International Inside Sales is on the Rise!

Call it what you want, “Inside Sales”, “virtual sales”, “digital sales”, or just plain “sales”… the Inside Sales movement, which was galvanized as a community by the AA-ISP just 7 years ago, is on the rise globally.

On a recent AA-ISP webinar, international consulting expert, Anneke Seley, noted the various ways countries outside of the US are choosing to deploy this powerful resource: “Many multinational companies are electing to reinvest in and grow their overseas locations to support the buying engagement preferences across regions such as Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Rim”.  Another webinar panelist, Erik Hammar, AA-ISP VP of International, went on to state “The acceptance of virtual selling practices from a cultural standpoint is certainly on the rise across the entire globe.  Hubs such as Dublin have seen a huge influx in sales reps who move there to fill jobs created by such global giants as SAP & IBM”. The IDA (Irish Development Agency) has taken a keen interest in multinational companies of all sizes who are looking to expand their European Inside Sales operations by considering employee growth in such ideal locations as Ireland, UK, and Spain.

The global surge in Inside Sales is not just in Europe.  “Sales leaders from every country and region want to tap into some of the selling and leadership best practices, training, and supporting technologies that have been so prevalent in the last few years in the U.S.”, stated AA-ISP’s Founder & Chairman, Bob Perkins.  Perkins went on to discuss how the association has increased its focus and resources on its international support to meet this growing need.  Take–for example–that in the past year alone, over 10 local chapters were added to such countries as India, Australia, Romania, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, and Spain.  Romanian Chapter President, Vasile Stoica, is an experienced sales leader who saw a need in Romania for training and development.  He contacted the AA-ISP to see how they could help support his country’s need around virtual selling tips and best practices. After hearing about the Chapter program and member benefits such as the webinar series, Vasile decided he wanted to start a local Chapter in his hometown of Bucharest.  “I am excited to build a strong Chapter here in Romania which provides support to this growing profession of Inside Sales”, declared Stoica.

The AA-ISP continues to look outside of the US for the next big surge in Inside Sales adoption and job creation. In addition to a recently launched International Webinar Series, the AA-ISP will host its first international leadership conference, Inside Sales World, in Dublin on November 18th, 2015.

For more information on how you can get involved in the association or in a Chapter near you, visit www.aa-isp.org.

The Inside Sales Organizational Index

Dear Leaders,

My last letter to you discussed the certification of leaders.  Today I’m talking to you about assessing and certifying organizations.ISOI - Logo (2)

How cool is it to see just how far Inside Sales has come over the last 5-10 years?  We now have our own set of certifications!  What that means is there are now standards for our profession…standards on selling skills and practices, leadership strategies, and now with the ISOI™, an index which assesses organizations against a long list of best practices and operational requirements.

The ISOI™ is our profession’s first organizational certification  designed to help meet the growing demands of today’s Inside Sales operations.  Earning an ISOI™ certification is no walk in the park.  It is based on the highest standards of the AA-ISP and covers 12 areas from sales culture, to leadership support, to rep and manager competence, to compensation, to hiring practices – just to name a few.  And it doesn’t matter if you are a team of five or 5,000, the ISOI™ can help you  take your organization to the highest levels of execution. The entire process of earning your ISOI™ certification will help your organization be viewed both internally and externally as an employer of choice who strives for excellence.

If you are an AA-ISP member, you know our motto quite well…to “take Inside Sales to the next level of professionalism and performance”.  With the ISOI™, we have completed the full circle of standards for certifying reps, leaders, and now organizations.

Thank you for your part in taking our profession to the next level!

To learn more and inquire about the ISOI™ click here.

Until next time, good leading.

Bob

Standards for the Profession of Inside Sales

Dear Leaders,

My letters to you over the next several weeks will discuss professional accreditations and certifications.

When we think of professions with the highest standards, we think of those requiring a certification or an accreditation. We think of such roles as accounting (CPA), financial planning (CFP), nutrition/dietician (RD), project management (CPM), Interior Designers (AISD), Counseling (CSAC), and the list goes on.  It seems many of these certifications apply to those professions which are specific in nature, with a specific benefit to consumers or businesses.  Take for example the CFP – Certified Financial Planner.  Given the fact that a CFP is potentially handling hundreds of thousands of dollars of investments for people, someone decided they needed to be “qualified” or “certified” given the amount of money involved. AA-ISP_logo_tall_noWords_blue - Small

Yet, the profession of sales, with individuals responsible for generating hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in revenue, apparently doesn’t need any type of stamp of approval, or “certification” to say they are capable at their trade.  I find this rather odd in that there are certifications for “pet sitters”, but not for a sales person who has a $3M quota.  Odd indeed.

However, the AA-ISP has changed all that.  The growth of our industry, the demand upon our skills and competencies, the rising quotas, and the upward movement of our professionalism, has put clear demands on our own need for certifications.  Given the huge investment and reliance upon Inside Sales as a key and strategic revenue channel, it’s about time we got serious about the advancement of our profession!  The largest community of Inside Sales professionals now has established its own series of accreditations/certifications for frontline sales reps, their leaders, and organizations as a whole.

Administered by the AA-ISP, the following are now available to our great community of like-minded and passionate professionals:

CISP® – (The Certified Inside Sales Professional) – This is a comprehensive on-line development program which takes participants through 11 courses ranging from Business 101, to Prospecting, Presenting, Closing and Account Management to name just a few.  Students typically take a full semester to complete the course work.  The CISP® designation is awarded only after the person successfully completes a final exam consisting of a live sales role play.  The role play itself is demanding and requires a person to demonstrate the most critical skills around effective questioning, listening, objection handling, etc., etc.

AISM® – (The Accredited Inside Sales Manager) – There is no other program available which is this specific towards the development of Inside Sales leaders.  Courses such as Inside Sales Performance Management, Coaching for Inside Sales Leaders, Rewards and Recognition for Inside Sales Managers, and Designing Inside Sales Comp Plan have never been made available prior to the AISM®.  12 on-line course and practicum electives are available to fit all levels form entry to senior leadership.  A final Capstone Project is required allowing participants to pursue a project at their place of employment which was studied during their AISM® experience.  Much like a graduate degree, the final Capstone Presentation requires individuals to “sit through” an extensive oral exam and review of their work prior to earning their accreditation.

ISOI™ – (The Inside Sales Organizational Index) – As teams and Inside Sales organizations of all sizes have looked to improve their operation, there was a lack of centralized benchmarking, resources, and assessment tools to see exactly where they need the most improvement and how they stacked up against the best-in-class.  The ISOI™ is a comprehensive and in-depth assessment of 12 key areas of Inside Sales organizations.  Performed virtually and on-site by AA-ISP ADP’s (Authorized Delivery Partners), the IOSI™ results in an organizational index score.  Based on the score level, the organization can earn a level I or II ISOI™ Certification.  The final deliverable also includes a prioritized roadmap that the leaders can use for on-going improvement.

As you can see, the profession of Inside Sales has made great strides around improving itself as it takes hold of its future and destiny.

My next note we will dig a bit deeper into the CISP® and what it’s all about.

Thanks and good leading!

Bob

Be a Leader of Character & Heart

Dear Leaders,

My letter to you this week is a personal reflection on the World’s Largest Gathering of Inside Sales Leaders… The AA-ISP Leadership Summit which took place in Chicago this past week.   The conference brought together 700 Inside Sales leaders to learn, network and share.  Although the topics covered, the relevant content, the audience participation, and the technology expo were all outstanding, the real story had to do with the heart within the community.

A live tweet during the conference said it all… “what an inspiring event, run with so much heart”.

My opening comments took time to frame this incredible movement and the heart and values which binds us together.  Values such as volunteerism, caring for others, open mindedness, and the belief that  the whole is greater than any single individual.  Its these values that point to the heartbeat behind the community.  It’s the very reason we have grown and benefited from each other’s participation.  You see, all  of the beneficial tips and best practices, although very helpful, won’t get us there alone.  It’s the value system which binds us together that will.  It’s the common bond of brothers and sisters in our profession that adhere to the fact that people are our most important resource! These values will insure the health of our profession for generations to come!

As I closed my comments early on Tuesday morning I challenged attendees on yet another value.  A value which is often over-looked.  A consultant once said that “… the best Fortune 500 companies teach ethics, but West Point teaches Character…” I went on to read excerpts from the book, The West Point Way of Leadership, and how Character is a foundational value.  Leaders with Character always do the right thing for benefit of the team… while nobody is looking. I challenged everyone in attendance to adopt this value as we continue to improve and evolve as a profession and community.

Let’s be LEADERS OF CHARACTER!

If you would like to experience this true “heart” of our growing community, get involved in the association. Make it out to Denver for our Frontline conference in June.  Frontline conferences differ somewhat from the Leadership Summit in that they are geared for Inside Sales reps and their managers. Although they are one day vs. the Summit’s three, they come with a huge helping of “heart”.

We hope to see our members at an IS2015 frontline event or Executive Retreat sometime between now and the next Summit in April 2016!

Until next time, good leading.  And remember, Inside Sales has Heart!

Bob

Daily Sales Minute from Dreamforce – Final Recap!

Dear Leaders,

What an experience!  Watch my Final Recap of Dreamforce ’14 filmed on closing day where we discuss the highlights and takeaways from this fantastic event.  Be sure to check out my other blog posts for more live interviews filmed throughout the course of the conference, and…

’til next time!

Bob

Daily Sales Minute from Dreamforce – Day 3!

Dear Leaders,

Back at Dreamforce for Day 3. Great tips and trends from Trish Bertuzzi and Jill Konrath.

‘Til next time!

Bob

Daily Sales Minute from Dreamforce – Day 1!

Dear Leaders,

It’s nice to be sitting on the other side of the fence for a change here at Dreamforce where I get to listen to some outstanding speakers and soak in new great tips and gems.  Yesterday I had the privilege of attending Aaron Ross’s presentation where he discussed several key points about driving consistent revenue through a repeatable inside selling process.  Aaron and I caught up later in the day and I was able to drill into some of the points he shared in his session.  Here is my interview with Aaron.  Stay tuned for two more updates live from Dreamforce!

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