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Will Women’s Sports Ever Have A Place On Sports Talk Radio?

“Cold calling and prospecting are techniques that should be left in the 1990s where they belong.”

How much do you prospect? If you’re a new rep, probably 80% of your time is spent looking for meetings. Even veterans have to invest 20% of their time in new initiatives and prospects. Without enough prospects who take appointments to buy, we will never hit our budgets.

Hubspot says 72% of companies who have under 50 closing appointments a month will not hit their goals. If the sales staff get as many as 51-100 asks, 85% will HIT their goals. So, how do we find prospects willing to take an appointment?

According to Seth Resler, we ask the wrong people to handle the processs. Resler has worked on-air, as a programmer and is currently a digital strategist with Jacobs Media. He helps radio stations design action plans to combine web, social, email, SEO, content, and lead generation. He also thinks we are going about prospecting all wrong. And, I agree. It is time for radio stations to invest in a Sales Marketing Director, not promotions.

Hire someone who knows where the money is, not the promotions or supplies closet. Consolidate wherever you have to in the station but hire a person who creates leads every month for new business, NTR, and target accounts already on the air. We can save sales jobs if we hire Sales Marketing Directors. Seth has some ideas on station organization, digital lead gen, and where we should be prospecting for clients and shared them with me recently.

JEFF CAVES: How should a radio rep in a mid-size market prospect for new business? In-person or phone cold calling seems to dominate.

SETH RESLER: Radio sales reps should not be prospecting for new business. In the radio industry, a Marketing Director is tasked with growing the audience. This is different from most other industries, where a Marketing Director is charged with attracting new customers. Marketing departments often generate leads to pass to the sales reps. In the radio industry, we don’t have marketing staff on the sales side of the building; instead, we ask our sales reps to be marketers. This is a mistake because sales and marketing require two completely different skillsets.

Radio stations should hire a Marketing Director for the sales team — a completely different position from the Marketing or Promotions Director on the programming side of the building — who is responsible for generating leads for the sales reps. The sales reps should follow up on these leads, not developing their own. Cold calling and prospecting are techniques that should be left in the 1990s where they belong.

JC: What are some examples of how reps can develop digital content to attract new clients?

SR: The Marketing Director should create digital content to attract clients, not the sales reps — though the sales reps can undoubtedly help out. Start by brainstorming a list of questions that sales reps consistently hear from clients, such as “How do I write a great radio commercial?” or “How do I figure out which dayparts are best for my business?” Create content to answer each of these questions. That content can take multiple forms — articles, videos, podcasts, webinars, etc. Don’t be afraid to recycle content by answering the same question in multiple formats.

JC: Where should that content be promoted to gain traction with ad buyers, small business owners, and even office managers who buy or decide who gets to sell advertising?

SR: Google. Radio station tends to devote a lot of their attention to social media and very little to search engine optimization. If you wanted to know how to write a great radio commercial, what’s the first website you would turn to? Probably Google. That’s where this content needs to be.

JC: What has been the success of station sales staff hosting webinars on radio advertising topics? How does it work?

SR: Webinars are a fantastic tool. Start by finding a question or series of questions that potential clients ask. For example, you could write a webinar on “What Advertisers Need to Know About Nielsen Ratings.” Create a slideshow presentation and set up the webinar presentation on software like Zoom Webinar, GoToWebinar, or WebEx.

But the most important part is to find a partner for the webinar. Good candidates are local chambers of commerce, business publications, economic development corporations, hospitality groups, or other industry trade organizations. A good partner is an organization that serves the same people —  local business owners or local marketing directors — but does not compete with your radio station. You also want a partner who has a robust email database that they can use to promote the webinar.

The partner’s organization benefits from the radio station’s webinar content; it enables the partner to provide value to their members or constituents. The station gets value because the partner organization will promote the webinar, attracting attendees from businesses that the station might not reach on their own.

After the webinar, make sure you get the email addresses of everyone who attended. Do not give them to sales reps yet. These are not qualified leads; these are just people who attended a webinar. These people should be added to the sales email database (not the listener email database) and put subscribed to a lead nurturing email campaign. 

“But wait! ” you exclaim, “What’s a lead nurturing campaign and who puts that together?” That’s why you need to hire a Marketing Director.

JC: What can reps do in content or webinar marketing if they do it independently of the stations’ assets? Some reps don’t feel welcome asking others to change how they spend their time working.

SR: The best thing sales reps can do is make the case to their GM and GSM that the station needs to hire somebody whose sole job is to generate leads for the sales team. If a sales rep has strong marketing skills — not all do — they can make the case that their role should be changed to focus solely on lead generation.

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