Media Sales & Buying Relationship Building: Common Sales Faux Pas

Last month, I shared common faux pas from the media planning community. It’s only fair, then, that I counter balance it with the feedback I’ve heard from the sales side. Regardless of which side you sit on, it’s important to realize we’re in this together and we’re interdependent; therefore, let’s make 2014 a more productive, collaborative and successful year.

“You Need it Back by When?

It’s 6pm on a Friday night and you’re closing down after an intense week, yet there it is: an urgent RFP request due Monday at noon and “please include custom opportunities.”

This is a normal occurrence on the sales side. The truth is that the planning side doesn’t get much lead time either and have to have a full media plan baked in a short time, as well. I think we’d all agree that being proactive rather than reactive would save us all these last minute requests. There are a percentage of these requests that are plain oversights – planner forgot to send a vendor an RFP or forgot the plan is due on Tuesday. Whatever the reason, let’s try to limit these circumstances to exceptions rather than make them normal occurrences.

“You Never Return my Calls or Emails.”

It’s true and your calls may be getting screened. If a planner isn’t calling you back, it’s because they are slammed, don’t have any business to talk to you about or they don’t care about what they’re working on. If a planner needs you, they will return a call. Instead, focus on other ways to build the relationship and they will call you back in cases where there is no imminent work. For example, I appreciate any industry information/reports that are sent to me. I’ll feel compelled to, at least, say thank you. Planners try to organize your solicitations to respond to most, even if it’s to say, “No, thank you.”

“You Only Call Us for Favors.”

Hopefully, this is a practice that will subside based on recent criticism. Favors aren’t bad; exploitation is. A solid relationship needs to be in place before a favor can be asked. In other words, don’t ask the rep you never call back for tickets to the Super Bowl.

“We Never Get a Follow-up Response to Our Proposals.”

My experience has been that even a difficult call to tell a vendor that they didn’t make a plan is still better appreciated than no call. With feedback, there is hope of improvement and future business.

“There’s a New Point of Contact Every Week.”

This is particularly true in the digital space and I don’t think will improve in the near future. The agencies need to do a better job of alerting the sales reps of changes. It’s hard to build relationships with revolving doors. As an industry, we need to do a better job at retention overall, but that’s for a different post.

What other common grievances have you experienced on the sales side? Share yours in the comments!

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