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How Are You Bringing New Sellers On Board?



Sales managers have a really hard job. They are successful only when others are successful. They run about 50 sales meetings a year and strive to make each one memorable and impactful. They know their client base inside and out. They manage inventory, establish prices, handle negotiations, and put out fires. They recruit salespeople, train them, and coach them to success. 


The key to their success is always their sales team. If the team is on fire, so is the sales manager. If they are floundering, so is the sales manager. And ratings can cover up a lot of problems. Ratings are like the ocean. When the ratings are good, theres a high tide all the time. When the ratings are bad, the tide goes out and all the trash and rusting wreckage on the bottom is visible for all to see. That junk was always there just hidden by a cloudy sense of victory and the misguided belief that it would always be that way. Often, when the tide goes out, one critical area thats been overlooked will surface: sales training. Consider these questions: 


Do you have an onboarding program for new sellers? Radio is, alas, often late to the party when it comes to programs that are standard in other industries. Onboarding the process through which new employees are welcomed and trained so they become productive team members is often overlooked, abbreviated, or alien in our industry. New sales hires need special care and help at the beginning of their tenure with you to ensure their success. 


They need to understand the companys core values and initiatives. They need to be able to professionally represent the station or stations to the advertising and business community. They need to understand who does what and where to go for help and guidance. They need to fully understand what is expected of them. If you dont have a plan for this, you likely have new sellers who feel lost, take longer to get up to speed, and are more likely to leave within the first year of employment. 


Have the majority of your newer salespeople been with you one year or longer? Every market seems to have a cluster with a reputation for burning through salespeople. The old school attitude hire em and see if they stick is so yesterday. Dont be that cluster! Recruiting and retaining talented salespeople is critical to your success. If you are wasting resources bringing in people who are not a fit, or who are not properly onboarded and trained, you are doing a disservice to your company, yourself, and your client base. 


Do your sales meetings have a focus on training? Or on sharing information? Many sales meetings are terrific. People leave feeling better about what they do than they did at the beginning of the meeting. They learn new things and their confidence in themselves and their ability to position the products they represent is enhanced. Others are more like a living memo. Information is disseminated, handouts are passed around, facts and figures are shared, and everyone adjourns. What has really been accomplished in that scenario? Besides time passing? Adults learn by doing. If you arent creating opportunities for practice, Q&As, discussion, and more, you are missing the point. 


Are your one-on-one meetings focused on accounts and accountability? One-on-one meetings are a necessary part of the salesperson and sales manager relationship. They should be focused on key and target accounts with an emphasis on action: How can we make this happen, accelerate this process, improve this relationship, renegotiate this deal, get in to see this person, etc. The sales manager runs this meeting, not the sales rep. If the meeting has become the one time a week the salesperson can drop every fire or potential fire on the managers desk, something is haywire. 


Do you have a coaching plan for each salesperson? Everyone on your team wants to grow. They want to grow their knowledge, their incomes, their capabilities, and their impact. And you need to hold up your end of the relationship. You need to understand each seller, their goals, their strengths, their weaknesses, and more so you can individualize your approach to help them be the best they can be. 


When all the gears are moving smoothly in a radio station sales department, you can practically hear it hum. Take a moment to take stock of your situation and honestly assess how well you are meeting your teams needs so they can lead you to success. 


Marijane Milton is international director of revenue innovation and training at MBMI. She worked at Entercom for 11 years as its vice president of training and development prior to joining MBMI. Reach her at  

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