Industry Views

Pending Business: Obstacles to Sales Productivity

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imWhat will hurt your chances of sales success more, graduating from a low-ranked college or attending too many inefficient sales meetings?

Not exactly a trick question, but enough to make you stop and think.

Remember when having a top-tier college degree was all that mattered? A recent article in the L.A.Times recalled the classic 1999 study that proved where you received your college degree really didn’t affect your career, except for maybe the networking part, maybe not. The bottom line is you don’t need a degree from Harvard to earn a respectable income as a top seller or manager in the media industry.

On the other hand, attend or lead too many inefficient sales meetings and the result may be a career killer.

The recently released 2023 Microsoft Work Trend Report is a wakeup call for every seller and manager in any business, especially ours. The top five “Obstacles to Productivity” in the report read like a what-not-to-do if you are a leader or hope to lead a sales team in the future. There are even a few warning signs if you are a team member struggling to cope with rudderless sales meetings. Let’s review some takeaways from the report and learn how to right the ship before you take on too much water.

— Goals. Every meeting should have clear, simple, actionable goals presented in an easy-to-understand form. The seller should know exactly what action points to implement to improve performance. Can you check the box?

— Perspired or inspired? Every week I talk to a seller working for one of the larger broadcast groups who feels the ready, fire, aim of product overload. Many radio station sellers can sell anything in any market that belongs to the company represented. Would a sales rep at Home Depot in Florida sell you a snow shovel with the same expertise as a rep in Buffalo? How come the biggest companies in the radio business barely surviving on the NYSE don’t learn from the companies that sell at almost $300 a share.

— Soft sales = more meetings. Seriously? In the age of Zoom, Teams, etc. the 2023 Microsoft Work Trend Report still identified “Too many meetings” as one of the top 5 obstacles to productivity. Can we all just hit the pause button on old-school command and control meeting overload? There is a difference between re-skilling and repeating old material. There is a difference between re-strategizing and re-selling a rejected concept.

The AM radio business is in the emergency room in desperate need of a fresh approach to sales. FM radio could be next. Are you looking forward to your next sales meeting?

Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: Steve Lapa will be moderating the “Generating Revenue” panel at TALKERS 2023 on Friday, June 2 at Hofstra University.