What Your Sales Manager Expects
Just before Christmas I was conducting a three day sales training course with a mixed group of experienced and less experienced sales people. On the morning of the second day I posed a question: “What do you think your sales manager expects you to do every day”?
The responses were interesting:
- “Make sales”
- “Find new business”
- “Do lots of calls”
- “Keep the business I already have”
- “Look at ways to hit my budget”
- “Grow my client base”
- “Deliver my KPI’s”
- “Sell at the right rate”
Often media sales people get mixed signals from their sales managers about what is important and expected of them. Many times the sales manager wants one thing and the team think he wants something else so they go out and do the opposite of what is needed. This can often lead to sales manager frustration, confusion or doubt that affects the team and individual results; and more often than not damages the relationship with their manager.
The Real Expectations
To solve the puzzle of what sales managers really want I decided to ask the opinion of several sales managers who are at the top of their game and posed the question: “What are the three things that you want each your sales people to do every day to be more successful?”
Here’s what they told me.
First up Cecilia Quek, the Advertising Director at NT News, said:
1. Think – think about the relationship, think about your business, think about what your client is telling you, think about where the opportunities are, think about what is happening in the economy and market so you can leverage better environments, think about the type of conversations you should be having, think about the delivery of information and intelligence.
2. Courage – Be courageous in everything you do, have the courage to always be at the top of your game, ask questions, don’t hold yourself back because of unjustified fear, be courageous – this job isn’t for pussies.
3. Relationships and conversations – Open that dialogue, make it consistent, learn enough to be able to converse with clients on their level, tell them things they don’t know, the objective is for your client to leave the meeting having learnt something from you.
I then asked Ric Camilleri former sales head at ARN and now Sales Director at NRS Media. His take was brief but quite clear.
1. Maintain consistent, positive, energetic enthusiasm every day.
2. Meet with a minimum of three clients face to face every day.
3. Call a minimum of five new potential clients every day.
In South Africa, Dennis Karantges is sales manager at the very successful Algoa FM based out of Port Elizabeth. Dennis runs a highly experienced and very effective team. He answered the question this way.
1. Come to work inspired, positive and ready to listen, ask questions and switch your clients on.
2. Plan your work, and work your plan – have a daily, weekly, monthly plan on what you are going to do and achieve.
3. Have fun at work and with your clients – enjoy the excitement and privilege that comes with working in radio.
Dennis added: “I also believe in empowerment and allowing my team to operate with a measure of flexibility without having to constantly refer back to me.”
In Sydney, Liam Scullin is one of the sales managers at Southern Cross Austereo. He said the three things he talks to his team most about relate to attitude or mindset.
1. Be passionate – nobody buys from someone who doesn’t passionately believe in their product and the solution they offer.
2. Be resilient – Media sales is a tough game and those that develop a thick skin and aim up each day with a positive attitude tend to win more business.
3. Be relentless – You need to have a sharp focus on what you are trying to achieve and not get side tracked with your time on non-productive pursuits.
Over recent years I have worked with Radio Mirchi, India’s number one radio network across over 30+ markets. One of their sales managers is Deepti Kulkarni who is based in Pune, a city south of Mumbai. She told me:
1. Read every day – newspapers, business magazines, online. Read one article about any business sector of interest – adding to their knowledge.
2. Be on time – time management is vital. Get back to your clients, bosses or other departments as promised. Be prompt in all your actions – it says a lot about your personality.
3. Accept your mistakes and learn from them – being wrong and learning from it grows you as a person. By refusing to accept change is like digging your own grave, sooner or later you will fall in it!
What Will You Do?
What great responses – great advice from five sales managers with significant media experience; and all of them open enough to share it with you. So what will you do with it?
Here’s a thought. Arrange a meeting tomorrow with your sales manager and ask him or ask her, “What do you want me to do every day?”– Maybe take this blog and use it to stimulate the discussion. Another idea is to ask if your sales manager will put the topic on the next sales meeting agenda so the team can discuss it and the manager can share their thoughts.
After all, once you know what your sales manager really wants, you can work towards delivering on it!
Also read – Setting Goals to Win in 2014
Stephen Pead is a media industry sales and marketing veteran of 30 years with significant experience in sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in providing training and coaching for salespeople and sales managers.
He can be contacted at [email protected]