This May Sound Like Roger’s Old Guy Rant But I’m Gonna Spit It Out Anyway.

Higher Character

At PCS we do a lot of recruiting for digital media sales people and sales managers. Almost always the hiring manager will give little or no consideration to someone who started out selling traditional media and then made the conversion to digital media. Now, I’ll admit my bias because I was once one of those people but, I believe this is basically a really bad decision. Here’s why.
Back in the day when ads were sold on cave walls, the companies my partners and I worked for spent a fair amount of time and money on training us to be professional sales people. We knew our product and we became really proficient at the art of selling. And, it was an ongoing educational process.
Today we see digital media sales people who know the technology they are selling but have never been trained in the basics of sales techniques and strategies. Their companies either don’t believe in sales training or don’t have the money for it in their startup budgets. Those who work for a site that everybody wants make a lot of money and present themselves as professional sellers. Are they really good, or is it just that they work for a company that’s momentarily hot?  And, unbeknownst to the so-called sellers are crews of geeks feverishly working to replace them with programmatic buying.
It’s been said a good sales person can sell anything. I don’t believe that especially after an ill-fated stint as a car salesman. But, I do believe that a really good, well trained traditional media sales person will easily make the transition to a digital sales pro. The matching of the advertisers needs to the media delivery remains the same basic concept.And, the proof can be found by simply viewing the profiles of the vast majority of today’s digital leaders.
Oh, and there’s one additional hiring flaw that must go away now. It’s that hiring manager “must have” qualification demanding someone with “contacts” that are going to turn into immediate sales. I’m not sure that was a realistic expectation in the “good ole boy” days of selling and it sure isn’t true now.
I’ve always believed that hard work and enthusiasm covers up a multitude of sins and I still believe it’s true in today’s marketplace. Maybe those who’ve successfully navigated a couple of decades of traditional media sales before moving into digital sales can teach us all something. But first, you must give your next sales stars a chance.

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