As more and more digital products and partnerships are introduced, a real debate is emerging whether they can be sold by a traditional media sales type who may be more focused on core product, have limited time to make his or her case (and apparently, a “C student” as well).
WMS ’09 participants in Washington D.C. this week got their fill of the debate. Gordon Borrell of Borrell Associates is clearly of the school that Internet specialists have to be hired. “If you are developing interactive, you can’t do it without sales people,” he says, encouraging the broadcasters in the audience to budget for more feet in the street, even in these tough times. But, he adds, “I have not seen a single case where people are selling two products,” although “a lot of people are trying to do that.”
Kelsey Group CEO Neal Polachek, however, says the issue is really how we define the idea of a “salesperson.” In this day and age, “a salesperson is not just a salesperson; he is a solution solver,” says Polachek.
“He has to go in and figure out the best way to generate (the client’s) objectives. It might be one place on the wheel, or it might be two places. To go in and say: ‘I am going to sell Gross Ratings Points to you,’ or ‘I am going to sell Internet Yellow Pages to you’ is not going to fly.”
Rob Weisbord, director, digital interactive, Sinclair Broadcast Group, said that much of the issue is simply whether the salesperson has the mental bandwidth to handle multiple products. “There are too many ‘c students,” he says. The current environment requires “A students” because “knowledge is the paradigm,” especially as Sinclair tries to “close the loop” of the array of ad products for three screens: TV, PC and mobile.
“They are 360 degree customer solution sellers,” says Weisbord. Consequently, “the best rep comes from a marketing background. We’re looking for athletes. They’re the most competitive.”