Media Life magazine, written for media buyers of all stripes, recently surveyed their readers on the competency of their sales representatives who call on them. The results were not pretty.
"Readers’ biggest complaints include reps who do not do their homework on a client ahead of time, reps who constantly badger them with phone calls, reps who give them incorrect or incomplete information and generally waste their time.
They agree that while there are some great reps out there, the majority of them do not know their stuff.
'Media Life asked, “Have sales reps become more or less competent over the past decade?”
More than half, 54.4 percent, of readers chose this answer: “Less. Many of these young people don't understand the basics of business, much less how to help me and my clients.”
Buyers were quick to supply stories to support that claim.
Noted one reader, “I once received an entire presentation deck/plan done for me that was actually for our client's biggest competitor and not our client, complete with rates. We couldn’t believe it.”
Just over a quarter, 26.5 percent, said that sales reps are about as competent as they were 10 years ago. And just 19.1 percent said they’re more competent.
Further proof of readers’ increased frustration came from another question. Media Life asked readers what percentage of sales reps really know their stuff and are helpful.
Sixty-one percent answered that 40 percent or less know their stuff."
Sometimes media buyers will not tell you what they're really thinking. I think if they did many media salespeople would have a lot to think about.
Click here to read Toni Fitzgerald's disconcerting article on the decline of sales rep competency.