How to Succeed in Media Sales. A View from the Top….
What has been your career path?
I started my career in media sales 25 years ago as a classified sales exec on Top Gear Magazine at BBC Worldwide. I was lucky enough to progress within the BBC working in different roles on some of the UK’s best-loved brands, including Top Gear, Match of the Day, Doctor Who, Top of the Pops and CBeebies. The BBC were very progressive in terms of enabling women with children to work flexibly which enabled me to combine being a parent with having a senior ad director role.
A restructure at BBC Worldwide gave me the opportunity to try something new so I started my first role in the digital advertising agency ‘i-level’ as Marketing & New Business Director. Following the birth of my third child, I decided to set up my own consultancy focused on marketing, strategy, recruitment and new business development. Today, I am Managing Sales Director of the Digital Sales team looking after EMEA & India for Lonely Planet, a leading digital travel publisher and the world’s number one travel guidebook brand.
What’s been your biggest setback?
My biggest setback career wise was probably taking time out to have my three children which meant three maternity leaves. To be clear, I wouldn’t have it any other way and it is the best job in the world being a mother. However, it is definitely challenging finding the “working you” again even though you haven’t lost your skills, talent and experience. If anything you have more skills to bring into the work place from experiences of motherhood. I was lucky enough to work for the BBC, who were great, but it is so important that companies find ways to accommodate both work and family life effectively.
What has been the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Firstly, choose an industry or sector you love and feel passionate about. This is something you will have to get out of bed and do every day, choose something that will put a spring in your step. Secondly, always work for someone you admire and you can learn from. I have been incredibly lucky for the best part of my career to have worked for some really talented and inspirational leaders. Everyone should have that. If you haven’t got it, there are other jobs out there.
What do you think it takes to be a successful media sales leader?
In my opinion, the best leaders have both a revenue growth mindset and also a people growth mindset. To succeed, they need to understand the importance of culture and collaboration. The best media sales leaders also lead by example and not only foster an environment where people like working but also clients like doing business with them too.
What top tips would you give budding media sales stars?
- Don’t let fear hold you back – step out of your comfort zone. Failure is part of the path to success.
- Treat your profile like your personal brand – believe in yourself, work hard and always do what you say you are going to do
- Be known – get out and talk to people about your brand and attend events to grow your industry knowledge and contacts.
- Always keep learning and growing.
- Work smart – have a strategic approach to key clients, identify quickly where the money is and don’t be afraid to close or ask for the business
- Importantly, be proactive, not reactive and don’t give up!