When I was working in sales in the radio and television industries, I thought that the more accounts I had on my account list, the more money I could make. Simple math, right?
Of course, I could never really work all those accounts, but I didn’t have to. They were protected on my account list, and with a little luck, while I was working accounts that had more immediate billing potential, some of those accounts would fall into my lap. Giddy up!
Just so you know, I could prospect and claim with the best of them. I used all the traditional ways of finding prospects, such as going after the Yellow Pages and the newspaper. I also spent time going to construction sites, and I picked up the weekly list of new building permits and claimed all those great new places. The grand openings of those new businesses were mine, and hopefully numerous schedules after that.
So, there the accounts were, claimed on my list. And there they sat, until . . . well, they sat there. Sometimes it worked, but mostly, not so much.
At the same time, I could see a good number of accounts on the lists of my fellow sellers that I knew I could close if I had them on my list. I had a relationship with the advertiser or a great idea, but those other AEs weren’t going to give them up. Some would trade, but not often. Even worse, once they knew you wanted it, they figured the account had potential and would go try to bring it back to life.
So, I usually had upwards of 150 or even 175 accounts, which wasn’t that many compared to some of my colleagues, who had 225 to 300 protected accounts on their lists, those hoarders!
Eventually, I was introduced to a sales management concept called “account prioritization” (or strategic account management, aka SAM), which required us to limit the number of protected accounts on our account lists. All the rest were unprotected and any other seller could claim them.
Well, good grief, how was I supposed to operate with so few accounts?! And second, why in the heck would you let another AE claim MY account off MY list!? The reply was swift and disturbing: “If you want to protect it then work it. If the account is not worth your time, give someone else a shot.”
I thought that was insane — until I tried it. It was like the clouds peeled back and the money rolled in. Focus and account priority became my best friend. Once I shed those accounts that I had stored for so long, I was like a race horse with blinders on — fast, sleek and undistracted, solely focused on the finish line: a fatter checking account.
My peers had to narrow their account lists as well, so no one could wreak havoc claiming by tons of accounts off another’s list. I was still able to snag a few accounts that others couldn’t sell, and I produced with them, as I knew I could.
In the broadcast media sales industry, two companies that really know how to teach account prioritization as part of their overall sales strategy are the Center for Sales Strategy (CSS)” and Creative Resources. They both see tremendous value in the use of a quality media sales CRM properly engaged with their account management systems. There are a few companies out there that can really help implement these systems, including Efficio Solutions and Matrix for Media. I’m not aware of any others in the media sales business who do it better.
The bottom line is that account prioritization can be daunting and scary until you step out on the ledge and dare to save time, work more efficiently, let some accounts go, and focus your way to a much higher level of effective selling and a lot more cash in your pocket.
Thinking about investing in a CRM for your media sales team?