Media Sales Managers – are you wasting too much time coaching?

February 8, 2017
Blogboostr Marketing
The key is not the 'will to win' ... everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important. - Bob Knight

It’s March Madness season and while Bobby Knight is retired and Indiana University is out of the tourney, his philosophy on coaching is true now more than ever. A recent study found that Media Sales Managers spend 50% more time coaching than the cross industry average (1). Sounds great because the impact of strong sales coaching has been shown to increase seller’s quota performance by 19%! (2). Unfortunately, most media sellers don’t make quota, in fact, on average only 38% will make the number (3). By now, you’re wondering – am I spending too much time coaching, what can I do differently to make a bigger impact? Here are 3 simple recommendations that have been proven to work. Try them for the next quarter and see if your team closes more business.

  1. Target the right sellers – most managers have a tendency to target sellers on the “tails” of the performance curve going after the leaders and the laggards. This plays right into the status quo – squeeze more out the rainmakers and try to pull the low performers up. Research has proven that the best strategy is focus on the middle of the pack, the core performers – this group has the highest benefit from coaching. These sellers represent the largest population on your team, carry a majority of the quota, so modest gains of 5-10% in quota achievement can be the difference in making your number or not.
  2. Spend more time on top of funnel deals – we hear on average, most media sales teams lose approximately 50 – 60% or more of their deals to No Budget, No Decision. Well, that usually means someone else got the budget. And it’s likely there wasn’t enough value or your proposal looked like everyone else’s. Often the tendency for managers is to jump in at the end of the deal and help negotiate a close but by then most buyers have made their decision and prices drop. Studies have shown Managers are most effective coaching sellers earlier in the sales process to 1-identify insights that will re-frame the buyer’s assumptions, 2-create preference for your unique differentiators, 3-align value with 1 & 2. If you can help your sellers do this more consistently thru coaching, team deal brainstorming or whatever technique, you’ll find your win rate goes up often with higher pricing.
  3. Unstick “stuck” deals – in an increasing unpredictable, competitive ad sales landscape, front line managers need even more creativity to help sellers move deals forward. According to CEB research, “creating a systematic means to empower and equip managers to help reps identify innovative ways to unstick stuck deals is the single biggest incremental opportunity most organizations have to improve manager performance.” It’s hard to tell which deals are stuck, where, why and how long. Having tools with smart insights to determine which ones to go after is key, often strategic accounts, new product activation’s, etc. Once you have the prioritized list, the fun part of the job begins – coaching for creative, innovative ideas to close business.

We’d love to hear what’s working or not? Or advice for others thinking they spend a lot of time coaching and want better results?1-Alexander Group Media Benchmark Study 2015, 2-CEB Front Line Sales Manager Study, 3-Alexander Group Media Benchmark Study 2015