Top Ten Things Sales People Can Do To Make Our Lives Easier

I often write about the relationship and stigmas of sales reps and agency people. This is not a piece about stereotypes and proof points. Rather, it's a compilation of questions I get asked at least once weekly by several different types of sales folk from large portals to small verticals, ad networks to vendors to email marketing and SEO firms, and just about everyone in between.

So if it helps, cool. If it seems dumbed down, it is. I can only say this stuff really happens. Let's face it: the market is still tough and everyone is scrappy. You are talking to all my competitors and I'm talking to yours. The only key differentiator is, there is waaaay more of you guys than us. Sometimes we need a little breathing room. So here goes, in random order:

  1. If you are new to Interactive media/marketing, don't assume the agency person is. Many may know more about the subject than you. (And yes, they may only be 25 years-old.)
  2. If you've landed the job with no historical data of the agency, start digging prior to going in.
  3. Start with a simple email address to the main client by way of brief introduction. Don't add in your monthly traffic numbers and a bunch of stuff about your site. You may want to let them know you are new, wanting to make sure nothing fell through the cracks, and that you were not sure you had the appropriate names of their employees.
  4. If you try and call for a meeting and leave a voicemail, keep it short and simple. This is the part that scares me most. I only wish I could clip a day's worth of messages and stream them over this article right now. You'd be horrified. Most of the time I am listening to my messages remote. Otherwise, I've got several to go through. Here's what happens the most:
    -Rep calls and speaks their name super fast
    -They go into great detail about traffic, page views, ad opportunities, competitors and the like.
    -Then they mention that they need you to call them back right away because they are planning on making a trip to [insert your city here] in 3 days
    -To top it all off, they ask you to call back to give them a client list
    -They quickly state their number, which you cannot hear
    -What they didn't listen to was: Your voicemail says you are out of the office
    -What they didn't know was: You had no idea your rep was gone and now there is a new guy. They didn't know you loved the old guy. Most off all, they have no idea you are currently doing business with the site.
  5. Ask for a point person (not me) to arrange a meeting. When planning the meeting:
    -Find out if there is anything specific the agency would like to see
    -If there is a particular client you could apply the information to
    -Let the person know if you'll need to connect to the Net, and any other technical needs
    -If you are bringing food in, ask if there is an administrative person you can speak to in order to coordinate. Don't burden the poor planner. S/he most likely has a million things going on as it is
    -Ask if there are directions on the website and for any special instructions to get there
    -Try and get an attendee list from your contact person prior to the actual meeting
  6. When you arrive:
    -Don't be late. If you will be late, call your point person. I'm in an office away from the city. People either come to us first, then go to the city for meetings or come to us last. I think it's safe to say about 85% of sales reps show up late because they don't plan enough time to get out to us.
    -Be pleasant to the receptionist. These people are part of an agency's fabric.
    -If the individuals with whom you are meeting are not ready, ask if you can start setting up in the room.
    -Bring business cards. (Can't believe this is here? You'd be surprised how many people have no cards.)
    -Address everyone in the meeting (not just the most senior-level person).
    -Get the agency people talking. Ask them questions about beliefs and methodologies and not the typical---"Tell me all the accounts you are working on bit."
    -Follow up shortly after the meeting. Send a group message.
  7. Any sort of research you may have will most likely be well received by the agency. I recently had someone that learned we were trying to target a specific market. He forwarded a .pdf of a great study to help me find additional support point. Kudos to him. I meet with him every time I can now.
  8. Respect other's time. If you are late or arrived on time, keep the meeting to the original planned time. There is most likely another group that needs the room you'll be in.
  9. Give the point person some extra attention. S/he is the one who pulled this all together for you. They might not be the most senior person in the room but they know their stuff.
  10. Be conversational. Agency people like to talk and want to build a relationship with you (even though you are a suit).



I could go on but have a limited word count. If you want me to, shoot a message to the Spin Board and let us know.

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