Readers: Sales reps have gotten worse
Survey: They are less competent than they were 10 years ago
November 5, 2012
A few weeks ago, Media Life received an email from a veteran media buyer lamenting her recent dealings with a sales rep.
The rep was clueless about the buyer, her client and general workplace etiquette.
The buyer opined that the quality of sales reps has gotten worse over the past few years, with the proliferation of internet startups and new facets of traditional media that reps are now called on to sell, often, she noted, without understanding the product.
She wondered if other buyers shared her feelings.
Apparently she is not alone in that opinion. According to a recent Media Life poll, the majority of buyers agree that the overall quality and competence of sales reps have gone down over the past decade.
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.
By comparison, when Media Life conducted this same survey five years ago, only 51.4 percent chose 40 percent or less.
Invited to list their biggest complaints about sales reps, readers noted a number of pet peeves.
Just over half said they are frustrated by reps who “don’t know anything about my client;” 47.1 percent said they call too much; 39 percent said they offer too hard a sell; and 31.6 percent said they try to go over the buyer’s head if the deal doesn’t work out.
Media Life also asked readers what the most annoying thing reps can do in a presentation, and 26.7 percent said it is not being prepared.
Another 25.9 percent said their biggest complaint was being made to sit through a presentation for something that could have been handled on the phone, and 21.5 percent said a presentation that takes too long.
Of course, media buyers are hardly perfect themselves.
Media Life asked reps to weigh in on what most frustrates them about buyers, and 42.7 percent said buyers’ impatience, complaining, “You don’t return my calls for a week, then you want an RFP by the end of the day.”
Another 34.1 percent criticized buyers’ close-mindedness, while another 15.9 percent hate getting last-minute cancellations when they’re already waiting in the lobby.
What we know about how people watch Netflix
Shocker: Most people aren’t on information overload
Another magazine bids farewell to print: Complex
Rachel, your very best tips on resumes, please
It’s launching: Media Life’s Radio Premium Newsletter
Weekend TV: The zombies wrap up their fall run
Coming soon from Hearst, Pioneer Woman magazine
New from Google: New York’s holiday windows
Solid but not spectacular numbers for ‘Hairspray’
New from Facebook, a tool testing for fake news
Programming blog: What’s canceled and renewed
Cable overnights: Big decline for Leah Remini show
Yet another suitor lines up for Time Inc.
- ABC ad sales president Geri Wang retiring
- Lydia Polgreen becomes editor at The Huffington Post
- Laura Henderson becomes SVP of marketing at BuzzFeed
- Erin McPherson becomes head of content strategy at Verizon
- Josephine Livingstone becomes culture writer at The New Republic
- Jessica Lichtenfeld becomes associate consultant at Coleman Insights
- Julie Ginches and Glenn Kiladis join ViralGains
- Stephan Horbelt becomes executive editor at Hornet
- Tony Rock hosting TV One's 'The Game of Dating'
- New York Times Vietnam guide Nguyen Ngoc Luong dies at 79
This week’s broadcast ratings
This week’s cable ratings
This week’s top-rated movies, songs and books
This week’s daypart ratings
This month’s digital traffic data: August 2016
This month’s new media traffic data
Luxury media sales in Chicago
Public relations account supervisor in Atlanta
SEO and SEM manager opening in Pittsburgh
Media supervisor opening in New York
Media buyer/planner position in Madison, WI