Joining host Matt Sunshine and co-host Stephanie Downs in this episode of Improving Sales Performance are Jenn Scilabro, Senior Vice President of Local Digital Sales for Nexstar Digital, and Traci Wilkinson, Senior Vice President and Regional Manager for Nexstar Media Group, Inc.
As female thought leaders, experts, and industry gurus, Jenn and Traci share their insights, tips, and knowledge on various topics that help companies improve sales performance.
Tune in now or keep reading for a brief overview.
Female Thought Leaders in Sales
As the Senior Vice President of Local Digital Sales for Nexstar Digital, Jennifer Scilabro leads revenue development and sales enablement for the Local Sales division, including digital sales strategy, training, and sales activation. Working in partnership with 199 TV stations and a legendary radio station in 116 DMAs, her team empowers local sellers and leadership to advance the growth of local businesses.
With nearly 30 years in local media, marketing, and digital advertising, Jenn’s prior experience includes executive sales leadership roles within Harvest ROI, a leading HubSpot Partner Agency, and local media companies, including Advance Local, Tribune Broadcasting, and Local TV LLC. Earlier in her career, she held various advertising sales roles in digital, television, and radio, as well as marketing and media buying roles for various brands and agencies.
Currently, Traci Wilkinson serves as the Senior Vice President and Regional Manager for Nexstar Media Group, Inc. Prior to her appointment in this role, Traci served as Vice President and General Manager of Nexstar’s local television operation KASW-TV (CW) and yourphx.com in Phoenix Arizona.
She brings over 27 years of broadcasting and sales management experience to the role. Throughout her career, she consistently delivered excellence in client service and sales performance, achieving consistent revenue growth by increasing local community involvement, establishing strong local brands, and elevating the level of service provided to viewers and advertisers.
Important Key Performance Indicators for Sales
In order to ensure that the sales process is working, you also need to establish the right key performance indicators to track, so you always know how well you are doing in each step. So, what KPIs should you measure?
Traci discusses looking at individual sales managers and reviewing key performance indicators (KPIs) across all revenue types. She mentions monitoring and measuring:
- How AEs are performing on both linear and digital
- What the activity level is, and how full is the pipeline
- What the average deal size is, and is it growing
- Are AEs targeting the right accounts to achieve revenue budget long term
Jenn adds that sales managers also need to look at retention versus new business. Plus, pay attention to the retention of sellers on the team. Are you losing salespeople at a greater rate than normal?
What Are High-Priority Items Sales Managers Should Focus on Right Now?
Jenn says Big Rocks for sales managers right now should be three things:
- Talent growth – coaching and development, accountability and responsibility, and how they’re building their culture.
- Customer relationships – are you serving customers the absolute best?
- Recruitment – consistently upgrading the team, filling the pipeline, and how to create and inspire the next generation of sellers.
Matt follows up with the question, “Is this drumbeat on the most important things consistent, or is there flexibility between markets?”
From a personal standpoint, Jenn states that there are some areas where the drumbeat is clear, such as new business development and focus on digital products and some areas where flexibility is needed. “We have systems in place that we expect you to use, but how you use them is based on team dynamics.”
Traci adds, “Obviously, markets are different, and there’s a different level of talent, different expectations of revenue, and different types of clients. Sales managers need to identify their team's strengths and manage to that, so they provide the best results.”
Having good customer relationships are important everywhere, but the “HOW” is different based on the market.
How Sales Has Changed and The Qualities You Need To Be a Great Sales Leader
The differences in how sales management has changed over the years are day and night. Because of all the knowledge and technology available, sales managers and salespeople must become experts in categories and experts in how they present information to prospects and clients.
Traci states, “There are differences in the complexities and sophistication of products. Every day there’s something new, and sales managers have to stay on top of it. They have to drive it down through the organization and help AEs grasp the products.”
She also addresses the changes in technology, “We have to utilize what we have and future proof. Leaders have to ask questions to remove roadblocks – don’t big foot things down and pay attention.”
Jenn adds that since we have more access to data, there’s demand that we sell differently. “We have to have managers and sellers who understand data and how it delivers the story and use it. We’ve moved from selling delivery to selling performance and ROI - it takes a different brain and how to prove your value.”
To adapt to these changes in sales, the qualities of a sales manager must change as well.
Jenn says that you must lead by inspiration versus fear. “People want to follow people that inspire them. Inspire AEs to perform for themselves and advertisers.”
Traci adds that managers need to have emotional intelligence, integrity, and understanding the obstacles of salespeople. “Find what motivates them and accommodate that.” Jen continues the conversation by saying that not every salesperson reacts to the same things, and you have to look at your team as a baseball team – each person has different skills to help win the game.
Advice For New Sales Manager
Co-host Stephanie Downs asks, what advice do you have for onboarding new sales leaders?
Traci responds, “Always be ready to do exactly what you’re asking them to do. Fully understand all products so that your team believes in you and wants to take you on calls.”
Jenn adds that learning your audience and how to sell to your audience versus the product. “Focus on data and let it help you make decisions, but not get paralyzed by it. Also, a critical focus is keeping your team extremely focused, so they’re not injured by having too many balls in the air.”
When asked what changes will occur in sales departments in the next three to five years, Jenn talks about how sales leaders will have to get to the point where they’re responsible for all products. To hear more about her predictions, tune in now.
Traci talks about the flip side of what is not going to change, and that’s the spark in salespeople’s minds of having an idea that will get client results. As Matt adds, “Curiosity and ideation are important, and that will never change. Products will change, but helping businesses grow their business will never change.”