As someone who’s passionate about helping to professionalise the sales industry, I was pleased to be invited to judge the CRN Sales & Marketing Awards this year – the UK’s premier event dedicated to rewarding and celebrating the best sales and marketing efforts across the channel and the wider IT community.
The event, which took place on 7 July at The Brewery in Chiswell Street, London, was superbly organised, professionally run, and contrary to my prior belief (#sourgrapes), there wasn’t a brown envelope of cash from anyone anywhere to be seen.
Those who won, did so because their entry was judged to be the best.
Being a part of the awards reminded me of when the event was first launched in 2012.
I was fortunate to be running Bytes Document Solutions at the time and after a couple of years of transforming the business from a photocopier business to a more strategically-valuable workflow partner, we had navigated the business to a good place.
The financial crisis was well behind us, sales were solid, and the outlook was strong. All we needed was a fully motivated sales team and some new salespeople to help us achieve our aspirational targets.
A sentiment I’m sure that was and remains common with many resellers. It was at this time that I read about the CRN Sales & Marketing Awards – a new event aimed at helping to raise the standard of the sales & marketing industry.
I chose to enter my team for a number of reasons:
* I wanted to send a message to the company that we took sales seriously and wanted to be benchmarked against the best in the industry so we could learn from them
* I wanted to reward great sales performances with places at the event, thereby helping to drive the overall sales performance ahead of the event
* I wanted to use the event to spend quality time with the team and make them feel valued
* I wanted to show the vendor community that any leads passed our way would be acted upon professionally and efficiently
* I wanted to reference our involvement in the event in our recruitment materials, thereby showing potential candidates that we take sales seriously and that by working at Bytes they’d be joining a forward thinking sales-focused organisation
The event took place in June at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington and although we were shortlisted to win the Best Sales Team award, we didn’t win – Softcat pipped us.
Taking part and speaking with others who entered inspired us to work even harder to improve our sales team. We looked again at our structure, our commission plans, our proposition and at other areas we felt could do with improvement.
Reflecting on the event last week and considering other such events in the calendar, the CRN Sales & Marketing Awards are the only awards dedicated to serving and recognising the UK channel's sales and marketing industry.
They represent an opportunity where the best of the best can come together and celebrate all that is good in the industry.
Clearly not everyone can win, but it’s now about that. It’s about the journey before and after the awards.
Many of the submissions I judged this year were of a very high standard. Entrants had gone out of their way to put together compelling and superbly presented entries, showcasing the areas of their business they were most proud of.
A few could have made more of an effort and were marked down accordingly but most were very good.
The process made me realise why in the past we’d not won – we just weren’t as good as Softcat back then.
Celebrating great achievements and efforts inspires us all to challenge our status quo. Could we do better? Could we improve how we operate? Could we be winning more business if we worked differently? Could we be hiring better salespeople? Are we really as good as we think we are? Are we benchmark material? Could we win an award?
We all want to be the best, so the more we put ourselves forward for events like the CRN Sales & Marketing Awards the quicker we’ll get there and the more professional, sustainable and successful our industry will be.
Darren Spence is the Founder of Sales Gym 360 (www.salesgym360.com) [email protected]
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