For the second time in 3 years, Kevin Thomas, National Sales Manager for CPM’s SME business team for eircom, has been awarded at the Irish Champion Sales Awards. On this occasion, Kevin brought home 2 awards: Champion Field Sales Manager 2015 and Overall Irish Sales Champion 2015.
Kevin spoke to us about what winning these prestigious awards means to him and how he managed to achieve it:
What was the winning formula you applied to achieve this recognition?
When I moved into the National Sales Manager (NSM) role I implemented a 4 pillar structure (listed below). This formula had been tested and resulted in improvements while I was a Regional Sales Manager (RSM), and when I moved into the NSM role the channel embraced the structure and continued improvements at a national level.
o Planning & Preparation structure
o People Development
o Performance Management
What have been the tangible results from your endeavours in this successful project?
The sales performance has improved 135% over the past year but equally important is the channels quality of sale has improved from an 85% processed rate to 94%. Again this was down to the channel embracing the change in process.
Did these positive results come from you solely or from your team’s productive efforts?
Any individual awards/success will always come from having a great team around them. The support I received from the Senior Management Team gave me the confidence and the freedom to make the impact that was required. The RSM team (Mark, Leonard and Tony) also showed great faith in the changes and continue to take performance to the next level. The back office also had a big impact in the sales performance and quality while supporting the field daily. Most importantly the field (Business Development Manager’s). These guys do a difficult job and the positive attitude they brought to change is the main reason the channel is now performing at this level.
What was the greatest obstacle you had to overcome and how did you overcome it?
Getting the RSM’s and BDM’s buy in to the structure change and to embrace it. I was very lucky as there are so many positive people within these teams. In my first week as NSM I completed a road trip to show the benefits of the structure that was being implemented. After these training sessions the majority of BDM’s could see the benefits of the structure and how it was already working with other teams. The BDM’s embraced the changes quickly making my job a lot easier and got the channel back on the performance levels required.
Describe your proudest day on the job?
I take great pride in seeing other people develop themselves and seeing them enjoy their roles. Seeing people develop over the last 10 months has been a big motivation and makes me very proud.
Describe your toughest day on the job?
Every day is challenging but equally enjoyable. CPM is an amazing place to work with amazing people so it’s very hard to pick a tough day.
What particular skill sets have you harnessed this year?
I’ve spent a lot of time developing my skills on how to manage more analytically while also up skilling on emotional management. Up-skilling in these areas gave me a clear vision of what the channel required in the short and long term. I could paint the bigger picture quickly with the date and performance trends while the emotional management kept me focused on the bigger picture.
What business functions for the eircom SME channel are you looking to improve next year?
The channels aim is to take further incremental steps in sales performance and quality while developing the people within the channel. People development is the key to any progress. The more you support your people the more your business will grow. At CPM this is a true belief and I am happy to be an example of the process.
What did winning this award mean to you?
After setting the target to be nominated for the award last year as a personal target it was amazing to achieve it, but to win the award and to win it twice in 3 year is a great feeling. To win the overall award on the night was overwhelming and I’m still in shock to be honest. On reflection the award is for the SME channel: yes, my name is on the award but it belongs to everyone within the channel for their hard work, commitment and trust within the Management Team
What advice would you give to salespeople that are starting their career in order to achieve the great results you have had along your career path?
That hard work beats talent every time! Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Behind all individual success story’s there will be a team of people supporting them. I’ve been lucky to have so many amazing people around me to support me, not only in my career but also my personal life.