Highlights From The 5th Annual Media Sales Report


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In this Quick Take episode, we’re kicking off our season-long exploration of The Center for Sales Strategy’s 5th Annual Media Sales Report by highlighting some of this year’s most eye-catching findings.

In other words, by the end of this short episode, you’ll have a good idea of how salespeople and sales managers are currently feeling about their own organizations as well as the entire media sales industry.

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Achieving Organizational Goals Has Become Harder

According to the report, sales managers indicated that achieving organizational goals has become 81% harder compared to the previous year.

“I think that we all kind of know that,” Matt says. “But when four out of five sales managers say, ‘oh yeah, this is harder,’ what that says is not very many people are looking at 2024 and saying, ‘you know what? This is going to be an easy year for us. We have tailwinds behind us.’

“Doesn’t mean that the goals are not achievable. It just means that our work is cut out for us. And I think a good, healthy dose of understanding what’s ahead and what you’re going to have to do to be successful is super important.”

Preference for Hybrid Work is Clear

A significant majority of salespeople (90%) and sales managers (74%) expressed a desire for some form of hybrid work schedule.

“Nobody is saying they want to work 100% from home or 100% from the office,” Matt says. “but, instead, some sort of hybrid.

“And what I’ve seen the most successful organizations do is to be very transparent and say, ‘well, at this company, these are our ground rules, this is how we do it, we do two days a week, we do three days a week, we do four days week, etc.

“They don’t leave it loosey-goosey. They actually say, ‘This is how we do it, and we’re sticking to it,’ and I think that sort of guidance from leadership is really important. It goes a long, long way.”

Settle for Nothing but Superstar Performers

Surprisingly, only 76% of sales managers reported that less than 40% of their team members are considered “superstars.”

Matt says, “In my opinion, all your people should be superstars.

“The fact that less than four out of ten are superstars is a problem.

“I mean, let’s face it, ‘A talent’ beats out ‘C talent’ every day. You want the most talented, the most skilled, the best salespeople.

“The question has to be: why are you tolerating that? A’s don’t want to be surrounded by B’s and C’s. A’s want to be surrounded by other A’s!

“So, it’s discouraging in one sense…But it’s also a huge opportunity. It’s a huge opportunity to say, ‘You know what? In 2024, my goal is to have all superstars,’ or ‘I want at least 75% of my team to be what I would consider a superstar,’

“If you get there? You’re going to blow your budgets away, and you’re going to crush it.”

How to Create a Sales Training Program to Nurture Superstars

Encouraging Levels of Managerial Support

An encouraging statistic revealed that 93% of salespeople feel supported by their managers.

“This one just makes you feel good,” Matt says.

“As a sales leader, it is our job to grow, develop, and support the people that we work with every day. So, great job, sales leaders. 93% feel supported by their manager. I love that.”

Challenges in Appointment Setting

Nearly all sales managers (90%) and the majority of salespeople (87%) agreed that securing appointments with prospects has become increasingly difficult over the past five years.

Matt says, “Boy it was never easy. Five years ago, it was not easy, but today it is even harder, and that’s a trend that we have seen year after year after year.

“[Securing appointments] is truly, I believe, one of the hardest things that salespeople have to do.

“To that end, having sales enablement tools, having lead generation resources, having marketing to assist sales, is something that I think is critical.

“Full disclosure: We have an inbound marketing agency, LeadG2, that helps companies and media companies drive revenue through lead generation and sales enablement. I think that every media company ought to be investing time and money and resources into having a world-class lead generation and sales enablement a resource for their teams.”

Not Enough Feedback Being Received on Sales Talents

Less than half (44%) of salespeople reported receiving regular feedback on their sales talents.

“One thing that we know is that people love to hear feedback on what they’re good at,” Matt says. “And all salespeople are good at something, but not all salespeople are good at the same thing, so generic feedback is wasted; it’s lost.

“I would say there’s an opportunity there for sales leaders to lean in a little bit more and really provide feedback on sales talent. If you’re working with a company like The Center for Sales Strategy, you know we have talent analysts capable of getting on a call with your salespeople or a sales leader and providing that kind of information.

“If you’re not working with The Center for Sales Strategy, hopefully, you’re using some sort of talent assessment that allows you the opportunity to provide feedback to the people that you are responsible for growing and developing because, I will tell you, that specific feedback goes a long, long way.”

Follow Along All Season

The insights gleaned from The 5th Annual Media Sales Report offer valuable perspectives on the current state of sales organizations and the challenges they face.

From navigating hybrid work preferences to fostering a culture of excellence and providing meaningful feedback, sales leaders must adapt to evolving trends and leverage resources to drive success.

Be sure to follow along all season on Improving Sales Performance as we address key questions posed by the full findings from this year’s Media Sales Report.



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