Longtime MLS and NFL senior executive Doug Quinn has partnered with several key players in sports sales training and technology to launch a new company that will help many teams bridge the gap between the lack of sales reps and the revenue needing to be generated from the sales department.
"We all saw during the pandemic that people can effectively work from home," Quinn said in explaining his new company. "We also saw so many talented sales reps being displaced from the industry, and we thought, 'What if we could create a company that would put them back to work AND provide a service to teams that have had to let their salespeople go but now have a product to sell?"
From that simple idea, Quinn and his business partners, including longtime sales trainers Bill Guertin and Brett Zalaski formed the ISBI Virtual Sales Network, an on-demand army of sports ticket sales professionals working virtually from home at an average savings of 40% vs. the costs associated with a 'traditional' full-time rep.
ISBI stands for Inspiration Sports Business Institute, an umbrella moniker used in their flagship virtual training company, ISBI 360. When COVID-19 hit in March, ISBI 360 was on a roll, signing key accounts and serving hundreds of professionals nationally with training in 7 different disciplines, including ticket sales, customer service and sponsorship.
"Like everyone else, we pushed the 'pause' button and said, 'What else can we do with the assets we have that would be relevant right now?'" said Quinn.
He and his partners envisioned a company that would train displaced sales reps using the ISBI 360 system, and work with teams in need of sales talent once they were fully trained and sharp. Zalaski used his experience as the first Executive Director of the MLS National Sales Center in Blaine, MN to create the framework for the new venture, and enlisted the help of Guertin, Chief Learning Officer of ISBI 360 and a longtime sales trainer himself, to create the customized curriculum.
To date, the ISBI Virtual Sales Network (VSN) has hired and trained over 40 displaced sales reps, all of whom have solid industry experience. The company plans to scale into the hundreds in 2021.
"We're giving our reps all the latest technology to be successful working from home," said Quinn. "They can stay active, get some great training, continue to do what they do best, earn some money, and gain some valuable exposure to teams that can potentially hire them on full-time."
"We know the need for sales talent is there," said Zalaski, the Managing Director of Talent Development for the ISBI VSN. "When teams get the green light, we'll have the road-ready people they'll need to ramp up their sales efforts right away."