the positive impact you deliver, and speed the sales cycle.

For more information and insights on sales and selling, visit the Value Selling Blog.

About Julie Thomas:

Julie Thomas, President and CEO of ValueSelling Associates, is a noted speaker, author, and consultant. In a career spanning more than 24 years, she credits her mastery of the ValueSelling Framework® for her own meteoric rise through the ranks of sales, sales management, and corporate leadership positions.

Julie began her career at Gartner Group. 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, Julie acquired ValueSelling Associates with the support of ValueSelling CEO and co-founder Lloyd Sappington. Since then, Julie has led the company to become an industry leader in competency- and process-based training for escalating sales performance.

Julie is a sought-after speaker at industry events such as the Selling Power Sales Leadership Conferences. She is a guest lecturer at both Babson University and the University of Michigan. In addition, Julie is on the advisory board of the eWomenNetwork Foundation Advisory Council and is heavily involved in her local public schools as well as the San Diego Children’s Hospital Auxiliary.

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

About ValueSelling Associates

ValueSelling Associates, based in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., is the creator of the ValueSelling Framework®, the sales methodology preferred by sales executives around the globe. Since 1991, ValueSelling Associates has helped FORTUNE 1000 business-to-business sales organizations compete and win in markets crowded with seemingly similar products and services. ValueSelling Associates has maintained its position as a leader in the industry by continually evolving to meet the new challenges sales forces face. Clients turn to the experts at ValueSelling Associates for classroom training, online training, and consulting services that yield immediate impact, repeatable strategies, and sustainable results. For more information, visit www.valueselling.com.

Tags: customer service awards, business awards, stevie awards, sales awards

A Simple Methodology Spells Sales Success for Stevie® Awards Final Judging Chair

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Jan 29, 2014 @ 02:33 PM

Mike Ortegon, Director of Global Sales Operations at HomeAway, a Stevie® Award-winning online marketplace of vacation rentals based in Austin, Texas, will Chair the Final Judging Committee for the Customer Service and Contact Center Team categories of the 2014 Stevie®ST SD Chair ORTEGON Awards for Sales & Customer Services, the world's premier sales awards and customer service awards. The results will be announced on February 21 at the gala awards banquet in Las Vegas. We talked to Mike about the challenges facing today’s sales teams.

“Today’s sales professionals are challenged by savvy customers and prospects,” says Mike Ortegon, Director of Global Sales at HomeAway.  “Thanks to digital and social media advancements, they have many channels of information and are consequently better informed during the purchase cycle. As a result, it is essential for sales professionals to stay one step ahead in preparation, to anticipate upselling and cross-selling opportunities, and to be consultative throughout the process.”

We asked him what steps he would recommend companies should take to establish standardized sales procedures across countries and regions. “You might be prone to think a unique product or service requires a special sales process,” Mike told us. “Some may even argue the selling process has to continually change, but my experience is that the change is occurring in the buying process, as noted above. Today’s buyers are more informed than ever.”

Simplified Methodology

“Many sales people are familiar with the ‘four, five, six, seven...sales cycle’ methodologies,” added Mike. “In reality, each of these can be boiled down to four steps: Qualify; Research; Propose; and Close. A simplified methodology enables people to focus on the sale, not the process.”

Concluded Mike: “It is always important to pay close attention to cultural differences, although just because someone speaks a different language doesn’t mean a different sales process is needed. For example, in some countries such as Southern Europe and Asia, face-to-face selling is a common practice, while other cultures are fine with a phone call. In any scenario, you still need to qualify, research, propose and close.”

Benefits of a Stevie® Award
HomeAway won a Gold Stevie® for Sales Operations Team of the Year in The 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service. As Chair of one of this year’s Final Judging Committees, he is fully aware of the benefits of being a winner.

“Winning the Stevie® Award really brought to light the effectiveness of the HomeAway team in their first year together,” Mike told us.  “It brought about an even greater appreciation for the experience, talent, and determination possessed by each individual. It was great to be rewarded for our hard work and, ultimately, the team had better camaraderie and became even more motivated to improve sales effectiveness.”

Added Mike: “Winning the Stevie® Award in 2013 showcased the HomeAway sales team’s focus on adding value to the organization through industry-leading tools and best practices.”

Creating Lasting Memories

We asked Mike what most inspired him about his role at HomeAway.  His simple answer: he gets his inspiration from the HomeAway team and product. “We have fantastic people who are passionate about their work,” he told us. “Ours is a product that helps families and groups find their ideal getaway and focus on the most important part of traveling together: creating lasting memories.”

About Mike Ortegon:

Mike Ortegon joined HomeAway in March 2012 and is the Director of Global Sales Operations. In this role he is responsible for supporting sales leaders across the globe with tools, training, and sales insights to help make well-informed business decisions; and to run effective and efficient teams while aligning to corporate strategy.

Previously, Mike worked for Harte-Hanks as Global Account Director focusing on multichannel, data-driven solutions for Fortune 100 companies. Throughout his career, Mike has been in management, operational, and sales and marketing roles in North America, EMEA, Latin America, and APAC.

About HomeAway:
HomeAway is the world’s leading online marketplace of vacation rentals, with sites representing more than 773,000 paid listings of vacation rental homes in 171 countries. Through HomeAway, owners and property managers offer an extensive selection of vacation homes that provide travelers with memorable experiences and benefits, including more room to relax and added privacy, for less than the cost of traditional hotel accommodations. The company also makes it easy for vacation rental owners and property managers to advertise their properties and manage bookings online.

Tags: customer service awards, stevie awards, business award, sales awards, contact center awards

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