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Panpa Bulletin : May 2006
Selection of the team is paramount to the success of the performance. You should always have fat in your sales team rather than recruit- ing in a hurry because someone has resigned. With recruiting it should never be a rush job -- be- cause the phrase 'Act in haste, re- pent at leisure' does not apply to a bad hire. You should never stop looking in the market -- always be on the lookout for a super sales person -- who will fit into your team. Your teams should comprise of a couple of top billers and some good all-rounders who put in steady revenue and oc- casionally pull out a corker. They strive to be a top biller and are competitive. A top biller needs competition and needs to feel that there are others who can match their performance. When recruiting and selecting, it is of paramount importance to identify what it is you are in the market to buy, if you are building a performance culture in your ad sales team. If you have not worked out the turnover statistics for your sales team, then it is time to do so. If you are hiring after someone has resigned, you have no one sitting in the desk in two weeks time; you have a black hole coming up. Irrespective if you start the process straight away; itwilltakeyou6to8weeksto find a suitable candidate, add to that a notice period of 4 weeks for the employee resigning and that is almost a full quarter of no revenue. Hypothetically, if you had a resignation in your team tomor- row -- how many of you have a position description ready to go... How many of you as managers of teams, know the success factors for your busi- ness? Is it about customers? Is it about culture? Is it about you or is it about the people you attract to work for you? When you are hiring, what do you look for? How many people in this room look for individuals with an address book? And when that address book is exhausted... what then? Surely the skill should be to develop relationships, to network with existing customers, to identify markets, to initiate sales ideas and to understand market trends. Is it an ability to sell? What does that mean? To be able to talk -- engage in conversation with anyone, about anything, to have an opinion. During your interview proc- ess, bring someone in -- see if they can engage in a conver- sation about anything. Bring someone in to present a case in front of the interviewee and ask -- what would they do? Ask the interviewee to sell their current product to you... would you buy it? Because if you won't buy it -- why would your customers? Ask for sales figures. Are they substantiated? Performance is measured in today's market so ask for details. It is part of a sales person's rhetoric to oversell themselves, but with KPIs in place and sophisticated tracking systems, this informa- tion is available. If candidates cannot produce it, then ques- tion their administration and technical skills. If you follow some of these practices you will be better prepared when you have a resignation. What should an ad manager or sales manager look for in a high-performance sales person? From our experi- ence...high perform- ance sales people are: focused -- specialist, niche market, people who respond to sales targets; they do not build on relation- ships, they ask for the tools to do the job, they are not interested in team but are only interested in their own revenue earning op- portunities, they are arrogant but not showy -- quietly confident that they will succeed and their listening skills highly attuned. Are publishing sales people different... how, why, how we use this knowledge? Theoretically no... a sales person from another FMCG Organisation should be able to sell your 'marketing' service or your newspaper/ magazine as a product. So the market is techni- cally 'broad'. However most publishers, whether newspapers or magazines, want sales people with contacts -- the relationships at agencies are frequently (if not always) asked for, which gives us recruiters a headache. Why? Because let me tell you the advertising agencies have high staff turno- ver and what used to be a good contact can disappear over night. So please, readjust your thinking! The publishing market in Australia is so small that it is not difficult to exhaust the market -- rob Peter to pay Paul, Peter hears about it and you have an escalating issue of head hunting -- inflated salaries being handed around. Don't you think Ad agencies get a little bit tired of: "Hi, its Julie here, remember me? I used to work at NYZ, and now I'm at ABC -- you know the newspaper that I told you was the best thing since sliced bread? Well it's fattening -- and I just changed sides...!" It's worse than the recruitment industry. Surely there are more sophisti- cated CRM systems, and ways of doing business. OK -- so I understand you want a quick return -- but recruit- ment is not about hiring the quick fix -- it's about developing a long term solution. Opportuni- ties must be considered if you want to decrease turnover and engage your sales team and maximize the poten- tial within the team. Remember, by 2011 we shall have a shortfall of 195,000 people for jobs in Aus- tralia -- so keep what you have got! 30 | PaNPa bULLETIN May 2006 PaNPa aD FORUM building the best team helen olivier, principal of olivier recruitment, spoke at the PanPa advertising forum about the need to plan recruitment of your ad sales team for best results.