Archive for July, 2016

Don’t Let Politics Get in the Way of Developmental Business

Friday, July 8th, 2016

by Susan Novicki

2016 is and will continue to be a banner year for political across the media landscape. The Summer Olympics are an added cause for media craziness. With all of this, salespeople and station groups get caught up in the fray – with spots getting bumped and “make goods” abounding. Business is great but are you strategizing for 2017? Very few people are thinking about getting in front of the money for 2017 but now is the time to be initiating calls and starting the conversations. A TV seller and I were on the phone with a food association last week and they have already put their plans in place for 2017. This was a shock – I expect that large national banks or large CPG companies could be in the throes of finalizing plans but a non-profit food association!?!?

Remember there are a lot of companies with fiscals that are not calendar year. For example most of the Japanese automotive companies’ fiscal runs April through March. P&G’s fiscal runs July through June. But the majority of companies run on a calendar year which means that the planning is starting right now for 2017. This provides the perfect scenario to talk about their needs moving into 2017; what worked for them this year, what do they want to achieve next year? We can develop fully integrated sales driven and marketing campaigns that afford them the opportunity to engage with their targeted customers and / or businesses.

And don’t forget that these efforts could result in finding dollars still available for third and fourth quarter 2016. A recent conversation with a regional decision-maker at an automotive company resulted in a homework assignment for an immediate program and a budget for $50,000+. We just closed $32,000 with a CPG company for October yet our conversation started with a discussion about first and second quarter 2017.

Even as crazy as everything is with political and with your transactional and local direct business, don’t let your developmental calls lag – missing one week of calls can throw your pacing completely off for the rest of this year and put you “behind the eight ball” for first quarter 2017. You don’t want to be sitting with an empty funnel after elections in November. So now is the time to make every effort to reach out to both current clients and new prospects to start the conversation about 2017.

Talking about 2017 relaxes the decision-makers. When you get a person on the phone this time of year the first thing you usually hear is “my money is spent – there is nothing in the budget to do anything for the remainder of the year”. But if you start off the conversation saying “I just read that you have a new array of flavors being introduced later this year. I would like to talk to you about your marketing efforts and how we can help you translate that into consumer traffic and sales at the retail level in first quarter”. Already the decision-makers demeanor changes and the conversation and questions and answers flow. The barrier is dropped and you get a homework assignment to create ideas to engage their customers and drive traffic and sales.

During a recent conversation with the Regional Marketing Manager of a large health care company we were discussing first and second quarter initiatives and towards the end of the conversation as we started to talk about budgets he interrupted us to say “you know there is a possibility that there might be money to do something in late October / early November around diabetes education”.   With that a proposal was created and we should hear about the close later this week.

If you haven’t already, start the conversations for 2017, make the calls each and every week – no matter how busy you are, and keep your funnel filled moving into 2017.