Our JDA team will make about 5000 sales calls this year in 80+ markets. We spend a lot of front seat time with AE’s! So, I can tell you with absolute certainty that almost all of your AE’s have little desire to move into management.
That’s probably exactly the opposite from most who are reading this article. Many of you are probably exactly like I was. From my earliest days at a TV station, I was trying to figure out what I needed to do to get promoted. But today’s AE’s aren’t like that at all. Many of them look at the Local Sales Manager’s job and can’t see any joy in that position.
Then we tell them that if they want to be a sales manager they’ll have to take a cut in pay from their sales job. And, “Oh yeah… you’ll work more hours and won’t have any flexibility.” That’s why most AE’s tell us they have little interest in being “promoted” to LSM.
That’s a huge issue because the need for great LSM’s has never been more critical and the jobs they do have never been more important.
Where do you find great LSM’s?
My answer, after having talked with thousands of AE’s over the years, is that we have to grow them. It’s almost impossible today to recruit someone as an LSM from another market, especially if it’s their first management job. Taking the first management job might seem risky, and they often have to consider their spouse’s career, as well. Plus, there’s that little issue about making less. So, while we may be able to recruit GSM’s and get them to move, we usually have to grow LSM’s.
What does that mean to you? It means that every revenue-focused TV group needs to have a program to identify (and mentor) AE’s who have the talent and the desire to be promoted. We need to sell those Account Executives on the short- and long-term opportunities in management and begin to prepare them, sometimes years in advance, for any promotion opportunities. If you don’t do that, you’ll struggle to fill your LSM job with a quality leader, which will only increase your challenges!!!
A major theme of my seminars over the last few years has been that the “wing it” days are over. Today’s AE’s have to be better prepared for a new business diagnosis call. They should be rehearsing presentations before they deliver them.
It’s the same thing for those of us who are the bosses. We can’t be winging it in developing Local Sales Managers. The job is just too important for our future to rely on being lucky when we get an opening.
Over the past few years I’ve seen more groups being more strategic about identifying and growing LSM candidates. Three different groups have sent promising AE’s to our Sales Manager’s Boot Camp to give them the exposure to best practices and to other sales managers. One group sent four star AE’s a few years ago. Three got promoted, and today, two have been promoted again to GSM’s. (Info on our 2018 event is below.)
Another has a formal program to identify AE’s who have promise and make sure they’re getting with corporate sales leadership any time they’re in town. They also have them regularly sit with the station General Manager for discussions about the business and their opportunities.
We tell AE’s all the time to keep putting prospects into their sales funnel. As leaders, we need to do the same thing. We need a funnel for “potential LSM’s,” and leaders need to be putting people into that funnel long before the need arises.
Our Local Sales Manager’s job is critical to our future success, so it’s critically important we work hard to grow people who could be successful.
Have a GSM or GM meeting in your future? Why not have Jim Doyle or John Hannon speak to your meeting about how to turn your sales staff into a Sales Force? We promise powerful, thought-provoking content customized to your company’s needs. Contact Jim Doyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 941-926-SELL.
We’re also taking reservations for our 2018 High Performance Sales Manager’s Boot Camp – January 28-30th in Tampa, FL. Do you know someone who could benefit from this high intensity training? Someone who would walk away saying what this LSM did after attending Boot Camp – “This was life changing in both my personal and professional life in many ways… But not in the motivational type of way. In a real-world, step-by-step, instructional action plan type of way!” Interested? Go to BOOTCAMP or call 941-926-SELL (7355) for more info.