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Sales Team of the Year

By The Drum | Administrator

April 27, 2007 | 9 min read

Let’s set the scene. Last year, you win every category you’re nominated for; including an individual accolade and the top award. You’re the envy of your peers and you’re on your way to Ikea for a brand new trophy cabinet. Can it really get any better? Well, perhaps, but only if you return twelve months later and achieve a similar level of success.

That’s exactly what happened with The Daily Telegraph, board sweeping winners from the Media Sales Team of the Year 2007 awards.

The paper won five team awards, including the overall Sales Team of the Year accolade, and proudly witnessed Darren Johnson retaining Media Sales Person of the Year.

So what’s contributed to The Telegraph’s continued success?

The results indicated that the team reacted to the tough marketplace with enthusiasm, creativity and credibility; displaying commitment to challenges by continuing to invest in the team both in Manchester and its headquarters in London.

Commenting on the win, Gary Frielick, sales director for the paper, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have retained these prestigious awards. They are an indication from your customers that you are doing a good job.

“I believe we have again raised our performance and continue to improve our service. We have made it our business to understand in detail our client’s business objectives. You can only then offer bespoke integrated media solutions when this has taken place.

“Due to their efforts, my team continue to grow our market share by pursuing and winning new non core business, not just for The Telegraph, but for the Quality Press Marketplace.”

And The Telegraph wasn’t the only team receiving awards for commitment to the market and continued success. Other winning teams included Sky, GMG, JC Decaux, BBC Magazines, The Guardian, Manchester Evening News, Media Force and Guardian News & Media Display.

With the awards proving that a host of sales teams in the north are doing something right for their clients, we decided to let them explain how they go about achieving outstanding results. Here, the big winners from the night offer pointers on how to create a successful team and how to ensure it stays that way.

What is the key to running a successful sales


“The key to running a successful sales team is to employ people who bring different skill sets to the team, but have one key quality which is that ‘Customer is King’. You have to ‘service them to death’ and take nothing for granted. There has to be clarity in what is expected of them, give them autonomy to make decisions and keep it simple.”

Gary Frielick, sales director – display, The Daily Telegraph

“To provide an open and honest supportive culture where commitment, hardwork and innovation are rewarded. individuals within the team are treated as just that – individuals, with diverse and complimentary skill sets! They have a high degree of autonomy and are trusted to deliver the best results for our clients. A good team feels empowered to provide the best possible service and build great client relationships, because they want to. I know my team enjoy the job that they do and believe in their brand – and it shows!”

Michelle Turner, classified sales manager

“The quality of the staff and empowering them to manage their portfolio of clients as if they where running their own business.”

Graeme Hughes, regional sales manager, JC Decaux

“Leading everyone towards a common goal so that each individual feels ownership for the part they play.”

Richard Roycroft, team head, Manchester Evening News

“A successful sales team starts and ends with the people – so much of what we do is based on our relationships with our agencies and their clients, our knowledge of their business and the marketplaces in which they operate, and of course of our medium and the media landscape, all of which comes through our people.”

Helen Walledge, team head, GMG

“Undoubtedly [the key is] having good sales people. If you know and trust that everyone on the team is doing the basics you and the team can focus on developing the exceptional stuff. I am very lucky in that I have 5 of the best on my team.”

David Downs, head of advertising, BBC Magazines

“Recruiting the right people, then providing a supportive and creative environment that allows the team to develop great ideas.”

Tony Bowley, northern sales manager, Guardian news and media

What’s the best way to keep your sales team


“Money helps! But we also find that in this ‘time poor age’ that an extra half day holiday here and there for over achievement really incentivises the team.”

Graeme Hughes

“The best way to keep your sales team motivated is to make them feel valued, respected and challenged. If that fails, pay them well!”

Gary Frielick

“By giving them clear goals individually and as a team and instilling a deep understanding of the importance of these in line with the rest of the business. Oh a decent bonus helps as well.”

Richard Roycroft

“Aside from the usual financial rewards for sales people, it’s key to make sure they feel valued personally and that they are developing their professional skills. We consider training an important part of our business. Keep staff focused on the end goal and believing in their own ability to achieve that. At GMG Radio success is always recognised and rewarded through a number of schemes within the commercial teams.”

Helen Walledge

“Sales people are generally very target driven. It is therefore important to create working practises and the environment that best enables them to achieve their goals.”

David Downs

“Having great products helps! Allowing team members to make mistakes, and learn from them, comes a close second. Ultimately everyone is motivated differently – so treat your team members as individuals.”

Tony Bowley

How do you ensure you hire and retain good

sales staff??

“Through creating an environment were success is acknowledged. We all strive for the financial rewards but never underestimate the power of a good old pat on the back.”

Graeme Hughes

“Good staff will only stay with a business as long as they are well rewarded and continue to enjoy doing what they do! In my experience I have found it is not just about the money and recognition, but how an individual is treated, the pride they have in their brand and what they get out of the job – we work hard and play hard – together, and that is vital.”

Michelle Turner

“Recommendations are always a great indication and once you get someone good it’s about keeping them challenged.”

Richard Roycroft

“As I’m sure with any media organisation, recommendation from within the industry is highly regarded as a benchmark for potential employees. We believe in nurturing talent but of course it then becomes a challenge to keep these people. Make sure staff have their own development path mapped out for them as well as a group one, make them feel valued, strive to ensure they are set fresh challenges and don’t get stuck in a rut. If staff are happy and motivated then you’re more likely to hit your targets.”

Helen Walledge

“Word of mouth; good people tend to get talked about. Also media owners in the north tend to meet, socialise and work together with fellow media owners and you get to know who’s good.”

David Downs

“Hiring the right people is all about understanding the organisational culture and spotting individuals who will thrive in it. Retaining the best sales people stems from recruiting the right talent, then creating an environment that rewards and celebrates success. But you need to keep challenging good people by constantly developing the products to stimulate them.”

Tony Bowley

How important is the sales team to any media-

owning organisation??

“Of course as a commercial business, a sales team is pretty crucial. No-one works for free these days! But it’s hugely important that they have an understanding of the product they are selling, and to us that means the programming. Sales teams have to work very closely with the editorial teams these days and creativity is as important as having a great sales technique.”

Helen Walledge

“They are the life blood of the organisation, you can have the best product in the market but it matters none without the best people to take it to that market.”

Graeme Hughes

“Any business is only as good as its’ sales team and media is no exception. It is the life blood of any organisation and makes the difference between success and failure. There are lots of order takers in the industry, but not many good, proactive sales people.”

Gary Frielick

“Without a successful sales team any media organisation will struggle to survive in the current media climate.”

Richard Roycroft

“Whatever your business model it is vital to have a team that can maximise revenue streams. They are the eyes and ears of an organisation feeding back market reaction to new products or developments as well as info on competitors. They are also at the front line in delivering the perception, profile and understanding of a company to the market.”

David Downs

“Don’t forget why we’re here, and that’s to finance the creation of great content for our readers, delivered through multiple platforms. The better we perform as a team, the more resources we have to plough into our content and channels. At the Guardian, we have an incredibly strong culture that runs through the whole business, and it’s really important that our sales team embraces that culture whilst offering expert advice to help our customers make more telling media investments.”

Tony Bowley


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