The Crucial Staff Position That No Radio Station Has, But They All Should
February 23, 2016
While most companies in America have a marketing department to attract prospective clients and a separate sales department to convert those prospects into paying customers, radio stations usually combine these roles into one. In fact, when we hear the word "marketing" in the radio industry, we usually think of it as a strategy to attract listeners, not advertisers.
When it comes to generating leads for the sales department, most radio station still do it the way they always have: by prospecting. The salespeople listen to other radio stations, watch local television stations, and read local print media to see who's advertising. Then they call upon those companies in the hopes that they can persuade them to advertise on their station next time.
In other words, they're chasing down the buyers after they've already spent their money.
This would be like Ronald McDonald hanging out at the end of the KFC drive thru, shouting to motorists, "Next time you could get a Happy Meal!"
Salespeople should not be responsible for generating leads. Marketers should. The skills needed to generate leads and the skills needed to close leads are not the same. It's possible to be a great marketer and a terrible salesperson (I fall into this camp) or vice versa. Don't assume that just because a person is good at one role, they're automatically good at the other.
Hire This Person
Every radio station needs somebody whose sole job is to generate leads for their sales team: a Lead Generation Specialist. This person would be measured by the number (and size) of leads they bring to the "top of the sales funnel," whereas salespeople are measured by the number (and size) of deals they close at the "bottom of the funnel." A Lead Generation Specialist is really just the marketing person for the sales side of the building, but we're going to give him or her this fancy title because we want to be explicit about what the goal is: to generate sales leads.
Here are some of the duties that this person should be responsible for:
1. Define Qualified Leads
Work with the Sales Manager to develop criteria for what constitutes a qualified lead (Hint: Just because somebody drops their business card in a fishbowl hoping to win a free iPad at your Business Fair booth, that doesn't make them a qualified lead.)
2. Create Online Content
Create online content (webinars, white papers, guides, etc.) to put behind a form to capture leads. For example, host a webinar for prospective clients on "How to Understand Radio Ratings" or "How to Write Effective Radio Commercials." This content should be optimized for search engines (SEO is more important on the sales side of the building than on the programming side) and shared on social media (think LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and SlideShare, not Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram).
3. Implement an Events Strategy
Organize events that generate leads by teaming up with local organizations, like the SBA, Score, the Chamber of Commerce, or the local Economic Development center. These events can often be workshops that repackage the online content mentioned above. For example, team up with your local SBA chapter to host a workshop on "How to Understand Radio Ratings."
4. Analyze and Report
Analyze different lead generation campaigns to see which are producing the best results. At least once a month, the Lead Generation Specialist should pull together analytical reports to see which marketing campaigns are producing the most leads (and also the most advertising dollars) and which are underperforming. This way, money and effort can be reallocated to the most effective marketing channels.
It's an outdated, ineffective method of chasing down clients, and your company is losing revenue because of it. Instead, do what thousands of other companies in other industries are doing: hire a person (or people) dedicated solely to generating sales leads.