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Sales team of the year

By The Drum | Administrator

March 30, 2004 | 11 min read

Viacom Outdoor has been voted the Northern Media Sales Team of the Year by media buyers in centres such as Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle. Last year the team came a close second. However, this time round they wrestled the crown from Carlton to take the top spot.

This year over 100 media buyers - selected by the media sales houses themselves - were invited to take part in the survey.

Questionnaires were sent asking them to rate the teams that they deal with across four criteria, Helpfulness, Innovation, Understanding of Buyers’ Needs and Negotiation Skills. This information was then collated by the Adline editorial team to reveal the winners.

As always, the review was a hard-fought battle between the North’s various media sales teams, with each category revealing close scores. However, emerging triumphant at the top of the winners’ table was Viacom Outdoor, which this year manages the impressive feat of not only retaining its Outdoor Sales Team of the Year title but also scooping the overall award as the North of England Media Sales Team of the Year.

Viacom was rated as the most helpful team by buyers, as well as one of the most innovative, with a firm grasp on what buyers need and how to give it to them.

Elsewhere in this year’s review there has been a lot of change since 2003, with a new winner in every category except Outdoor. One of the biggest surprises occurs in the Radio table, with newcomers GMG taking the top slot after only 12 months in the game, while tables such as Television, National Press and Magazines all see recent high-scoring teams push forward to win the day.

Adline would like to congratulate all the winners in this year’s review. At a particularly difficult time for the industry these teams have clearly been pulling out all the stops to make sure not only that revenues continue to come in but that media buyers and their clients are given the absolute best service.

National Press Display

Last year’s winner, the Telegraph Group, is pushed down to second place this year as the Metro team rises from third place in 2003 to take home the National Press Display title.

It was a close fight this year, with the Telegraph Group outperforming the Metro in the Helpfulness and Understanding categories, while the Metro narrowly managed to win out in Innovation. The deciding factor this year was the Metro team’s skill in negotiation, which earned it a huge 7.9 score and pushed the total just that little bit higher than its rival.

Another improvement this year is Media Link, which storms up the table to number three with impressive scores in Helpfulness and Innovation. The team, which represents the Independent, has clearly been working closely with its clients to give them something different to its competitors.

Fourth place is shared by the Daily Mail and its sister paper the Mail on Sunday. The position marks an improvement from last year for the Daily Mail, which has scored particularly well for Helpfulness and Negotiation

National Press Classified

A dramatic change in the Classified table this year sees the Telegraph Group move from fourth to share the top spot with the Daily Mail. Both teams were very impressive in their Helpfulness scores and, while the Innovation scores dipped slightly, were also on form when it comes to Understanding their Clients’ Needs.

Lagging behind in third place is the Mirror Group, whose high score in Helpfulness was let down by a particularly poor showing in the Negotiation category. It will be interesting to see whether either of the top two teams in Classified will be able to push that little bit farther ahead during 2004 to knock their rival into second place.

Regional Press

This year has seen a big change in the Regional Press table, with last year’s winner, Media Link, being pushed right out of the top five by teams such as Newsquest and Amra, who have blazed up the rankings to take the top two places.

The Newsquest team has scored very well across Helpfulness, Innovation and Understanding, building up a head of steam that couldn’t be diminished by a slightly lower performance in Negotiation. Tony Steenson’s team, bolstered by the arrival of former Scottish Media Personality of the Year Kevin Gallagher, has clearly been hard at work in the difficult marketplace, and deserves a great deal of praise for not only winning the Regional Press category but emerging with a clear lead.

In second place, Amra has been impressing media buyers with its helpfulness and ability to understand the needs of the buyers themselves and their clients. Interestingly, despite scoring lower across the first three categories, Amra emerges as a better negotiator than table leader Newsquest.

Another improvement from last year’s review is the Manchester Evening News, which moves up a place to third position, while the Scotsman sits close behind in fourth. Both teams have scored well in Helpfulness and Negotiation but are let down by a lack of Innovation in their selling.

Media Sales Network retains a place on in this year’s table, dropping from second last year to fifth place in 2004.


After two years in a row as the Magazine Sales Team of the Year, it was beginning to look like the BBC Magazines team was invincible.

This year, again, the team scores very well, but is just pipped to the Magazine Sales Team title by National Magazines, who jump up two places from third last year to the head of the table. Natmags has performed well across the board, but it was the team’s excellent negotiation skills that proved the deciding factor, and the difference between first and second place.

A look at the individual scores reveals just how close a call the Magazine table is this year, as the BBC team outperforms Natmags across almost all categories. The team was especially praised for its Helpfulness and Innovation, with a strong score for Understanding almost, but not quite, taking the team to a hat trick win. A slightly higher score in the Negotiation category next year could easily put the BBC Magazines team back on top.

In third place is a dramatic improvement for the Media Consultancy, which earns a place in the top five magazine sales teams, largely due to a solid score in the Helpfulness category. Though let down a little in Innovation, the team’s Understanding of Buyers’ and Clients’ Needs scored well, and allowed the team to edge a little ahead of IPC and the Publishing Consultancy, who share fourth place.

IPC maintained a consistent score across all four categories in this year’s review, with both Helpfulness and Innovation threatening to push the team higher up the table in future, while the Publishing Consultancy scored particularly well in Helpfulness and Understanding, dropping back slightly in both other categories.


The Outdoor table claims the least movement from last year’s sales team review, with the top three slots occupied by the same teams.

Viacom, the overall winner of the review this year, has now been top of the Outdoor table for three years in a row, an impressive feat by anyone’s reckoning.

The team maintained the top spot this year thanks to dominant scores in Helpfulness and Understanding, but was beaten by JC Decaux when it came to Innovation and Negotiation skills. Though the gap between Viacom and Decaux is widening year on year, it could still be possible for the second place team to knock Viacom off the top next year.

Meanwhile, Maiden has retained third place, with an improved score on last year. The team has scored well in Helpfulness and Innovation, while a weaker result in Negotiation has helped keep it from knocking on JC Decaux’s door.

Sitting a couple of points behind is Clear Channel. Again, high scores in Helpfulness and Innovation have been let down over the next two categories. Clear Channel will have to improve its scores in Understanding and, in particular, Negotiation if it is to rise up the table next year.


In a year of change for the television industry, Channel 4 has managed to swap places with last year’s winner and attain the Television title once more.

The Channel 4 team outperformed every other television team in both Innovation and Understanding, while also scoring well in the Negotiation and Helpfulness categories.

The Carlton team has just narrowly missed scoring a second consecutive win this year in the last sales team review in which the team will appear. Taking second and third places, respectively, both the Carlton and Granada teams have scored well in this year’s review, with the Carlton team pushing ahead, due to high scores in Helpfulness and Negotiation.

Due to the Carlton and Granada merger, which came into play at the beginning of this year, the 2004 review will be the last time that these teams appear, and it’s been a strong showing for both of them. In future, Carlton and Granada will be replaced by a single ITV sales team and it will be interesting to see how the new team scores with media buyers this time next year.

Fourth and fifth places have also been swapped since last year, with Five and BSkyB still unable to knock the top three teams off their perches.

Five scores well in Helpfulness, with steady scores across the other three categories, while BSkyB is badly let down by poor results in both Helpfulness and Understanding.

With the ongoing change in the television sector, it is very possible that this table will show the biggest changes next year.


Talk about making an impact. GMG Radio was last year celebrating the launch of its sales operation. This year the team celebrates winning the Radio Sales Team of the Year title.

In a move that will please some, and leave a bad taste in the mouths of others, the new GMG team, headed up by former Capital Radio sales head Julian Carter and former Chrysalis head Mark Walker, has stormed right to the top of the Radio table, leaving a clear gap between itself and second place team, and last year’s winner, Capital Radio.

GMG has been rated highly across Helpfulness, Innovation and Understanding, with a respectable Negotiation score sealing the deal and putting the team firmly in first place. Capital, meanwhile, has also turned in a solid performance, rating particularly high in both Helpfulness and Understanding. The team underwent a number of changes throughout last year and it is a testament to the Capital sales people that, throughout this re-shuffle, they have retained a place at the top end of the table.

It will be interesting to see how the team scores next year under the guidance of newly installed sales director Dominic Barker.

Meanwhile, Barker’s former team, Opus, continues to gain on Capital, narrowly missing out on second place. The Opus team scores well in the Helpfulness and Understanding categories and, with just a slight improvement in another area, could be in a position to overtake Capital next year.

Media Link’s Virgin Radio team turns in another solid performance this year, retaining its fourth place slot from last year. Again, the team has narrowly missed out on a rise up the table and an improvement in even just one category could see a higher ranking in 2005.

Finishing the top five this year is Emap, in a marked improvement from last year’s review. Another company that has seen a restructuring of its senior team, Emap, now under the guidance of former IPC boss Sandra Tinker, has evidently improved in the eyes of Northern buyers. With steady scores across all four of the categories, Emap could be poised to climb up the table during the course of the next 12 months. N

Viacom’s winning sales team hit the right note with clients.

The Daily Telegraph’s National Press Classified team, sitting pretty.

Steenson and team: climbing to the top of the Regional Press category.

Metro (left) was on top of the National Press Display category; while (right) Natmags won Magazine poll.

GMG was number one in the Radio charts (left) much to the approval of Julian Carter, director of sales.


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