Archive for November, 2012

Stop Wishing, Be Successful

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

by Amber Brown

The end of the year always seems to be when we look back on what we’ve accomplished. Looking back, to help us look forward. Perhaps, equally as important is evaluating what didn’t work. Projects that failed, leads that never panned out, skills we need to sharpen or maybe it’s something else that is keeping you from fully experiencing success.

I had a sale manager that used to say “The skills that made you successful for all these years may not be good enough to take you where you want to go”. At a lunch yesterday, a colleague asked my opinion on why I thought some sales people struggled while others excelled?   We talked a few minutes about it, but the question caused me to think about what I’ve experienced this year working with a wide range of sales reps from across various media throughout the country.

Here are a few observations:

Successful Sellers Have a Plan. I don’t mean a budget from their manager, but a plan on what it will take to achieve their goals. One rep I know saw a gap in a part of the city that was growing abundantly but few of the businesses in that area worked with his media. He targeted that area with a goal of adding one new client from that area each month.   A plan should be strategic and forward thinking, allowing time for adjustments and opportunities as they arise.

“A goal without a plan is a wish”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Successful Sellers are Great Prospectors! You have to do it and you have to track it! It’s frustrating to watch some sellers continue to prospect the same way over and over with little results. How about this? Try tracking leads for three months by simply keeping a log of all the prospecting calls made. At the end of the three months, give yourself a score by how many you closed or are still viable leads. Look for a pattern in those that close and those that don’t. I find that often those that struggle with finding good leads tend to gravitate toward companies that are comfortable, but maybe not profitable.

“You can’t plow a field simply by turning it over

in your mind.” — Gordon B. Hinckley

Successful Sellers Understand the Roles of All Decision-Makers in a Target Company – Titles can be very deceiving.   Who are the internal and external influencers? Who signs the checks? Who can say no, but cannot say yes? Who makes deals happen? I had a sales manager that used to say “Who has the juice?”

Successful Sellers Ask Tough Questions – Doing a good needs analysis or CNA takes practice. If you’ve been in sales for any amount of time, this may seem obvious. However, to modify the statement earlier, “Asking the same questions that made you successful so far may not work in the future”. Ask tough questions that get to the pain and not those that you likely already know the answer. Now more then ever, media sellers need to be solutions partners with clients. It’s not about media!

Successful Sellers Don’t Get Caught Up in the Minutia – This is perhaps the #1 reason I see sellers struggle. Focus on what matters and be cautious of getting caught up in small and trifling matters that do nothing to advance your success. There are hundreds of distractions each day that side track sellers, use up valuable time and reduce productivity. Find ways to avoid the minutia and keep moving forward.

It’s certainly not as simple as summing it up in a few points, but have a reality check with yourself. Look through your inventory of skills and address areas you can make changes

Success Stories & Recaps – Connected at the Hip!

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

by Kathrine Glass

Success stories are a valuable tool; they are a great way to continue communication with your client and get the next homework assignment and/or renewal.

You all have them, however, they aren’t necessarily captured in a format that can be shared throughout your organization. This is due, in part, because good program recaps are not being completed. This is common among many of our clients, unfortunately, as it is a missed opportunity to capture revenue for new programs, as well as renewals.

One of the best ways to build a success story library is to require recaps for every NTR/BDR program that is executed. These recaps should be used to continue to build trust with your clients by showing them that you delivered what you promised, provide opportunity to learn about ways the program could be enhanced, and gain insight into what it will take to get a renewal.

5 Tips for Recaps

  1. Start with great sales proposals that clearly define the client objective, creative concept and deliverables.
  2. Keep electronic and hard copy folders to collect program elements throughout production and the execution of the campaign. Don’t wait until the very end of the program to go back and try to put all of the deliverables in order.
  3. Remember you are telling a story – their story. Recap the client objective, creative concept and deliverables. Lay out your recap so that the client is front and center and the elements, pictures, etc. are relevant to them and clearly demonstrate benefits. Never forget the “what’s in it for them.”
  4. Always present in a face-to-face format with the decision maker so that you can get their honest input and feedback. Don’t forget to get their results! This is the most important part of moving a recap to a success story!
  5. Find out what, if anything, needs to be tweaked for next time. Ask for the renewal! If it is a seasonal or annual program, ask if there are any marketing/business objectives you can help them with prior to the next season. Be their go-to resource!

Now that you have done your recaps, all you have to do is add in the client results. Success stories are successes based on the client results, not on the fact that you sold them a program. Sometimes that can be overlooked.

Recaps are worth preparing because it shows the client that you are conscientious with their project all the way to the end. It closes the loop and provides a forum to address any wins and challenges. Recaps provide a casual way to address additional business and renewals! And then there is the added bonus of having success stories to help you and your organization garner more business!

Utilizing well thought out recaps as success stories is helpful for three reasons.

  1. The work has already been done!
  2. Sharing something that has worked before is one of the best ways to establish credibility with a new prospect. If AE’s have a library of great programs to reference, they are more likely to grab the attention of a new prospect.
  3. Success stories demonstrate what can be done and can provide great idea starters for AE’s.

The key is to be disciplined to get the recaps done and then to be sure that you share the information! From the current client, to AE’s and new prospects, everyone can benefit from recaps and success stories.