8 Ways Publishers Mismanage Their Sales Teams
Publishers face many challenges that did not even exist 10 years ago. But before chalking up all your revenue woes to Facebook and Google, you need to ask yourself if you’re really managing your salespeople properly by hiring smart, pushing them out of their comfort zone, and creating accountability. Maybe it’s not the economy, the competition, or the market – maybe it’s you.
Here are 8 common statements from publishers that reveal they’re not keeping sales on task.
- We can’t afford to hire more salespeople. Really? Nobody can afford sales people that do not close business, but if a publisher finds a dynamic, motivated seller, hire them. There is always a territory or category to carve out. Hire slow; fire fast. You are not doing a young person any favors by keeping them in a job they are not good at. Hire and motivate your team, and they will pay for themselves.
- We are not currently interviewing for salespeople. Interviewing for salespeople is ongoing. You don’t have to interview them for an hour. Keep the channels open. If you are shorthanded and lose a salesperson, you scramble and compromise on the next hire. Thus, the slippery slope of sales doom continues. The publisher is in control with enough salespeople. The team is in control when there are too few salespeople. Plus, candidates coming into your office keep the current team on their toes.
- Business is off, so we are not replacing salespeople. Business will continue to be off as you allow your sales staff to do “less with more” instead of challenging them to do “more with less.” Salespeople are not paid to be order-takers; you pay them to close business.
- We can’t sell schedules during the year. The days of fall planning are over. Local and regional advertisers work on their advertising all year. Give prospects a reason to buy, and you will close schedules all year. If your prospect will have to pay a penalty to cancel and run with you, adjust their rate to cover that expense. While the majority of business will be posted by the end of January, there is no reason to not to sell schedules all year.
- We let our salespeople work from home. It is hard enough to maintain accountability and challenge the sales team. It’s impossible when you don’t even know where they are. Team management suffers more from the loss of employee banter, lack of structure, and no feeling of team.
- Our salespeople go on 3-4 calls per week. It’s not surprising business is off. How about shooting for 15 calls per week? If a salesperson spends an hour preparing for each call—which they won’t—and each call takes an hour—which they don’t—the salesperson has used up 30 hours of their 40-hour workweek. That leaves plenty of time for lunch, events and getting a haircut. It is always interesting when a salesperson says they cannot hit their goal and admit only going on 3 or 4 calls a week. It’s all a numbers game: phone calls, meetings, closing business.
- Our salespeople sell other publications in addition to our own. It is baffling how many publishers allow this. Selling other publications takes away accountability and dilutes your salespeople’s focus. Why would a publisher allow salespeople to sell anything but the publication their career depends on? We want salespeople to be dependent on the success of our publication. They have bills to pay and need to sell ads in our core book to pay them.
- That is a house account. House accounts are demoralizing and show a lack of appreciation of salespeople. A salesperson that closes business is valuable, and taking business from the team hurts morale. Use house accounts as a reward and motivator, but give your salespeople as much of an opportunity to earn money as possible.