Too close to call...

On Wednesday night the Grosvenor Hotel in London will host the British Excellence in Sales & Marketing Awards or BESMA, as they are more commonly known.

The event, organised by the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (ISMM) will recognise and reward the best sales professionals in the UK, showcasing their achievements and products, helping promote the art of selling across the country.

In many ways, it is the culmination of the tireless efforts of the ISMM, who for many years have looked to ensure that the sales industry and the people who work in it, are recognised for their levels of professionalism, integrity and expertise.

This year, I was lucky enough to be asked to judge for the first time and it was a real privilege to meet such a committed selection of candidates.  My two fellow judges and I were given the very tough job of agreeing upon the Telesales Professional of the Year and it certainly led to some lively debate.

Many people view telesales as no more than a stepping stone to some of the more prestigious sales and account management roles, but what struck me when meeting the candidates was their real love of the job itself and, almost without exception, a desire to remain in a specific telesales based role. 

Their commitment to the role has enabled them to hone their skills to a whole new level and create a role which not only rewarded them financially but more importantly gave them extremely high levels of job satisfaction – not something that one would associate with the stereotypical image of telesales that is often portrayed.

Another hugely, encouraging aspect – especially given my background in learning and development – was the desire of all the candidates to keep improving.  We often talk to clients about instilling an ‘always learning’ culture and creating proactive participants who are keen to explore, learn and improve.  It was therefore great to see a group of sales professionals, who are clearly at the top of their game and recognise the benefits of continually learning.  To their great credit, one individual had even paid to attend a workshop that their organisation was unwilling to fund.

We’ll have to wait until Wednesday to see who wins and with twenty four key  categories, it promises to be a night of tension and celebration.  But one thing I do know is that all the winners will thoroughly deserve it, as the competition has never been tougher and the industry never stronger.

Good luck to everyone involved!


Oliver Osmond, Sales Director Phoenix Training and BESMA Judge.