Archive for October, 2011

Creating Leads from your Traditional List

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

by Ginny Speaks

Seems like lately most of my conversations have been around leads and how to findthem and what makes them solid. One of the easiest and best ways to generate a good lead list is right in front of each one of us – our traditional lead list. This list is a solid foundation for building future business.

So, how do we mine our current list?   Well, first and foremost there are three pools of money to tap into in every business: advertising, marketing/brand and sales.   So take your top three accounts that spend the most money with you and ask yourself this question. Do I know who is in charge of each one of these areas? Then list them.   If you do, great — you are covering all bases. If you do not, you just uncovered a new door to open for potential revenue.

Then continue this exercise until you finish your entire list.  By the time you finish this list, you should begin to see patterns in your selling skill set — where you are strong, where you need work and categories you do well in. Take this information and begin your new lead list with three accounts you are going to develop deeper.

For example, let’s assume you are strong in auto and you do a ton of campaigns with the local Ford dealers and mainly work with the General Managers.   While doing this exercise you realize you do not work with regional marketing and/or the other divisions such as certified pre-owned or parts and service managers.   See how this works? We just identified three new doors to open within auto!

As always, the better prepared you are when opening these doors the better the conversation will go. So always do your homework ahead of time and find out the following facts about your prospect before you dial:

  • Headquarters contact information
  • Fiscal year
  • Background information
  • Organizational structure
  • Marketing practices
  • New and major products or services
  • Sponsorships and corporate interests

Use the Morrison and Abraham website today and look up profiles on accounts to get a head start.

Best Practices for Working with National Clients

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

by Julie CaldwellJulie caldwell

As both a business development manager and an M&A field consultant, I have had countless discussions and debates within stations about how to handle business development opportunities with national clients.

AE’s are typically afraid to “step on the toes” of their NSM if a lead is a national account, and NSM’s are sometimes inclined to make those clients “off limits” for developmental business. It can be a sticky situation on many levels, but I believe there are some best practices that every station should consider.

  1. First, everyone in station sales management needs to be on the same page. The GM, GSMs, LSMs, and NSM all need to agree on the right way to handle and approach business development opportunities that AEs may uncover. In my experience, a “national” account usually means the business is purely transactional and comes about via the rep firm and is negotiated by the NSM. In my mind, there is very little real “developmental” selling that occurs. The dollars that clients budget for these campaigns are pure advertising dollars meant for the spots and dots world. These dollars are imperative to the stations overall success and our business can’t survive without them.   However, we are constantly uncovering developmental funds that are outside the traditional advertising budget that the regional sales and marketing folks are responsible for spending. It always astounds me when I go into a station and no one knows any of the regional marketing or sales titles of their largest “national” clients. Let’s face it, national sales managers simply don’t have time to dig very deep into each of the accounts they manage. If you are dead set on your NSM only dealing with these accounts, then make sure they are setting aside time to make local contacts and that they are incented to take part in your station’s business development effort.
  2. The second best practice is to allow local AEs to handle some national accounts from a developmental side only. Be upfront with the rep firm and any agency people who work with your station and tell them that you are calling on some people locally who may have regional or district developmental funds.
  3. The third best practice is to be honest and transparent with the client. When making initial calls with AEs to “national” accounts, I always make sure to use certain language during the call so that they understand why we are calling. For example, if we are calling the Regional Sales and Marketing Manager for an automotive account we might say, “Our station already has a great relationship with your ad agency, and we get traditional advertising dollars each quarter that supports your brand. Thank you for that business. Why we are calling is to see if there are any market-specific opportunistic funds that you have set aside for 2012 for events or other opportunities we may be able to bring you on a local level.” By using this language you make it very clear to your contact that you are not calling about their advertising budget! And you disarm any agency or rep firm person that feels you are getting into their pockets.

Lastly, whatever you do, please do not ignore this business because it’s just too uncomfortable to deal with! As your field consultant always tells you, the BEST leads are the companies you are familiar with and have heard of before. Just because your station happens to get a 40 share of some transactional national account doesn’t mean you are getting all that’s out there.

I totally understand how complicated this can get within some sales departments. Just be committed that someone (whether it’s an NSM, an AE, or even an LSM) is making local and regional contacts within the “national” accounts at your station.

Use the Morrison and Abraham website today and look up profiles on your top 10 national accounts. Then make a plan that works for your station and go after some dollars that you can actually affect in 2012!