Case: WFCR, Western New England’s, National Public Radio affiliate derives 26% of its operating budget from corporate underwriting sales, (i.e. radio advertising with strict copy guidelines). A team of four sales professionals is responsible for making telephone contact with targeted business in the region to sell underwriting ‘mentions’ that range in value from several hundred dollars to several thousand.
Challenge: Sales effectiveness was inconsistent among staff members, with some over reliance on repeat business to meet goals. Individual yearly revenue targets weren’t easily translated into direct sales activity and quarterly forecasting was unreliable. Sales momentum would sometimes bog down on low probability and/or low value prospects because unwarranted time was spent at various stages of the sales process. Prospect/customer contact information and historical records were not used to leverage more sales.
Recommendation: Break down the sales process to identify those areas of strength and challenge within each team member. Develop natural sounding ‘scripts’ to: increase the probability of voice mail messages being returned, efficiently qualify prospects, more quickly advance the sales process, and close more sales. Conduct role-playing exercises to craft responses to common objections, gain comfort with new approach, and identify best practices. Leverage the power of in-house contact management software to up-sell, and re-sell.
Result: Achieved a 33% increase in underwriting sales over the same period a year before. Increase in productive sales activity, with accompanying decrease in time spent on sales management minutia. New sales-activity tracking mechanism in place to assist in forecasting and individual mentoring. Achieved group buy-in to a ‘new way’ of selling that left sales reps with a higher degree of confidence, excitement about getting out and selling more, and the tools necessary for goal setting, and self-accountability.
“Sheldon helped to asses the staffs weak areas and offered weekly suggestions, support and direction to make our efforts more productive. He made himself available to the whole staff and offered individual training off-line. He jump started our sales team!”
Ms. Ruth Kennedy, Corporate Marketing Director. (413) 577-0779