I know where your media sales head is today. Even if you aren’t a sports fan, you probably can’t avoid discussions of which team is going to pound which other, and how your team got screwed in the brackets.
Even if you aren’t a sports fan, the thought of a million, or, even better, a billion dollars for a perfect bracket will probably be enough incentive to fill one out, even if you gauge the winners simply by the coolness of their mascots or team colors. And even if you aren’t a sports fan, you are probably using what you know to make small talk with clients.
It’s March Madness (I will avoid adding the “baby” at the end of the term), and while you may be studying your brackets, figuring out how you can play hooky if there are games in your city, or figuring out which client you can conveniently visit that has multi-screen TVs, apply the lessons of the season to your media sales life:
- The brackets – like life – aren’t fair. Your team is in the hardest region. They have to play the hardest teams to advance. Your team didn’t get the respect it deserves, while the other teams all get free rides. It may be true, it probably isn’t, and either way, get over it. Media salespeople who have been there longer have “better” accounts, even though you are a “better” salesperson, because they have paid their dues, have great relationships, or factors only your sales manager knows. Your goals are high because management thinks you have the talent to reach them. An account was moved because — for any number of fair or unfair reasons — you may not have been maximizing the potential. Deal with what you have facing you, and show everyone who is a winner.
- Play with all levels of teams. There are big basketball programs and there are some that are lucky to be invited to the dance. This is much like your account list. Like most things in life, you have priorities, and there are accounts that are more likely to bring you to the dance, and those that get some play on your stations but are probably not what you consider long-term winners. That doesn’t mean that one of those that gets a little less of your attention now can’t become great, and one of your big accounts can’t have a year in which they fall out of your top accounts. Use your media sales CRM and analytics software to help you be sure that you are as on top of your accounts and their potential as you are on top of potential Final Fours right now.
- Have a game plan. The coaches are busy now developing game plans. They develop a game plan for each game. You should do the same for each account and for each visit to each account. What is your plan for the year for this account? How are you going to make that happen? What do you hope to accomplish with this next phone call or appointment? What questions should you ask to get the information you need? You have to be ready to adjust your game plan according to circumstances and their game plan, but teams that just go play don’t often get very far down the road.
- Use your resources. You often hear that a team won because they got so many points from their bench, or they have a great defender and excellent parameter shooters (those of you not into basketball may liberally throw those terms around so you sound in-the-know). Teams with one outstanding player may win a few games, but they rarely go all the way. Use your creative department, your events, your digital platforms and your relationships to develop your clients and provide them with marketing solutions. Use your inventory system to see the best times available for their spots at rates that will work for them. Using all the resources you have available to you will help them win.
- Don’t accept losing. Every team but one is going to be sent home with a loss. The great ones rebuild and come back again and again. You will be sent home with a “no.” Don’t get used to it. Let it sting, for you, too, will rebuild and come back stronger and smarter.
Welcome to March Madness. If you win the billion, would you let me know how you picked your winners?
By Kitty Malone, Efficio Solutions Manager of Client Services