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What Can Radio Do To Save Sales Jobs?

Are you to be trusted? Do you offer to help your clients or do you just sell them the latest packages right off the shelf? Do you take the time to learn enough about how somebody does their job so you can present solutions tailor-made for them? Are you emailing clients the latest “radio reaches everybody!” research that makes you look good and the rest of the media bad? 

Then we are part of the problem. And this problem may lead to the elimination of a good number of salespeople.

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Radio Matters
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When was the last time you met with an advertising agency executive beyond the buyers’ desk? They don’t want to see us and never have in general. Why? All we want to do is sell them.

We have lost trust, and without a radical turnaround, we will continue to do so. The 21-34-year-old buyers now have more information on how to buy your station without your input. Forrester Research predicted 1 million B2B salespeople would be out of work by 2020. They indicated that in 2017 BEFORE the pandemic. Plenty of buyers get by without face-to-face meetings with salespeople now.  It’s no wonder. We continue to show up with one-sided research, and radio management continues to push salespeople to ‘direct’ clients because they don’t use research and want personal relationships with us.

That day is coming to an end soon. Direct buyers read, watch, learn and listen to information on how to buy radio advertising from sources THEY consider neutral and honest. And then they get rates from you, and whatever bonus stuff they can get…maybe a free concert ticket. How long until they don’t need us for current rates? 

What is the solution for this decay in the relationship? Well, it may be too late as we are a tiny cog in the wheel of Business to Business sales reps. But, instead of paying salespeople to cold call and use pitch decks to show up and throw up, management needs to invest more long-term in salespeople. Re-train them on social media selling, using business development reps, and providing marketing support for the sales process. It would be better for broadcasters to lower their margins from 30% to 20% and have a future. Turn sales assistants into marketing reps. Use marketing that can answer why BUY, why buy NOW, and why buy from YOU. 

No One Else is Going to Do it All for You
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Eliminate office help for business development reps who do the cold calling and produce quality appointments. Hire salespeople who can sell but don’t have to cold call constantly, write copy, fill out orders, collect money, handle promotion details, and fill out pipeline reports. Get others to do that.

Radio needs to stop thinking about what and start partnering more with who. Salespeople cant do it all and they need more support. I would think even the top earners would be willing to part with 10% of their income for better support staff. The time is now, or radio will continue to see some of their brightest and best sales talent move to better-supported industries. 

Jeff Caves
Jeff Caves
Jeff Caves is a sales columnist for BSM working in radio and digital sales for Cumulus Media in Dallas, Texas and Boise, Idaho. He is credited with helping launch, build, and develop Sports Radio The Ticket in Boise, into the market’s top sports radio station. During his 26 year stay at KTIK, Caves hosted drive time, programmed the station, and excelled as a top seller. You can reach him by email at [email protected] or find him on LinkedIn.

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