Navigating The Internal Waters
Let me start off with a couple questions to my fellow publishers and sales teams…do you know what you full portfolio looks like? Do we really know what you can or can’t sell? AND do you even know how it will be executed on when it is sold?
How about one more question. How often do you talk with your execution teams?
Do you see where I’m going with these questions? If not, then you really need to read this post about understanding how things work internally before ever selling any product.
Here are three steps that you should take as a sales rep, as a publisher or as any one trying to pitch a new idea or product to your teams.
Step 1: Get to know your teams
If I had a dollar for how many times a new idea was pitched and failed, I’d never have to work again. But it wasn’t because the idea was bad (Lord knows I have had plenty of bad ideas), it was because the new idea as drafted, crafted and launched without understanding who is truly going to own it, if that person really could handle it and does our audience even want it.
Here is a list of team members that most of you reading this will have or some variation of.
Editorial Team – Arguable the most underappreciated set of people I have ever seen within a magazine/media company when coming up with new ideas/products to sell. Editorial knows what topics are relevant with your audience so always be in tune with them on what is trending month to month. They are also the face of the brand to the audience.
Marketing Team – This set of folks should be your data junkies and the keeping of any schedules for promotions. If any program has a lead guarantee added to it, the marketing team will have a very good idea if it is feasible so make sure to buddy up with them on coming up with new ideas before getting to far down the rabbit hole and realizing what you are crafting may not be the best idea.
Program Managers – The keeper of everything, the lynchpin to the grenade, the face to your client…I can keep going but you get the picture. A strategic thinking program manager is essential to any great idea. These ladies and men are talking with clients on a daily basis. Bring them in on discussions to see what clients are talking about. Not only will they be a big part of steering a bad idea on its right course but can also supply new insights to develop a new idea.
My last comment on all three of these groups of people…buy them lunch as much as you can. Sounds silly but it goes a long way to show that you appreciate the work they are doing. Heck bring in donuts, whatever you can do to make the teams feel like a “team” will help break down the barriers from group to group, team to team.
Step 2: Know Thy Products
Seems simply right? Wrong. The amount of sales reps I have worked with over the years that can’t sell without referring to a media kit baffles me. Does anyone like to me read to when telling a story? Unless you’re a two-year-old ready for bed. Not a client.
Study your products. Remember the suggestion above about taking your teams out to lunch, ask them about products when doing so. What’s working? What’s not? How can we improve our products? Should we get rid of some and why?
These simply questions will help understand what we are really selling and if its working. Do some homework (YES HOMEWORK) and I promise you will be a better leader and sales rep if you do so.
Step 3: Talk to Your Audience
I’m teasing next week’s post with this but seriously…talk to you audience.
For those that know me I’m a broken record on this topic. Not enough brands talk to their audience on a regular basis to see what topics are trending and how they want to consume content. Run a survey, send a few personal emails from your editorial team. Whatever it takes.
Our most valuable asset is our audience, so we better be able to think like them and anticipate their next moves. Otherwise someone else will.
When navigating the internal waters its truly all about collaboration and communication. New ideas are always needed to continue to grow any company but make sure to involve those that are responsible to execute on them. Create an environment of collaboration and it will go a long way.
And finally…do your homework! Know your products and your audience.