Sales Awards Blog

HCL Technologies to Sponsor Stevie® Award for Leadership in Transforming Consumer Engagement Models

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Tue, Dec 10, 2019 @ 11:01 AM

Nominations for the 2020 (14th annual) Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, considered the world’s top honors for customer service, business development, and sales professionals, will be accepted through January 9 at Late fees will apply for nominations, but no entry fees or late fees will apply for nominations to a new category to recognize leadership in transforming consumer engagement models, sponsored by HCL Technologies.

The Leader in Transforming Consumer Engagement Models category will recognize outstanding examples of individual leadership and innovation in the field since July 1, 2018. As in all other categories in the competition, nominees may submit a written essay or case study of up to 650 words describing their ethical sales practices and achievements or a video of up to five minutes in length, illustrating the same.

Only those with a promotion code supplied by HCL Technologies may submit nominations to the category. To inquire about getting the promotion code, email

HCL_logo_resizedHCL Technologies is a next-generation global technology company that helps enterprises reimagine their businesses for the digital age. Their technology products, services, and engineering are built on four decades of innovation, with a world-renowned management philosophy, a strong culture of invention and risk-taking, and a relentless focus on customer relationships.

HCL Technologies is a long-time sponsor of two other Stevie Awards programs, The American Business Awards® and the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, but this is only the second time that the firm will sponsor the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Maggie Gallagher, president of the Stevie Awards, is looking forward to having the longtime Stevie Awards sponsor present this award. “We are gratified that HCL Technologies has decided to use this Stevie Awards platform to recognize those individual executives who excel in using technology to transform how organizations delight their customers.”

Finalists in this and all other categories, based on the ratings of more than 150 professionals around the world in the judging process, will be announced on January 16. The Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Award placements from among the finalists will be revealed at a gala event at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Friday, February 28.

The final entry deadline for the awards is January 9.  GET YOUR ENTRY KIT NOW!

Request the entry kit

Tags: customer service awards, HCL

Nominations for Sales Ethics Award Accepted Through February 1

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jan 24, 2019 @ 05:46 PM

The nomination window for the 2019 (13th annual) Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service has closed, but one special category sponsored by Sales Partnerships will continue to accept nominations through February 1.

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service are recognized as the world’s top honors for business development, customer service, and sales professionals.  Sales Partnerships, Inc., which provides turnkey, outsourced selling solutions and is a sponsor of the awards for the fourth consecutive year, is sponsoring a category called the Sales Partnerships Award for Ethics in Sales. 

Sales partnerships-1

There is no entry fee for nominations to this category, which will be accepted through February 1.  The category recognizes organizations for best practices and achievements in demonstrating the highest ethical standards in the sales industry. Entrants can submit specific examples, case studies, practices, etc. that illustrate why the organization being nominated should be considered an excellent example of best practices in sales. This award is based on activities over the past five years (since July 2013). 

Sales Partnerships’ founder and CEO Fred Kessler says, “The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service has grown to be the premier honor for sales professionals worldwide, and it’s proven to be an outstanding platform on which Sales Partnerships can interact with sales leaders in a wide variety of industries.  When we were approached about sponsoring an award for ethics in sales – we immediately accepted. The Sales Partnerships’ Award for Ethics in Sales recognizes companies which, like us, understand that being the best performing sales force also means having an uncompromising focus on selling ethically.”

Submission requirements for nominations to this category include a written essay of up to 650 words, plus any number of supporting materials to provide additional information to the judges.  To submit nominations to this category, nominees should first create an entry-submission account on the awards website, then email their nominations to

Nominations in the category will be judged the week of February 4 by members of the awards’ Sales Individual & Sales Team jury, and its Finalists announced the week of February 11.

Finalists in all other categories in the program were announced on January 17.

Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award placements from among the Finalists in all categories will be revealed at the program’s 13th annual awards gala on Friday, February 22 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Finalists are not required to attend in order to win.

Sponsors of the 13th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service include Sales Partnerships, Inc. and ValueSelling Associates, Inc.

Tags: customer service awards, sales awards

Finalists Announced in 13th Annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jan 17, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie® Winners to Be Announced in Las Vegas on February 22

Finalists in the 13th Annual Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, an international competition recognizing excellence in disciplines that are crucial to business success, were announced today.    

sascs instagram march 2

A diverse group of organizations and individuals around the world are among those recognized in the customer service awards, contact center awards, business development awards, and sales awards categories. Organizations with five or more Finalist nominations include Allianz Global Assistance (Richmond, VA USA), Birevim (Istanbul, Turkey), (San Francisco, CA USA), Comcast (Philadelphia, PA USA), Cross Country Home Services (Fort Lauderdale, FL USA), Cvent Inc (McLean, VA USA), Dell Technologies (Roundrock, TX USA), Delta Vacations (Minot, ND USA), DHL Express Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) DHL Express Bangladesh (Dhaka, Bangladesh), DHL Express South Africa (Johannesburg, South Africa), DHL Express Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya), Druva Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA USA), EFG Companies (Irving, TX USA), Electronic Arts (Austin, TX USA), FIS (Jacksonville, FL USA), GoDaddy (Scottsdale, AZ USA), GuideWell Connect (Jacksonville, FL), Holiday Inn Club Vacations (Orlando, FL USA), HomeServe USA (Norwalk, CT USA), IBM (Armonk, NY USA), John Hancock Financial Services (Boston, MA USA), Offerpad (Gilbert, AZ USA), Response (Lindon, UT USA), Rimini Street, Inc. (Las Vegas, NV USA), Sales Partnerships, Inc. (Broomfield, CO USA), TCL USA (Corona, CA USA), TTEC (Englewood, CO USA), UPMC Health Plan (Pittsburgh, PA USA), ValueSelling Associates (Rancho Santa Fe, CA USA), Vivint Solar (Lehi, UT USA), VIZIO Inc. (Irvine, CA USA) Wells Fargo Merchant Services - Account Management (Concord, CA USA), WNS (Holdings) Limited (Mumbai, India), and Wyndham Destinations (Orlando, FL USA).

Visit for a full list of Finalists by category.

Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award placements from among the Finalists will be revealed during a gala banquet on Friday, February 22 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tickets are now on sale.

The awards are presented by the Stevie Awards, which organizes several of the world’s leading business awards shows including the prestigious International Business Awards® and American Business Awards®.

More than 2,700 nominations from organizations of all sizes, in virtually every industry, in 45 nations were evaluated in this year’s competition. Finalists were determined by the average scores of more than 150 professionals worldwide in seven specialized judging committees.

Entries were considered in 93 categories for customer service and contact center achievements, including Contact Center of the Year, Award for Innovation in Customer Service, and Customer Service Department of the Year; 60 categories for sales and business development achievements, ranging from Senior Sales Executive of the Year to Sales Training or Business Development Executive of the Year to Sales Department of the Year; and categories to recognize new products and services and solution providers.

Beginning today through February 8, the general public may vote for their favorite providers of customer service in the People’s Choice Stevie® Awards for Favorite Customer Service. Voting is open at Winners of the People’s Choice Stevie Awards in multiple industries will be determined in mid-February and honored at the awards gala in Las Vegas on February 22.

One category in the awards will continue to accept entries through February 1.  It’s called the Sales Partnerships Award for Ethics in Sales, and it will recognize organizations for best practices and achievements in demonstrating the highest ethical standards in the sales industry.  Entry requirements for this category are outlined at  Nominations in this category will be reviewed the week of February 4, and its Finalists announce the week of February 11.

Sponsors of the 13th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service include Sales Partnerships, Inc. and ValueSelling Associates, Inc.

Tags: customer service awards, sales awards

Judging Committee Heads Named in 2018 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jan 04, 2018 @ 11:05 AM

Judging of the 2018 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service will be conducted through January 15 by more than 150 professionals worldwide.  Their average scores will determine the Finalists to be announced in mid-January, and the Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie-winner placements among the Finalists.

2018 Jury Chairs:  these professionals will lead the judging of the 2018 awards.

Customer Service & Contact Center Individuals
Chair: Lisa Oswald, Senior Vice President, Customer Service, Travelzoo, New York, New York, USA
lisa oswald.jpgLisa P. Oswald is senior vice president of customer service at Travelzoo and leads a global portfolio including customer and client services, product operations, and voice-of-the-customer programs in support of Travelzoo’s 28 million members worldwide. Lisa is a Director of SOCAP International, the customer care industry’s leading professional development association, and an Advisory Board member with Execs In The Know, a global community of customer experience executives. She is a Gold Stevie Award winner, and was named Customer Service Executive of the Year in 2013 by The American Business Awards.  She is extremely pleased to be serving the Stevie Awards community as a Judging Committee Chair in 2018.

Customer Service & Contact Center Teams and Customer Service Success
Chair: Art Gairo, Senior Vice President, Evolve IP, Wayne, Pennsylvania, USA

18 sascs cst_css chair gairo.jpgArt Gairo is a Client Operations Executive with over 20 years of experience in building, transforming, and leading world class customer service organizations. Art currently serves as Senior Vice President of Client Operations at Evolve IP, The Cloud Strategy Company™. In this role, Art is responsible for leading the entire client experience, while directly leading client care & support, technical services, project management, service delivery and client activations.  

Prior to joining Evolve IP, Art was the Senior Vice President and Head of Customer Experience at Broadview Networks, with responsibility for all Service, Repair, and Care Centers; the Enterprise Customer Support Division; Field Operations; and the Agent and Wholesale Support Divisions. Before joining Broadview, Art was Vice President of Customer Operations at ATX Communications, which was acquired by Broadview in 2006. Art was also Vice President of Client Implementation at Allegiance Telecom prior to his time with ATX Communications. 

A multiple award-winner, including for Customer Service Team of the Year, Art holds a 6 Sigma Black Belt Certification and dual Master’s Certifications in Lean 6 Sigma and Organizational Leadership from Villanova University. He is currently enrolled in the Executive Leadership Program at Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business. Art served as the Chair of the Customer Service Judging Committee in The 2011 American Business Awards.

Art told us: “I’m honored to be selected for the second time to serve as a Judging Committee Chair for the Stevie Awards. My first experience was a remarkable opportunity that provided me with many wonderful memories that I cherish to this day.  I look forward to having the opportunity to recognize the past year’s accomplishments by customer service practitioners around the world that truly demonstrate the capabilities of this ever-evolving industry.”

Customer Service Departments & Achievements
Chair: Matt Medina, Senior Director OF SMB Customer Service, Dun & Bradstreet, Tucson, Arizona, USA  

mattmedina.jpgAs the Senior Director of Customer Service at Dun & Bradstreet, Matt enjoys developing leaders and taking care of customers. In 2017, Matt was recognized for spearheading teams that resulted in improved Net Promoter Scores, handled millions of customer contacts at an 82% service level, and contributed over $100 million in sales, saves, and collections.

Matt was named Contact Center Manager of the Year in the 2017 Stevie Awards, and in 2007 was awarded the Scott Cook Innovation Award from Intuit for TurboTax Solutioneering.

In his spare time, Matt enjoys coaching high school soccer and watching Club Atlético River Plate.

New Products and Solution Providers
Chair: Ben Martin, Vice President, Client Support, Network Alliance, Reston, Virginia, USA

18 sascs np_sp chair martin.jpgBen Martin currently serves as a member of the Network Alliance executive management team.  He directs the Network Alliance Client Support Center, which specializes in offering white glove technical support, system management, and professional services for a wide spectrum of Cloud Desktop, Cloud Infrastructure, and Cloud VoIP environments.  Ben previously served as Vice President of Customer Care at Parature, Inc. (acquired by Microsoft), where he directed technical support operations serving Parature's global customer and partner network.

Prior to joining Parature, Ben was the Director of Investor Services at The Morino Institute Netpreneur Program, an organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs fund and grow their technology businesses. During his four years at The Morino Institute, Ben worked with technology entrepreneurs, angel investors, and early stage venture capital firms to identify early stage investment opportunities within the Mid-Atlantic region.

Ben began his career in Information Technology as a technology analyst with the Advanced Technology Department of the American Chemical Society. He earned an MBA in Corporate Finance and an MS in Information Technology from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. He also holds a BS in Corporate Finance and a BA in Philosophy from West Virginia University.

Sales Achievements & Business DevelopmentChair: Jay Fortuna, President & Chief Learning Officer, Jado Solutions, Chicago, Illinois, USA

18 sascs sa_bd chair fortuna.jpgJay Fortuna has been helping transform the Learning and Development industry through a blended learning approach that incorporates micro-learning and other innovative techniques.  The curriculum and courses that Jay has created are not only effective and immersive, but are engaging and enjoyable.  Jay is becoming a recognized name in the Learning and Development (L&D) field and received multiple awards in 2017.  This includes winning the Gold Stevie Award for Sales Training Program of the Year, and Bronze Stevie Awards for Sales Training Product of the Year, and for Sales Training or Education Professional of the Year in the 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Services for his work with the Horton Group. In addition, Jay and his team were named a Finalist by the Institute for Excellence in Sales (IES) for Sales Innovation of the Year.  Recently, Jay was named as one of Workforce Magazine’s 40 under 40 Gamechangers in 2017 for his accomplishments and the future impact that they believe he will have in the human resources and L&D arena.

Jay’s career started in an industry where many young men dream of working one day: professional sports.  Though his own dream had been to be a professional athlete, he instead learned many early lessons from his time as a Media Relations Intern with the Minnesota Twins that have helped him get to where he is today.  He received some words of wisdom from the team’s General Manager, which still resonate with him today: “Learn enough to become dangerous.”  As a result, Jay is a perpetual student of new trends and effective techniques that can be applied to L&D. 

The next steps in Jay’s career allowed him the opportunity to use his charismatic people skills and competitive nature to soar. He succeeded in multiple sales roles at Enterprise Rent-A-Car and various financial institutions, including JPMorgan Chase and Associated Banc-Corp.  At Associated Bank, Jay’s true passion for L&D was nurtured by his Director, Penn Vieau.  With Vieau’s coaching and mentorship, Jay was able to develop his craft as a facilitator and to garner a deeper understanding of how to run a successful L&D department.  Jay took the lesson’s that he learned from Associated Bank and joined HUB International, where he became Training Manager and was able to create the curriculum for the Business Development Team from the ground up.  Curt Vondrasek, a fellow Gold Stevie Award winner, encouraged him to embrace the Training Manager opportunity at HUB International. Jay launched a training program that took new inside-sales representatives and trained them to become successful sales leaders in their insurance verticals.  It was here that Jay continued to hone his craft of training Sales, Service, Leadership and Support staff through a blended learning approach. He teamed up with Chris Condon, VP of Sales Training for HUB International, and together with the Sales Force Development Team, they took on the Insurance Brokerage Firm’s largest goal, growing sales organically.  The early success achieved by this new approach brought attention to Jay’s talents, which propelled him to his next role, Director of Training and Development at the Horton Group.  Jay didn’t just focus on the issue of organic growth at the Horton Group: he helped the company modernize and reinvent their training as a whole, which has allowed the company to be recognized as an insurance brokerage firm industry leader from Assurex Global, the world’s largest privately held commercial insurance, risk management, and employee benefits brokerage group.

Jay is honored by the opportunity to Chair one of the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service Awards Judging Committee.  He tells us that he is looking forward to seeing the best that the world has to offer in Sales and Business Development.

Sales Individuals & Sales DistinctionChair: Tiffany Wagner, Global Process Executive for Account Planning, SAP, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, USA

18 sascs si_sd chair wagner.jpgTiffany Wagner has worked in sales, consulting, and sales operations leadership roles in the software industry for 25 years.  Her experience crosses over both start-ups and fortune 500 companies.  She has been with SAP since 2006, and is responsible for the largest demand-generation program in SAP strategic and large enterprise accounts.

Tiffany won the Gold Stevie® Award for Software Sales Distinction in the 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Services, and was recently asked to provide the keynote for Enterprise Ireland on Sales Planning.  

In her personal time, she volunteers at multiple non-profit organizations in the San Francisco bay area.

Sales Teams
Chair: Dan Stalp, President, Sandler Training, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

18 sascs st chair stalp.jpgDan Stalp is known as the consummate sales training professional. As the president of Sandler Training of Kansas City, he excels as a transformational sales trainer and sales coach, a highly sought-after speaker, and respected business writer. For more than 12 years, Dan has been one of the most successful sales trainers in the Kansas City metro area. He has built a loyal client base, many of which not only continue with him year after year, but also refer him to their clients and business associates. They do this because Dan has helped them become very astute and highly successful non-traditional sales professionals. In the 2017 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, Dan received the Gold Stevie Award for Sales Training or Education Leader of the Year in the Sales Individual Awards category.

Tags: customer service awards, sales awards, business development awards, solution provider awards

Stevie Winner Captures Beautiful Moments...and Sales Awards

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 @ 02:45 PM

Capturing moments through the art of photography can be powerful when done right. C.Mae Design is an eight person photography team based out of Wisconsin who believes photography boils down to light, laughter, trust, and the power of capturing the connection between individuals. Their business has doubled in sales every year since 2013, and they are delighted to have captured over 437,000 smiles since C.Mae Design’s opening.  In the 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service C.Mae won the Bronze Stevie Award for Sales Turnaround.

Keeping Good Company

C. Mae Design.jpgThe company likes to accept clients who cherish other people in their lives, and customers who want to capture the beauty in real moments. Cassandra Spiegelhoff, owner of C.Mae Design describes their ideal customer.

“The C.Mae Design client is someone who cherishes the people in their lives. Someone who finds beauty in real moments that include tears of joy, warm hugs, and loud laughter.”

With their team of 8 photographers and 2 office assistants, many of their photographers do double duty as editors, teachers and mentors. Coming into their 5th year of business, Cassandra expresses their excitement about celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary with 500 couples.

“We are obsessed with finding and creating beautiful light and turning sweet moments into stunning imagery”

Chasing Moments

Photography is always changing. The editing styles, posing styles, new innovative techniques, and the evolving technology always makes for improvement. C.Mae Design staff enjoy doing what they love and are always learning how to service their clients better.

“At our sessions, you will find us playing music, laughing, lifting things, and maybe even climbing trees or jumping into water for the perfect shot.” Cassandra relayed, “Each session really is a new adventure with new friends and we can’t wait for you to be part of the experience.”

As passionate storytellers and don’t-care-who’s-watching dancers, what they ask of you is to fully, authentically, and awkwardly just be yourself. This is where the magic is. At C.Mae Design, they focus heavily on capturing you. THE REAL YOU. The real, funny, gorgeous you.

Awards Capture Moments Too

Like photos, awards can signify a moment in time when your hard work was cherished by your peers. Cassandra recalls the time their supervisor had recommended them to apply to the Stevie Awards, and then they won.

“We are so excited to show it off! The acknowledgment of our organization and staff is wonderful and uplifting!!”

Since then, they’ve also been awarded Best Of Weddings on The Knot in 2016 and Couples' Choice Awards from Wedding Wire in both 2016 and 2017.

“We simply believe in what we do and enjoy it! We are motivated by spreading the love! The truth is that life is hard and any time you can devote to appreciate the people in your life is beautiful. Our photography sessions highlight the love shared between individuals and their stories. What is more beautiful than that?” Cassandra concluded, “Always do your best! The golden rule of ‘treat others how you would like to be treated’ is great. We like using the platinum rule of ‘treat others the way they want to be treated.’"

Tags: sales awards, best sales practices, best sales team, sales turnaround

Creating the Sales Leaders of Tomorrow with The Horton Group

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Mon, May 22, 2017 @ 02:52 PM

How does a company cultivate future success when many of its sales leaders are nearing retirement age?

That’s a question The Horton Group, like a lot of insurance firms, has wrestled with lately. Their solution: make sure that new, young hires have the skills they need to develop a productive, lasting career.

According to one report, half of the industry’s current workforce will retire within 15 years. “The No. 1 challenge facing insurance agents and brokers is attracting and developing talent for the future,” says Beth Ottolini, a member of Horton University, the company’s educational arm.

horton.jpgThe Horton Group created a customized, diverse learning program to help ramp up the skills of new employees. Over a six-month period, its instructional team developed a sales training program called “Journey to Validation” that’s already made a difference.

The Journey to Validation, received a Gold Stevie Award in the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service for the Sales Training or Coaching Program of the Year. The Journey to Validation consists of four stages of learning that provide rookie sales executives with the knowledge base and skills necessary to successfully progress from their first day in the program to ultimate validation with the company.

A New Learning Paradigm

Founded in 1971 as a small, family-owned insurance agency, The Horton Group now provides insurance, employee benefits and risk advisory services to a wide range of business clients. Based in the Chicago suburb of Orland Park, Ill., the organization employs more than 350 employees working out of 10 locations, most of them in the Midwest.

Prior to the development of Journey to Validation, most of the company’s training was done through apprenticeships and job shadowing. Whatever formal training the new hires needed was provided by external vendors.

But company leaders realized that in order to overcome the unmistakable demographic changes within the industry, they needed a more robust approach. Journey to Validation was the company’s first internally-developed tool for making sure that every new hire had the knowledge and foundational skills he or she would need to launch a successful career.

In 2016, the company hired a four-member team to help build the program from the ground up. That was a definite departure from the way holistic learning programs ‒ often the byproduct of large development teams and consultants ‒ are typically designed.

And in this case, the development team, led by Director of Training and Development Jay Fortuna, wasn’t much older than the rookie salespeople who would eventually use their modules. The average age of the members was just 30.

But what the group brought to the table was a fresh perspective and forward-thinking approach to the way younger associates digest information. Developed in just six months, the Journey to Validation program would ultimately incorporate newer ideas like gamification and micro-learning ‒ a system in which learners concentrate on small, focused lessons ‒ along with proven techniques like shadowing.

The program consists of four steps, which combine online learning as well as in-person training. One of its strengths is the ability to track the progress of brokers to make sure they’ve developed the basic industry knowledge and sales skills they’ll need in their new role.

Along with the Gold Stevie for “Sales Training or Coaching Program of the Year”at the Las Vegas awards ceremony, The Horton Group also walked away with two Bronze Stevies, including one for “Sales Training or Education Leader of the Year” for Fortuna.

Continuous Improvement

Ottolini says the program was the result of a highly collaborative atmosphere that puts a premium on continuous improvement. “The pride that the team takes in its work and the extreme ownership of training strengths and shortcomings has led to a recognition that is both humbling and motivating,” Ottolini says.

One of the ways the team helps establish a sense of trust is by sitting down for lunch together every day and bouncing ideas off one another, explains Ottolini.

The group also makes it a point to put themselves in the shoes of new hires. Towards that end, all Horton University team members participate in monthly team-building events with rookie sales executives as part of the training program.

So far, the team, which initially had some trouble achieving buy-in for its novel approach, has won plaudits throughout the organization.

“The infectious enthusiasm and passion emanating from the Horton University team has set a new standard within the company and continues to positively influence the culture of the corporation as a whole,” she says.

Now, the organization is building on its success by developing other learning initiatives, like a service training module and a continuing education program that enables employees to hone their leadership skills.

The internal expertise they’ve demonstrated could also provide a benefit to other members of Assurex Global, the network of commercial insurance, risk management and employee benefits agencies to which Horton belongs. “In the coming months, the team is expected to provide consulting services to other Assurex-affiliated organizations,” Ottolini adds.

These latest Stevie accolades will only help give the program further credibility, she notes. Fortuna originally learned about the Stevie Awards while working at a previous employer. When he joined The Horton Group, one of his goals was to help create a sales training program that merited recognition from Stevie panelists.

In a matter of months, their goal has already come to fruition. “Horton University’s recognition at the 2017 Stevie Awards has done wonders to bolster The Horton Group’s culture of learning,” says Ottolini.

Interested in submitted nominations for the top sales awards and customer service awards in 2018? Request the entry kit for the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service and it will be emailed to you in July 2017.

Tags: customer service awards, sales awards, sales training, sales coaching

23 Ways to LEAD the Future

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, May 09, 2017 @ 11:54 AM

When a company launches 23 newly engineered and redesigned e-STUDIO multifunction printers before the annual dealer meeting even kicks off, you'll likely turn a lot of heads.

Such was the case with Toshiba, when they won the Gold Stevie Award for 'Best Sales Meeting of the Year'  in the 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, in recognition of its 2016 LEAD (Learn Engage Act Deliver) conference.

The LEAD conference included record attendance and stylish new machines that bolstered technology, customization, and training for attendees to try out.

Connect, Integrate, Simplify

LEAD2016_logo_FINAL_V3_2.jpgJoe Contreras, Global Marketing Executive at Toshiba, revealed that the machines represented a value statement that could be summed up in three words: connect, integrate, and simplify.

“The machines don’t just connect to the network, they can connect customers with their businesses and become an integral part of a customer’s business, and they can simplify tasks and operations.”

Politics and Party Tricks

Toshiba made sure to pull out all the stops for LEAD. In addition to hosting LEAD at one of the more luxurious properties on the Las Vegas Strip, graffiti artist business guru Erik Wahl was the featured evening keynote speaker to close LEAD’s first day. Toshiba’s second day lineup featured a variety of entertainment, including keynote speakers James Carville and Mary Matalin (who gave the now classic quote “If you have ADHD, are over 30, and like a glass of wine - you probably shouldn’t have a Twitter account”.) Closing-night entertainers, The B-52s, with such hits as “Rock Lobster,” “Party Out of Bounds,” and, of course, “Love Shack.”

Surpassing Expectations

In addition to the large Toshiba booth, their floor space had been doubled to complement the exhibit hall that featured 60 companies from across the industry looking to do business with Toshiba’s dealer community.

"LEAD 2016 was a definitive success from every perspective and surpassed expectations," said Bill Melo, Toshiba America Business Solutions chief marketing executive. "Our new products were met with enthusiasm from every segment of our diverse audience and are generating new business for our resellers, business partners and Toshiba."

Interested in applying for the 2018 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service? Request the entry kit and it will be emailed to you in July when nominations are accepted.

Tags: sales meeting of the year, technology awards, sales awards, best sales meeting

Sales Partnerships to Sponsor Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service for Second Consecutive Year

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Jan 03, 2017 @ 11:14 AM

Awards Recognize World-Best Achievements in Sales, Business Development
and Customer Service

The Stevie® Awards, organizers of the world’s premier business awards programs, have announced that Sales Partnerships, Inc., which provides turnkey, outsourced selling solutions, has signed to be a sponsor of its Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service program for the second consecutive year.

The 2017 (11th annual) Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service are accepting nominations through January at  The program recognizes the year’s best achievements in sales, business development and customer service.  The awards will be presented at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on February 24. 

Sales partnerships.jpgSales Partnerships is an industry-leader in outsourced services for building business-to-business field sales teams and field engagement teams for Fortune 500 companies.  Sales Partnerships has been providing outsourced sales solutions since 1997, and is one of the most highly respected sales outsourcing firms in the market.

According to Fred Kessler, CEO of Sales Partnerships, “The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service has grown to be the premier honor for sales professionals worldwide, and it’s proven to be an outstanding platform on which Sales Partnerships can interact with sales leaders in a wide variety of industries.  We’re delighted to sponsor the awards again in 2017.”

The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service feature more than 135 sales awards, customer service awards, business development awards, new product awards and solution provider awards categories. 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 Representative of the Year
  •         Sales Team categories like Global Sales Team of the Year and Online Sales Team of the Year
  •         Sales Achievement categories such as Sales Turnaround of the Year and Sales Training or Coaching Program of the Year
  •         Sales Distinction 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 Back Office Customer Service 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
  •         Customer Service Success categories in five industry groupings, to recognize the customer service-related achievements of organizations without a formal customer service function
  •         New Product and Service categories like Best New Business Intelligence Solution and Best New Marketing Solution
  •         Solution Provider categories such as Sales Consulting Practice of the Year and Incentive, Rewards or Recognition Provider of the Year
  •         Business Development categories such as Business Development Professional of the Year and Business Development Achievement of the Year    

The 2017 program offers new categories for new products and services and solution providers. New categories for new products and services include Customer Service or Sales Book of the Year, Customer Service Training Product of the Year and Sales Training Product of the Year. The new solution provider category for 2017 is Leadership or Management Training Practice of the Year.

The 2017 competition will be judged by more than 200 professionals around the world.

Stevie Winners in the 2016 edition of the awards included Adobe Systems,, Comcast, CubeSmart, Delta Air Lines, DP DHL, Etiya, eZCom Software, FedEx, HubSpot, IBM, ISN Software UK Ltd., Kohl’s Department Stores, Office Depot, Ooyala, SAVO, ServiceMax, ShopKeep POS, Sirius Decisions, SugarCRM, VIZIO, Inc. and Vodafone Turkey, among others.  The full-text of Gold Stevie-winning nominations are available on the website.

The 2017 entry kit and a complete history of the awards program are available at

About Sales Partnerships, Inc.
Sales Partnerships, Inc. was founded in 1997 with the mission to combine best practices in sales recruitment, training, management, quality assurance, and selling technologies into a complete services platform that consistently delivers exceptional results for our clients. Sales Partnerships has been recognized and awarded multiple times as the best sales outsourcing firm in North America, for innovation in the fields of applied sales technology, best service offerings, one of the best places to work, and for the individual accomplishments of its sales professionals and key leadership team members.  Visit http://

Tags: best customer service, customer service awards, sales awards

Becoming a Stevie Award-Winning Sales Leader

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lennox 2.jpg

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

You can learn more about Lennox Industries at

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

Featuring the Gold Stevie® Award Winner for Sales Distinction of The Year - Financial Services, WePay

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Dec 22, 2016 @ 01:44 PM

An interview with Evelyn Hsia, Director, Sales Operations at WePay

WePay won a Gold Stevie Award in the 2016 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service in the Sales Distinction of the Year - Financial Services category.  The Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service are the world's premier awards for sales, customer service, contact center, and business developement professionals. Interested in applying for the 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service? The final entry deadline is January 11.


What does WePay do?
WePay helps platform businesses deliver seamless and integrated payments services. It processes billions annually for online platforms including Constant Contact, FreshBooks, GoFundMe, Meetup, and Zoho. WePay protects our partners from risk and regulatory exposure while supporting seamless payments experiences for their end-users.

WE pay 1.jpgWhat is your role in the organization?
I'm responsible for Sales operations at WePay. My vision for my team is to be a strategic partner to Sales and an enabler of the Sales organization's success. Everything we do makes other's work easier, more efficient and highly effective. We do all of this in order to close more deals, retain loyal customers and drive quality revenue for the company.

What is the organizational vision?

WePay's vision is to help the platform economy understand, value and realize the impact of integrated payments to fuel their customers' growth and change lives. We are their trusted advisor to guide them through their payments journey and we provide them with industry leading customer service and fraud risk protection that is unmatched in the industry.

What sets your company apart in this category?

WePay is a trusted partner for making payments seamless, simple and safe.  We create a frictionless payments experience secured by our industry-leading risk technology. Furthermore, WePay provides one of the industry's best customer service offering which has been valued highly by our customers and partners and is one of the reasons why our customer retention is extremely high.

How did you first become acquainted with the Stevies?
I learned about the Stevie awards when I was at Cisco. During that time, some of the best vendors I worked with had won Stevie awards. The organization I was part of, Cisco's Global Virtual Sales Organization (a team of 1800 remote sales and engineering resources) was the fastest growing sales team in the company with many industry-leading innovations and best practices. So, I submitted them for the Stevie Awards and they have since won every year.

What was it like for WePay to win this award?

The award is a testament to the value that WePay's customer service organization offers day in and day out. The award validates why our customers and partners consistently stay with us and even come back to us despite the many other options available. It also solidified the work that WePay had done the previous year to turn the Sales organization around and the resulting impact it has had on the business.

How has the win affected the business?
The Stevie Award is among several other awards that WePay has won over the past year. It is one more validation to our new hires that this is a great company to work for, that our customer service team stands above our competition and that we have a great Sales & Marketing organization that is making a difference for the company. It is also one more proof point to our customers and partners that WePay is a solid company that they can rely on.

What results have been gained since you've won this award?
From Stevie award trophies lining our lobby walls to press releases recognizing our achievements - they certainly enhance our brand as a credible and award-winning company.

What inspires you to continue your work?

Our Sales and Marketing organization is always looking for ways to enhance the business of our partners through our payments solution. We are continuously evolving to become the best in our class. It's an exciting journey to be at the forefront of helping our company achieve its goal of being the number one payments partner to platform companies.

We are always looking for ways to become bigger, better and faster. We expect to continue to innovate and improve what we do and how we do things so that we can enhance the lives of our customers and partners.

Click here to learn more about WePay

We Pay pic #2.jpg

(WePay's Sales and Marketing team giving back at Second Harvest Food Bank)


Tags: sales awards, sales team awards, Sales, sales distinction awards, best sales team