Does your sales manager remind you of Big Brother? Is she always poking into your business and really digging into your grits during one-on-ones? Does he regularly interrupt your day to get one-off information about one of your accounts, or what happened in this meeting, or what’s the status of that? You would like to spend more time efficiently selling and making money, right?
So, how do you keep your sales manager off your back? Here are 7 easy ways to keep your relationship with your manager on an even keel and productive, and you’ll make more money in the process!
1. Communicate proactively. Your managers will always need to collect information from you about your business. This will never change, because someone up the chain is gathering data from your manager to get the 30,000-feet-up view. By now, you probably know what information will be requested and when, so the more you anticipate your manager’s needs (daily, weekly, quarterly, annually) and the easier you make it on them, the less likely you will be have your day disrupted. Don't make your manager chase you down!
2. On time is good, early is best. This applies to everything you do in your media sales office.
- If you have reports that are due, be first in. Make it a game of sorts that you’re always going to be one of the first to get that done.
- Show up to the office early and leave late. Even 10 to 15 minutes on either side of the day will make a big difference in the eyes of your manager.
- Always try to be the first to arrive at your weekly sales meetings and individual meetings with internal staff.
- All this helps create a sense of trust and confidence in your professionalism with your mangers and helps keep them off your case.
3. Lead from the front. Especially if you’ve been there for a while, set an example for your team and encourage others (especially the rookies) to maintain best practices and working efficiently and productively in your office.
4. Keep your sales funnel full. This lets your sales manager know you’re out there pitching business. After all, this is what pays your bills, so this is fundamental. Make sure you are checking and tracking your budgets against your billing and holding yourself to a conservative closing ratio. Be certain that you have enough business in your funnel to hit your budgets. Example: If your April budget is $50,000 and you have $45,000 booked with a 25% closing ratio, you need to close $5,000 more and should have $20,000 pending in your sales funnel (and close 35% of that pending).
5. Know your business. Make sure you’ve done your homework and that it is clear to your manager that you have. You should know what your missing business is; what accounts are up or down for the month, quarter and YTD; your top 10 accounts (advertisers and/or agencies); and which accounts and industry categories drive your list.
6. Drink the Kool-Aid and serve it to others. Every station and media sales office has an image, philosophy and core set of values that are presented to the staff, clients and the public. Make it your business to show your support. Act as an ambassador for those values and spread the word to others in your office and on the street. Your managers want to know that you are taking a leadership position, representing your station in its best light and waving the flag of support for all to see.
7. Volunteers needed. Step up! There’s often a need for volunteers to lead or manage a project, to come up with ideas for an event, or just to help out. Raise your hand. Your leadership will be infectious and it’s also a great way to get others involved and build relationships inside your company.
Now that you have some helpful hints about how to keep your manager off your back, remember that this takes initiative and organization. Many radio and television sales organizations provide what are now standard tools, such as Excel for spreadsheets and Outlook for organization. Others provide CRM and/or account management software to help account executives stay on top of their business.
These systems are ideal, because they consolidate your information and give you centralized access in the cloud to all your information, so that you have greater access to your data, better analytics capability and so that you don’t have to manually track and maintain your data. So, whatever your system, following these tips will keep you better organized and ensure that you’re communicating more effectively and proactively with your managers, which will usually keep them off your back!