Sales Awards Blog

Q&A with John Cushman of AT&T, Sales Award Winner

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Tue, Feb 01, 2011 @ 02:34 PM

John Cushman is a member of the final judging committee for the 2011 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. His eSales & Services team at AT&T has won multiple Stevie Awards in the sales awards categories of the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.
John Cushman

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
While the tragedy in Tucson captured everyone’s attention, I found myself truly inspired by the various acts of heroism demonstrated by people from all walks of life.

What New Year’s resolution have you made and why?
I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions and instead prefer to build a 12-month roadmap for my top three professional and/or personal objectives.  I review my progress each quarter, and make any necessary adjustments during the course of the year. (After all, it is MY list!)

What book are you currently reading?
I am reading E$caping Oz: Protecting your wealth during the financial crisis.  It’s a book written by one of my “mentees” at AT&T, Jim Mosquera, and provides an easy-to-understand game plan for one to follow in order to build and sustain financial security.

What was the last movie you saw, and would you recommend it?
My wife and I recently went to see The Little Fockers, with Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro.  It was a hilarious family comedy, and well worth the price of a ticket.  The kid that plays Ben Stiller’s son in the movie is a riot!

What is your favorite sport or hobby?
My favorite sport is professional baseball—not just the major leagues but at all levels of play.  I recently started collecting baseball cards as a hobby, and sure wish my Mom hadn’t thrown mine away.  You would be amazed at how much a little piece of cardboard can appreciate in value over the years.

Who is your favorite historical figure?
I have many, but my all-time favorite is Gandhi, a fascinating man who was able to overcome oppressive tyranny with passive resistance.  I believe we all could learn much from this inspiring leader.

Who (apart from close family) is your favorite living person?
Nelson Mandela.  Here is a man of greatness who used reconciliation to cure a nation from apartheid atrocities.

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
I would love to be the general manager of the New York Yankees for one full season, and then retire.  By the way, the current GM’s name is Cashman, so Cushman might not be such a stretch …

What quality or qualities do you most value in your business associates?
#1 – Business Ethics; #2 – Honesty; #3 - Loyalty

What do you think is the worst bad habit to have at work?
Sometimes, an individual who is intensely driven to success can lose sight of the bigger picture, or the ramifications that a single action can bring.  The ends do not always justify the means .

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
Very strong espresso with lots of sugar gets me started!  Seriously, I really enjoy my work and the people associated with it.  I have had the benefit of working for one of America’s top corporations for a number of years, during an evolutionary period where change is occurring at an extremely rapid pace.  Challenge is there for the taking, every day.

What do you consider has been your greatest achievement in business?
Husband—Dad—Son, these are where my greatest achievements lie.  In business, I am fortunate to have had several opportunities to achieve success, but those achievements pale in comparison to those that have come in my personal life. [

What advice or useful tip would you give to someone who is just starting out in business?
The same advice I give to my own adult daughter and son:  Be professional; have perseverance; and be patient!

About John M. Cushman
John Cushman has an extensive background in product management, marketing, and operations leadership. His career spans a number of major defining points in the telecommunications industry, including 800 number portability, the expansion to new toll-free area codes such as 888, payphone compensation legislation, and the explosive growth in use of the World Wide Web for everyday business and information needs.  For the past three years, Cushman has been leading the vision, execution strategy, and day-to-day field operations for electronic sales and service, an online channel that has grown to represent more than $4 billion in annual revenue and $750 million in productivity savings for his corporation.  As Vice-President of eSales & Service, he is responsible for all aspects of B2B eCommerce for AT&T. With an operating budget of over $90 million, he leads a global team of almost 2,000 associates.

About AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates—AT&T operating companies—are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high-speed Internet and voice services.  AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T | DIRECTV brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In domestic markets, AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive are known for their leadership in local search and advertising. In 2010 AT&T again ranked among the 50 Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE® magazine.  Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at

Tags: stevie awards, sales awards, sales award

5 Tips for Winning Sales Awards in the 2011 Stevie Awards

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Tue, Dec 21, 2010 @ 05:11 PM

Sales award presentationWe've just published a new tipsheet called 5 Tips for Winning Sales Awards in the 2011 Stevie AwardsGet it here.

It summarizes the 5 best ways that sales and business development professionals can be recognized in the four Stevie Awards competitions in 2011 (which include the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, and the Stevie Awards for Women in Business).  For the most part it recommends the sales awards, management awards, and other categories that sales folks should focus on, and outlines the general submission requirements for those categories.

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

Q&A with Anita Samojednik of 2010 Sales Award Winner

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Dec 02, 2010 @ 11:13 AM

Anita Samojednik is Director of Customer Operations at, which won a Stevie Award in the sales awards category for Sales Department of the Year -Computer Services in the 2010 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

Anita SamojednikWhat item of news recently caught your eye and why?
There were certainly quite a few attention-grabbing news stories in the past couple of weeks that I followed closely--anything from the Federal Reserve’s second round of quantitative easing (QE2), currency wars, deflationary fears in the U.S. and other developed economies, elections in Brazil and the U.S., and of course a Royal Wedding in the U.K.!  But my eyes are fixed on the U.S. unemployment rate.  My work revolves around helping people find their next $100K+ job, so I am closely following all the economic trends in the U.S. that might impact private sector job creation and employment.  When I hear about the persistent lack of labor mobility caused by people stuck with their underwater houses, or that QE2 is ostensibly in full swing to fight deflation, it is unsettling. 

What book are you currently reading?
Well, I usually read in two tracks--one for fun and one for intellectual stimulation.  For fun, I’ve just finished reading The Millennium Trilogy by the Swedish author Stieg Larsson.  The other track is now dedicated to a variety of Six Sigma books as I am preparing for a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification.  It’s probably not the most exciting read, but it is certainly helpful for someone who always strives for excellence in managing customer-facing organizations.

What was the last movie you saw, and would you recommend it?
Food, Inc.; it promises you will never look at dinner the same way, and it’s true!  This movie shows how the mass production of cheap and low-quality food is really not that good for us.  I would recommend it to anyone who eats non-organic foods!

What is your favorite sport or hobby?
At the risk of coming across as old-fashioned, I have been knitting and crocheting with some exotic wools, and producing pieces that my girlfriends and I actually wear.  Recently I had to make three hats to settle an inner-circle war.

Who is your favorite historical figure?
Frederic Chopin. Although his name sounds French, Chopin was one of the greatest Polish composers; he was able to capture the sadness of the Slavic soul in his music.  I grew up behind the Iron Curtain, where society in general placed a premium on the fine arts, so l learned to read music, play the piano, and sing in a choir ... and looking back, Chopin was a major reference for me.

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Tags: stevie awards, sales awards, sales award, Anita Samojednik, theladders, the ladders

How Oakwood Temporary Housing Won Its Sales Award

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Mon, Nov 22, 2010 @ 03:22 PM

Oakwood Temporary Housing, headquartered in Los Angeles, California, won a Stevie Award for Sales Process of the Year in the sales awards categories of the 2010 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

Oakwood TeamOakwood, a provider of furnished and serviced apartments worldwide, knows that being successful in sales takes more than stamina and ingenuity: Having a process helps ensure reliability and success. Until 2009, Oakwood’s sales team had been functioning on the fly—doing what seemed right, with no metrics, no benchmarks, and no methodology. Based on the company’s experiences and research, Oakwood realized that identifying and institutionalizing its best practices would be a key driver in building its success.

As a result, Oakwood’s sales and sales operations teams instituted the “Sales Playbook,” a process that has completely transformed how they do business. The goal has been to achieve a best-in-class sales-and-marketing framework.

According to Oakwood, the main focus of this process was to teach their sales team how to “win fast and lose fast.” As a result, the team now spends less time on losing prospects and more focusing on winnable deals that positively impact the bottom line.

Oakwood had no overarching best practices or processes for the sales force to follow. They needed to create a system that would achieve consistent results and reduce time between qualifying and closing sales.

The system also needed to outline what “success” looked like for Oakwood, to identify top performers’ practices, and to propagate them among the masses. This system would develop a definition for managing opportunity that would provide clear, measurable objectives to determine if a sale was progressing.

Major Initiatives
Oakwood sales leadership conducted an intensive interview process and led a cross-functional team to identify top performers’ best practices. By combining those ideas with outside best practices, they decoded the tools and resources needed to gather, get, and grow business and to focus on the Single Sales Objective (SSO).

SSO moved Oakwood from an account-management mindset to an opportunity-management mindset and provided the objectives necessary to determine if sales were progressing.  The system also defined a common language to articulate key strategic components.

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

Two Reasons Why You Should Judge the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Nov 18, 2010 @ 05:44 PM

Preliminary judging opened this week for the the 2011 (5th annual) Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's premier honors for customer service and sales professionals.  There are more than 40 sales awards categories in the competition, and more than 30 customer service awards categories.

Once of the great things about preliminary judging of the Stevie Awards is that anyone can apply to participate.  Interested?  Apply online today.  If your application is accepted you'll be able to judge online, at your convenience, anytime through January 7.

There are two big reasons why you should spend a few hours participating as a preliminary judge:

  1. Judging is a great badge of honor to put on your resume or CV.  Active judges are always acknowledged on the awards web site (here's the list of the 2010 judges) and in the awards dinner program.
  2. You'll get to read and evaluate a lot of great success stories in your field, whether it's customer service or sales, and there's no better way to measure the pulse of achievement in your professionals, especially when those stories of success are coming from industry leaders.  Last year's winners, for example, included Macy's, FedEx, AT&T, SAS Institute, DHL Express, Royal Caribbean International, and more.

And here's a bonus third reason why you should participate: the two preliminary judges who score the most entries will receive two free tickets to the 5th annual awards banquet, slated for Monday, February 21 at the Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida.

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