In today’s highly competitive TV sales environment, I believe that General Managers can no longer delegate the revenue responsibilities to sales management. They must be highly involved in the demand creation process, serving as the station’s CRO (Chief Revenue Officer).
Here are some of the things I think are important aspects of the “sales” role TV General Managers need to play in order for a station to be successful.
The Sales Role of the TV General Manager
1. Be heavily involved, personally, with the TV station’s KEY Accounts:
- Develop a list of all accounts in the Top 25% in both Local and National spending. Have the list revised every six months.
- Make 3 “how are we doing?” phone calls to KEY accounts each week.
- Average one face-to-face meeting with a KEY account weekly. Cover all the station’s KEY accounts with a local decision-maker each year. These meetings are often simply “thank you” meetings.
- Regularly send written thank you letters to the economic buyer at KEY accounts.
- Inspect the sales departments efforts with KEY accounts each month.
- Ask the GSM to provide written documentation of contact by the sales department with KEY accounts (articles, thank you notes, etc.). Meet to discuss monthly.
2. Set specific non-revenue sales goals with sales management each year. Possible examples:
- Increase % of direct business to ___.
- Conduct diagnosis calls with EVERY KEY account during the 4th quarter of the year.
- Add ___ # of AE’s to the staff before ________.
- Have two sales promotions that add more than ______ in incremental revenue.
- Local sales management on the street _____% of time. (I suggest 50% depending on market size.)
- GSM on the street ______% of time. (I suggest 30% depending on market size.)
This is “top of the funnel” work that leads to revenue growth. Too many times, our only goals are financial. That may not be indicative of the quality of the station’s sales efforts or sales management.
3. Have one-on-one meetings with the GSM that are a lot more robust than just a conversation about pending business and the status of tent pole events. Think about adding accountability for recruiting and some of the items above.
4. Personal involvement in at least one major sales presentation each month. (Great GM’s do more than this!)
5. Personally sell (or develop an idea that sells) an amount equal to your annual salary each year. I wrote about this in my book, Prime Time: Transforming Your TV Sales Staff into a Sales Force. It’s an idea I stole from a TV General Manager who didn’t have a sales background but realized that this was a great statement to make to his team. His corporate folks loved it as well.
6. Interview finalists for all AE positions before hiring. Remember, you’re hiring YOUR future, and every hire is critical today.
7. Participate in pricing meetings and join at least one sales meeting per month as an observer or to praise team or individual performance.
My colleague, JDA President John Hannon, writes often about “Engaged Management.” The ideas above, and some you might add to the list, represent engaged management from a GM to a GSM. In the same way that General Managers watch the 6 PM newscast daily – which shows a level of engagement that reflects the new TV business – this new business also demands that GM’s are way more engaged in the revenue side of the business than many have been in the past.
Jim Doyle and the JDA team are passionate about helping sales managers get better. One of the ways they do that is the Sales Manager’s High Performance Boot Camp. This program gets rave reviews with a combination of real-world ideas and inspirational outside speakers. Our next Boot Camp is in Tampa, January 2018. More info: Boot Camp 2018