Caroline McCrystal Inside Sales Coach

Best Woman in Inside Sales

It is truly wonderful to see Inside Sales getting the recognition that has been long overdue thanks to Caroline McCrystal.

Today’s guest on the InsideSalesCoach podcast is Caroline McCrystal, Winner of the 2019 Best Woman in Inside Sales Award and Winner of the Most Distinguished Saleswoman of the Year Award 2019 through WISA.

Recognition at last

As Caroline suggests, ‘People in Inside Sales are often lower-down the pecking order. The people who go out and do the face-to-face meetings and close deals with strategic-clients, they often have the reputation of being the best in sales’

So, how did Caroline get this amazing accolade and what were the stages of the contest? 

Having been nominated for the award, the first part was a written Q&A. Once Caroline had passed that stage, she was invited to the prestigious Ascot Racecourse in the UK along with nominees from across the world of European sales.

We had to deliver a pitch, after which there was an in-depth interview on front of judges and we had to deliver a sales presentation to those judges as well. It was really-intense! 

The journey to sales

Caroline works as a Sales Specialist for Experian an internationally-recognised credit-reporting company with over 17,000 employees operating in more than 37 countries worldwide.

But, by her own admission, Caroline’s background is not typical of most sales people.

What does Caroline feel are the qualities that have helped her to win this amazing accolade? 3 main points spring to mind:


1 Hire for grit and guts

“My background was that of an elite athlete. I did kayaking. I was injured just as I turned 18 so that went out the window.  I went to university then travelled around the world working, became a fund-raising Manager for a Children’s-Rights charity, then a videographer for a fashion-brand then I became a Sales and Marketing Manager….”

Caroline’s understanding of the discipline and self-reliance that sports-competition brings, her willingness to open her mind to new cultures through travel and her early-exposure to managing others performance are all positive signs to someone hiring sales talent.

2 Train for strategic conversations

Most sales teams are familiar with a sales-qualification framework such as BANT or MEDDIC but Caroline has adopted Professor Neil Rackham’s SPIN model.

Typically used in conjunction with consultative sales, Caroline feels that the questions leveraged via the SPIN model (S-Situation, P-Problem, I-Implication, N-Need) are very useful for establishing a strategic conversation with prospects. 

Caroline says: ‘I don’t go on the phone as a sales person. I go on the phone as a consultant. I ask lots of questions and challenge their process.

I ask “Why do you do it that way?” or I might say “I have a client who does it this way. How could this work for you?’

3 Coach people to set goals 

Caroline joined the team a full-quarter into the financial year. In other words, she was already 25% down. But a month into it: “I just thought: do you know what? I just want to compete against everyone else…”

“I want to see where I stand against everyone else. I don’t want any of this pro-rata target business. Don’t go easy on me. Give me the sales target of the full year, so I can see if I can hit it and see how much I can surpass it by…”

“My Manager at the time was really confused as to why I wanted a full-year goal. What makes it even better is pushing yourself. Let’s go 110%, 120% Everyone should hit 100%. Anything above that is where you become great…”

Listen to the episode now

This is a great conversation with a business-centric, inside sales star!

With a mindset like this, it is no wonder that Caroline hit 148% of goal FY2019. Already this year, FY2020, she is tracking 142% to goal.

Caroline says: I’m hoping to hit 150% this year. You have to set goals, get your head down and keep going! 

Where can Sales Leaders like you hire more inside sales people like Caroline?

Check out the full podcast interview here