We can’t remember the last time someone published a reliable answer to the question,"What Keeps Media Salespeople and Their Managers Awake at Night?" So we fielded a fairly ambitious piece of research to find out.
We started with 65 one-on-one interviews in which respondents were asked open-ended questions. We analyzed their responses, and characterized and aggregated them to produce a list of challenges faced these days by sales managers and salespeople in the media. The items on those lists—one list for managers, one for sellers—were then tested among a much larger sample.
We fielded questionnaires in mid-2013 to approximately 2,600 salespeople and over 900 sales managers. From those lists, we asked respondents to select only three items from the list presented, representing the three items where making an improvement would produce the biggest payoff.
All respondents were from advertising media firms, with highly diverse representation from the key media sectors— radio, television, internet, cable, newspaper, and magazine—representing the breadth of the company’s client base.
There was no trouble getting responses! More than 1 in 4 managers invited to participate completed the questionnaire, an astounding response rate of 26.6%, perhaps reflecting the high level of engagement managers have with The Center for Sales Strategy. Among salespeople, the response rate was 9.8%, a very strong participation that will provide ample comfort to anyone reviewing the findings. The actual number of respondents was 169 for the sales manager survey and 256 for the salesperson survey. This sample size provides the stability needed to have confidence in the findings.
Here are the top items voted by sales managers, along with the portion of the sample that selected that item as one of its Top 3 items.
- “Finding great salespeople to add to the staff is an ongoing challenge.” 45.4%
- “My salespeople don’t have enough new, qualified prospects.” 29.6%
- “We have so many products and services to sell that some get lost in the rush and don’t get the attention they require.” 28.3%
- “We need to find ways to increase our digital revenue.” 26.3%
And here are the top items voted by salespeople, again showing with the portion of the sample that selected that item as one of its Top 3 items.
- “I find it difficult to get the first appointment with those I have determined are my most ideal prospects.” 45.4%
- “It is difficult to find enough ideal prospects to create a list of those I would consider approaching.” 36.6%
- “Selling is more difficult these days because clients are paying more attention to metrics and measurement.” 33.7%
- “It can be a difficult task to nail down a clear assignment from the prospect, which is necessary to develop the best solution.” 32.2%
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Those are just the headlines. We’ve prepared an extensive report reviewing these findings, placing them into context, and considering some measures media sales managers may wish to consider in order to respond to these very real challenges.
The report—The Biggest Challenges of Media Salespeople and Sales Managers—is free to all. Download your copy now.