The value of investing in people
The only thing I love more than selling is selling really well. Having spent 20 years in the world of media sales I would like to think I have learned a lot about selling well. I have been lucky enough to have been trained by some brilliant people and to have worked with some of the finest sales people our industry has to offer, of which there are many.
So maybe it wouldn't surprise you to learn that I get very frustrated by poor sales calls!
But who is it I should be frustrated with: the sales person; or the managers and organisations that do not invest in training for these people? Maybe it should be a combination of the two?!
As we all know, media sales people are sometimes not the most popular people in the office - all we do is chat away to people on the phone, take people out to lunch and generally have far too good a time when everybody else is 'actually doing some work'.
However, we as media sales professionals know that what we do is very hard work - putting up with the element of rejection which is a constant no matter how good the market is; the effort we have to put in to develop really good business relationships; the ever present pressure of targets; the relentlessly competitive environment; the hard work that goes into new product development; and just keeping up with the dynamics of the industries we sell into and an increasingly fragmented media space.
However, all our hard work will come to nothing unless we are trained well and constantly.
We also understand the pressures of any media owning business: the constant need to drive profits through ever increasing revenues; the need to keep down costs; the competitors always snapping at the heels of even the most dynamic organisation; ensuring that they keep the best people; dealing with suppliers; and the need to constantly innovate to ensure they are doing the best for all of their customers.
However, all of the hard work these businesses do will come to nothing if sales people aren't trained well and constantly. So why is it that some sales people are under trained from the moment they walk through the door of any given company?
Would we send Jessica Ennis to the London Olympics next year and tell her to do her best without any training? Do we send the England rugby team to New Zealand without hours and hours of training?
Even though professional athletes perform for only seconds, minutes or a few hours at a time every so often, they spend many many more hours training.
So why don't we do the same with the valuable sales assets in our media owning companies?
Of course, I am not advocating that sales people are trained for 95% of their working lives and they spend a few precious hours a month talking to clients but there has to be a rebalancing of the way they are trained so that they can constantly be enabled to be the best they can be, for themselves and the companies they work for.
Companies need to invest in this precious resource as much as they do in developing a crack editorial team or revamping a web site. There is so much valuable content out there attracting the kind of consumers that advertisers want to reach but the final connection in this virtuous circle must be made by sales people.
Those sales people need to understand how to sell that connection - that is a skill, one that needs to be taught and constantly built upon.
I contend that if you are a sales person you owe it to yourself and the company you work for to be constantly badgering for the kind of training that will enhance your skills and make you the best you can be.
If you are a manager then you owe it to your sales people and the organisation you work for to be constantly updating the skills of those sales people who are your engine room..
Nobody likes to make a bad sales call and nobody likes to receive one...
Guest post by: Carl Richards - Director - BSR Associates
Carl has spent 20 years as a sales person, sales leader, business manager and developer of people. His experience has centered on the selling of advertising space, online and offline, and also the selling of various types of events in the media owner space.
He recently launched BSR Associates who offer sales consultancy and sales training services to companies who recognize the need to constantly invest in their sales effort.
You can check out the website - www.bsrassociates.co.uk
or get in touch via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
80 Comments Posted Leave a comment