As the global economy remains volatile, many organisations find themselves in search of talented sales staff to see them through the haze. According to the latest Michael Page Employment Index, revenue-generating roles were deemed a core focus by hiring managers this quarter, with 44 per cent saying they plan to recruit in this area within the coming months.
Given this dynamic, the December launch of the 44th Distinguished Salesperson Awards (DSA) Programme could hardly come at a better time.
Organised by the Hong Kong Management Association's (HKMA) Sales and Marketing Executives Club - in collaboration with New York-based Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI) - the annual contest seeks to provide community-wide recognition for the city's top sales executives. It also strives to "address a salesperson's need for a sense of importance and fulfilment".
The benefits for organisations that nominate staff for the programme are three-fold. The first relates to the "dignity and strength" bestowed on the subject, which, as HKMA suggests, is key in terms of helping individuals develop their sales skills.
The second benefit is the positive effect the awards can have on the prestige of sales and marketing roles in general, which may not always get their due. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, the programme is also known to play a big role in motivating staff to improve their performance, given the widespread recognition of HKMA's various accolades.
In terms of the awards themselves, the focus is far from being about the big fish - or big earners, as the case may be. Aside from the flagship DSA trophy, the programme also includes the Outstanding Young Salesperson Award for up-and-coming professionals aged 25 or below. A Best Presentation Award will also be given to the highest scoring candidate in the two assessment areas. These include the paper submission section, with nominees submitting a self-written paper on the theme "Embracing Adaptiveness, Harnessing Change", and an interview session, which accounts for the bulk of the awards assessment.
During the interview, nominees must demonstrate product and market knowledge in their respective fields, as well as the ability to cultivate customer relationships.
Nominees will also need to demonstrate their raw salesmanship skills, specifically the ability to persuade a potential customer to purchase a product or service.
The DSA Programme was launched in the United States in 1950. It has since gained global recognition, making even a nomination for its awards a key asset for anyone looking to pursue a career in sales and marketing.
The Sales and Marketing Executive Club, the Hong Kong affiliate of the New York-based SMEI, provides detailed information and sign-up forms for companies or employees looking to participate in the programme. Interested parties can visit them online at www.sme-dsa.org.