Your Best Year Ever

After a year and a half of reacting to the continually shifting winds of the pandemic, Cox Media Group has charted a new proactive course for sales teams in 2022. “My message this year is, we're going to be proactive. It is time for us to anticipate what could go sideways, what could go wrong, which could go a little different and to analyze and pivot, said Katie Reid, VP/GM at Cox Media Group’s Jacksonville cluster.

The company launched what it calls a Fast Start plan in November that spells out aggressive but achievable goals, which Reid said remain unchanged despite the surging Omicron variant. The new proactive approach includes one-on-ones with every account executive about their first quarter plans, even drilling down into the number of customer needs analyses that are needed to achieve their goals. “It really is about being proactive and no excuses and it's time for results,” Reid said Wednesday during part one of the Radio Advertising Bureau webinar, “How To Make 2022 Your Best Year Ever.”

Jim Loftus, Chief Operating Officer of Seven Mountains Media, agreed that one-on-one meetings with AEs are more critical now than ever. “Our individual meetings, whether they're in person or virtual, are the most meaningful meetings that they'll have now, maybe the only meetings that they'll have in some cases.” That’s especially true for less experienced sellers, who because of work-from-home policies, may have never experienced the sales “bullpen” culture of hearing how their teammates make sales calls, secure appointments and close business. “That helped a lot of people learn what to do and what not to do,” said Loftus. “And so that individual meeting, that exchange with our team with our account execs, is more critical than ever. It's like their lifeline.”

Gerardo Martínez, Chief Revenue Officer of Lazer Media, stressed the importance of helping sales teams remain focused on long term goals, even during times of tremendous uncertainty. “Ensuring that you have that goal in mind allows you to stay focused on the goals, versus just those daily ups and downs – because they happen,” he said. “Being able to stay nimble, to ensure that you are looking at what those trends are and how you can help better serve your teams is critically important.”

For Nicky Sparrow, Senior VP of Multicultural Sales of iHeartMedia’s Markets Group, one of the biggest lessons from the past nearly two years has been the importance of flexibility in adapting to individual employee’s situations. “Work from home shows up differently for everyone. I have the pleasure of my own space with no interruptions; I'm home by myself all day long. That's not everyone's situation,” she said. “The biggest thing for me is flexibility and learning how to work with each one of my employees to maximize their uninterrupted time.”

Last year’s Black Lives Matter movement sparked a national conversation about social justice issues, which eventually led advertisers and agencies to address diversity and inclusion shortcomings in their marketing efforts. As brands slowly increase their multicultural marketing, Martínez said their biggest concern is getting the messaging right for the specific community they are targeting. For Lazer Media, which operates 40 radio stations in 20 of the fastest growing Hispanic markets in California and Nevada, that starts with extending an olive branch “to focus on the culture, versus in our case the language,” Martínez said. “There's a misconception that listeners will listen to Spanish-language music because they don't speak English. In actuality, it's more of a connection to the music because there's a cultural connection to it.”

As Senior VP of Multicultural Sales, Sparrow said she hears from a lot from clients seeking guidance in reaching diverse audiences in a way that is authentic. Her advice: “We have so many personalities that like, this is their life. This is their livelihood. Lean into your endorsers that speak to this audience every day. And don't just think about race, it's about culture.”

The second part of the RAB’s two-part presentation “How To Make 2022 Your Best Year Ever,” takes place Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 1pm EST. Register HERE.