CASE STUDIES

Managing the Sales Team

Christopher Chalk
Vice President / Group Publisher — Chief Executive Group

July, 2018


MediaGrowth:
In your role as Vice President of Sales what are your biggest challenges and how have you handled them?

Christopher Chalk:
While managing the sales team I’m also responsible for handling as many clients and prospects as any other team member. With that I have a quota assigned to me as well. Reconciling the dual roles is challenging in terms of time management and toggling between selling, managing and leading.   However, as a rapidly growing enterprise, there are practical benefits to the arrangement. I’m in the trenches learning and adapting with my sales colleagues, which allows me to share best practices with a degree of credibility I might not otherwise have.

I’ve learned how to delegate better and to implement processes that help streamline work. Between Salesforce, one on one’s with each team member, daily team huddles and a weekly sales meeting I’m able to stay pretty well connected.

MG:
How have you made the most positive impact on your company in sales management?

CC: 
On my professional journey I’ve benefited from sales managers and peers who modeled behaviors that resulted in more successful interactions. They had a tremendous influence on my development and growth as a salesperson and it’s my aim to do likewise for others.

It’s on me to set a good example by modeling successful behaviors for our sales team. Joint sales calls, proposal development, prospecting, CRM usage and nurturing client relationships are just a few opportunities to lead by example. It’s also important that I meet or exceed my individual sales quota to signal that my behaviors achieve results and are worth emulating.

In a dynamic marketplace personal development is ongoing so   it’s necessary to revisit our sales approach and our operating assumptions. As I embrace change and change my   behaviors, it becomes easier for others to follow suit.

MG:
How do you help your “seasoned” sales people to sell/learn new products?

CC:
Our entire sales team is comprised of “seasoned” sales people. To get them up to speed we bring in virtually everyone associated with the development of a new product. We communicate why a new product will be a benefit for the CEO community we serve—what parameters exist around the product—and what clients can expect to achieve by adopting the product.

We talk through new product introductions together as a sales team. No one has a monopoly on good ideas to bring a new product to market and we get better buy-in when the entire team participates. Once a new product is launched our learning is ongoing so it’s necessary to refine our approach continuously.

MG:
How do you help your people manage their time with so many products?

CC:
We doubled our product portfolio with the acquisition of  Corporate Board Member  last year so this is an extremely important issue for us.   We are working hard to extract more value out of Salesforce to help our sales team with time management. We continue to fine tune the metrics we capture so our team is better positioned to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right product. We want our team to have activities scheduled in CRM today that will give them their best opportunity to succeed.

Additionally, we created two new sales support positions; Client Success Manager and Manager, Strategic Partnerships. These roles help with client deliverables, retention and ongoing marketing to help free up more time for the sales team to sell.

MG:
What do you see as the future of sales management in B2B Media?

CC:
To take advantage of increased levels of data capture on successful sales behaviors and client preferences, Sales Management in B2B Media, (and in every other industry), will increasingly require analytical skills we typically associate with scientists and engineers.

MG:
Thanks  Christopher!