Recruiting, Keeping Sales 'Superstars' Probed By NAB Panel
April 12, 2010 at 2:12 PM (PT)
An NAB SHOW panel on recruiting and retaining sales "superstars" moderated by PATTY KINCAID, Dir. of New Business Developing at MEDIA STAFFING NETWORK, offered advice to managers on hiring account executives in the tough business climate.
ICBC Urban WBLS/NEW YORK VP/GM DEON LEVINGSTON said that a "Superstar Manager" maximizes positives while not dwelling on failures, creating an environment that "breeds success." He noted that by creating a positive atmosphere, sales staffers at other stations will want to work for your station.
"Superstar managers," LEVINGSTON said, get the "wrong people" "off the bus" -- fire them -- in order to retain the "right people." He also stressed the need for an environment of "continuous growth" to motivate the staff, and the value of "playing to the strengths" of the staffers, using the example of JOHNNY CARSON's staff telling him only the bits that were "home runs" and his taking the positive reinforcement to weed out the sketches that didn't work.
Finally, he offered that staffers should have more opportunities to make more money and should be treated with respect and given room to grow and to succeed. "Any good manager will challenge you consistently," he said.
CLEAR CHANNEL PHOENIX Dir./Sales LINDA LITTLE said that her "superstar" salesperson was and is a team player who wants to be part of a winning team, building great relationships both externally and internally (with all departments), and is a self-starter. Motivating a superstar sales person, said LITTLE, includes making sure that he or she is trained on a constant basis to promote personal growth, allowing unlimited earning potential, and providing a cutting-edge, forward-thinking company (for example, selling digital as well as radio spots). She also stressed leading by example and setting forth clear expectations of what is expected from the salesperson.
SOUTH CENTRAL COMMUNICATIONS Pres. CRAIG JACOBUS focused on how to retain sales stars, and he phrased it as creating a "destination workplace." He noted that radio companies are not competing for salespeople with other radio companies, they're competing with every good company in every category. He suggested that managers build close relationships with salespeople and "sincerely care about them," including one-on-one time with the staff once a week.
He also said managers should "focus on their personal growth," knowing what their individual goals are, while recognizing their achievements (warning that some people don't want to be publicly recognized at sales meetings) and compensating them well (including with non-monetary compensation). JACOBUS suggested that managers "ask (salespeople) for ideas" to shine a spotlight on them, and called for managers to "put them (salespeople) on stage," with an example being to let staffers conduct sales meetings in place of the manager.