BESMA 2021


What makes the perfect BESMA Finalist?

Following the participation of all our Judges at Judging Day 2019, we Invited them to craft some content for us that covers…

  • What it takes to win
  • Traits / Characteristics / Preparation
  •  What turned you off a delegate or team
  • Why you chose the winner

Without naming anyone directly, it is my hope that this feedback goes a long way to showcasing what BESMA is all about, and educate future finalists on what it takes to win!

Feedback Received

We received feedback from the judges in various formats, two chose to send bullet points, the rest a short paragraph. See below, to keep their identity a secret we have nominated letters after each judge.

Judge A

Traits / Characteristics/Preparation:

  • Ethical: Evidence that ethical selling is threaded through their business
  • Honesty: External benchmarks to evidence claims of success e.g. awards, regulators, league tables
  • Preparation: Slides are concise, clear and easy to follow and free from spelling mistakes. The presentation has been practiced and timed.
  • Ambitious: targets and achievements are truly outstanding, not just achieving by exceeding.

What turned you off a delegate or a team:

  • Not answering the judging criteria or making it different to get to the answer with the use of industry-specific jargon
Not sticking to the brief
  • Being negative about the company they represent or their colleagues
  • Being caught out not being truthful or exaggerating claims and achievements

Why you chose the winner:

  • Customer outcomes and ethical selling was threaded through their business at all levels
  • Sales performance was outstanding and transformational
They had an engaging and compelling story delivered in a professional and clear way
  • They delivered a professional sales team by empowered and engaging their salespeople

Judge B


A presentation addresses the brief within the time allowed

Traits / Characteristics:

Humility: Sales is a team effort and it’s important to acknowledge that when showcasing successes.
  • Honesty: Even the best sales/account managers don’t hit their target every year. Being honest about your actual results (good years and bad years) will give you more credibility
  • Determination: Willingness to go over and beyond to be successful
  • Self-development: Continuing to develop your own expertise in sales through self-study

What turned you off a delegate or team:

  • Not sticking to the brief
  • Pitching their company product and not themselves
  • Being negative about the company they represent
  • Unsubstantiated/unbelievable claims about the sales track record

Why you chose the winner:

  • Presentation answered every element of the brief in a very engaging, professional and structured fashion.
Demonstrated they had delivered value to both their company and their client over a prolonged period of time
  • They provided various examples of problem-solving 
  • Claims could be evidenced through numerous supplier awards from the key accounts

Judge C

Being a judge for the BESMA awards was a fascinating experience, we saw a variety of people from all backgrounds. The overriding thing that jumped out was regardless of inside or field sales, technology or advertising, professionalism and preparation was vital to stand out and the best shone through.

Those that turned up with a casual attitude did not do themselves justice. These days the standards are exceptionally high, customers demand that suppliers have a deep understanding of their business from the outset and that only comes through research and preparation.

The winner delivered on all levels and ultimately would be an asset to hire and would add value to any customer lucky enough to be sold to – and that would be delivered with knowledge, professionalism, excellent communication skills, and ambition.

Judge D

A good layout and thought through presentation, practiced and delivered in a tight time. I found that authenticity was fairly easy to see. Some had really gone to great lengths to open up about the things they’d got it wrong, as well as just the good stuff. Those that injected humour and something other than just static slides also stood out, for me.

The key though was the ‘how’ and ‘why’, not just the ‘what’,. It’s great to know you’ve grown. But why and how did you?

Arrogance, overconfidence and a lack of preparation was a huge turn-off. We chose the winner because they were authentic. You could see they really cared, and really wanted it and they had a great story to tell. They came as a group and showed togetherness in their presentation. Very personable and well prepared.

Judge E

What does it take to win? Passion, flexibility, demonstrable ROI for their clients and business, delivering for clients over and above and evidence of this. In terms of preparation and turn-offs, the presentation slides themselves – not too much text on each slide. sending in too many people to the final presentation. 

One organisation sent in 8 people! 

Also bringing in a large number of people and some simply just sit there and say nothing.

We chose the winner because they showed a huge passion for their team, were innovative and flexible in their approach, where they had clearly exemplified against the categories we were scoring. Lastly and importantly where their actions had demonstrated a clear ROI for the business.

Judge F

Whether presenters understood what made a great employer and did things about it. Many presenters let themselves down by just arguing that “It’s a wonderful place to work, I love it” (therefore we should win). But the winner presented something more thought through and strategic – “We know that a professional career path is important [from talking to employees], therefore that’s what we’ll focus on, and we’ll make that world-class”.

Going above and beyond. A cliché, but almost all presenters did a whole range of great things – rewards, benefits, good management, wellbeing work and so on. All great, but only two organisations did things above and beyond this – additional differentiators that made them stand out.

 I hope that helps! We chose the winner because they really understood what makes a great employer and they did some very smart things to address those issues.

Stay tuned for BESMA 2020!!


Coventry University
Delivery Mates
Ground Control
Howarth Timber
Maddison Media
Michael Page
Pitney Bowes