This year’s British Excellence in Sales and Marketing Awards (BESMA), which took place at the Lancaster Hotel, in London, on 26th May, celebrated Britain’s top sales talent and skills.
While the winners were from a variety of industries, Virgin Media Business employees came out on top in three of the 13 award categories – making it a night to remember for Virgin Media Business.
Hosted by the award winning TV and radio presenter, Jeremy Nicholas – who is also the stadium announcer at West Ham United football club – the awards covered a wide range of sales roles and activities. The award categories and their winners are:
- Sales Director of the Year (award sponsored by OneSource): Tony McHardy, of Business Stream
- Sales Team of Year – for organisations or divisions of under 50 employees (sponsor: Virgin Media Business): David Lloyd Leisure, Swindon
- Sales Team of Year – for organisations or divisions of over 50 employees (sponsor: Paradise Wildlife Park): Vodafone, Enterprise Small Sales Team
- Account Manager of the Year (sponsors: De Vere and Ellis Salsby): Catriona Shearer, of Lyreco
- Sales Trainer of the Year (sponsor: Sterling Chase): James Osborne, of Innergy Ltd
- Student of the Year (sponsor: Maddison Media): Ayyaz Iftikhar, of Handepay Merchant Services
- New Sales Professional of the Year (sponsor: Principal Hayley): Jonathan Beagles, of Virgin Media Business
- Sales Support Team of the Year (sponsor: Sales Expo): DHL International (UK) Ltd
- Telesales Professional of the Year (sponsor: Campaignmaster): Scott Golland, of Virgin Media Business
- Sales Manager of the Year (sponsor: MetaLucid): John Maund, of Virgin Media Business
- Customer Service Team of the Year (sponsor: Sage CRM Solutions): Wesleyan Assurance Society
- Sales Professional of the Year – for organisations or divisions with under 50 employees (sponsor: Royal Mail): Steve Rasmussen, of siptel
- Sales Professional of the Year – for organisations or divisions with over 50 employees (sponsor: Huthwaite International): John Schofield - Merial Animal Health Ltd
In crowning Business Stream’s Tony McHardy as Sales Director of the Year, the BESMA judges said: ‘When Business Stream was born three years ago, out of the de-regulated Scottish water industry to service Scottish businesses, Tony McHardy had a 100% market share but he also had four new competitors vying for his customers. Some three years later, Tony and his team still command a 99% share of the commercial water market in Scotland.’
At the other end of the sales spectrum, Ayyaz Iftikhar, of Handepay Merchant Services, was named as Student of the Year. A statement from the BESMA judges said: ‘Ayyaz shows a real passion for sales and we were impressed by his commitment to succeed – especially as he applied his sales diploma to use his outstanding knowledge of business to consumer selling to move to the business to business sales arena.’
“Britain needs its salespeople in order to prosper in today’s challenging economic conditions,” commented Stephen Wright, Commercial Director of the Institute of Sales & Marketing Management (ISMM), the UK's largest association for sales professionals, which organises the awards.
“Without sales operations, even the best crafted products and services would not achieve their commercial potential,” he continued. “So it’s only right that we identify those in this country who demonstrate the very best in terms of sales skills – and celebrate their talent, skills and abilities via BESMA – the ‘Oscars’ of the sales world.”
Other sponsors of BESMA were The Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph (event sponsors); the Lancaster (which sponsored a champagne reception for the winners); Silent Edge (which supported the judging) and The Sales Pro (www.thesalespro.co.uk
which sponsored the event’s programme).