Is Sector Knowledge Necessary For Media Sales?

This question came up recently on a LinkedIn board http://ow.ly/lOAr6  – my thoughts are as follows: -If a top performer with years of industry experience becomes available, it is a very easy hire to make-GET HIM/HER! and pay what you have to get the hire done!  This person usually has  deep contacts within an industry and can gain entrance for you/your property at much higher levels than someone with drive/ambition who lacks the contacts in the market. -If that person is not available-take the person with drive/ambition/enthusiasm over someone who is less motivated but has market experience.  In time and in the right situation that person will develop the contacts and the numbers/market share will reflect this. A good barometer of whether or not the person you are looking at is a top performer in an industry is length of service-I began representing a publication (World Wastes/Waste Age) at a previous employer at the age of 24 , left 5 years later and kept the title when I founded Target Media Sales and continued representing it for another 10 years, and when let go was hired by the #1 publication in the field (Waste & Recycling News) 7 months later, and stayed there another 10 years.   This is a good indicator (along with checking out key accounts that person may have handled in your industry) as to whether or not that person is a “star” In contrast, if you see movement between publications/properties in a given market every 1-2 years or so, this is a big red flag!  AVOID!!! (the exception being if there was a market catastrophe in...

Let Ad Salespeople Sell!

Carl Landau of Niche Media had an excellent posting on his blog and Facebook page entitled “Let Ad Salespeople Sell”  A link to his blog posting can be found at http://ow.ly/lHTLC and corresponding LinkedIn discussion at http://ow.ly/lHUK5 The nice part about being an independent ad sales representative is that selling is all we do!  Our experience as 1) independent reps and 2)  being located a significant distance from most, if not all, of our partners has shown us that we work best when there is minimal bureacracy/diversionary tasks involved and when we are treated as partners in the property’s success, not as junior employees to be micromanaged. If this is the type of relationship you seek-please...

“Builders” or “Bleeders”?

I’ve come to the conclusion that in sales (and for that matter, business in general) there are two types of people: “Builders” or “Bleeders”. “Builders” are the  aggressive sales representatives who do homework on the industry served or readers reached;  come up with new ways to sell a product to a customer that doesn’t yet know that they need what they are selling;  knock on the right doors until the decision-maker hears the story; and ultimately builds the assignment into a sustainable income stream for all involved. “Bleeders”, are not as financially and emotionally invested in their work and in the health of the business as a whole and are more interested in extracting money from the territory with as little investment and effort as possible.  This  is evidenced by behaviors such as lack of travel (and lack of personal sales calls in general), unwillingness to learn new ways of doing things.  and a short-term rather than long-term approach to territory development (or often no plans to develop the territory, only effort in keeping what was inherited from the “Builder” that did the hard work!). The eventual result of this  is the ultimate demise of the assignment, as existing accounts are “bled”  dry, and new business doesn’t come in to replace and grow further, until one day there is nothing left. What type of sales staff or representation do you have?  If you feel that you need a “builder”-let’s talk.  We’ve successfully built territories over the long-term, and even when successful do not “bleed” our publications but continue to build for the...

What took you so long?

I’ve been in and around the B2B and consumer web since the beginning (the model that  WaterOnline, which we represented in early launch stages and was original VerticalNet web site, created in the mid-90’s, was what most B2B publishers married to their print titles) and have represented many digital-based media for many years-yet hadn’t seen the need to do a site to promote our own business until now. In today’s digitally-based media world it’s become important to have a comprehensive presence in cyberspace, without which you might not as well exist! What’s interesting in the process is that the combination of traditional (direct-mail), e-mail and now social media covers all the bases-and our new web site. www.mediasalesrep.net, fills in the gap nicely and helps us to demonstrate that we cover all bases in the current market-in print, on the Web, trade shows, and newer channels such as Twitter and LinkedIn.  We welcome you to subscribe to our Twitter feed and connect with us on...

Why independent representation?

A tightening economy and major changes in the B2B landscape make the current environment no place for inexperience.  The modern B2B sales representative needs to be comfortable selling all forms of media-whether it is a print ad page, e-newsletter, webinar, web site advertising, or trade show booth-and as a result sales representatives that can competently explain and effectively sell multi-media platforms are few, far-between, and very expensive to hire and retain.  And what if your budget precludes you from making a hire of this nature?  You can directly hire a more junior salesperson, but they will be unable to explain, in language that your client will understand, the why’s and how’s of each media-and by the time they develop the necessary skill-set, the big boys will be lining up to hire them away, which will adversely impact the growth of your brand.   A better alternative to a junior salesperson is hiring a good independent representative like Target Media Sales can give you the coverage you need at a price that won’t make the accountants scream.  As a commission representative, we generally only get paid when we sell something-unlike direct sales staff, which requires a substantial investment in salaries, expenses and benefits.  We believe in handling a short list of high-quality publications, with only principals of the firm-not employees-working on your publication, ensuring quality representation and territory stability.  As for performance-we’ve been in business since 1989 and have had long-term relationships with a number of major for-profit and association-owned publications, delivering in many cases more ad pages and higher market-shares than the direct employees on their payroll.    We have learned very well that experienced, talented sales people...