Sanjeev Kotnala: The power of effective one-on-ones in media sales

24 Aug,2016

By Sanjeev Kotnala


Sales and marketing of media brands have been experiencing a change, they are not comfortable with. ‘whatsapp me’, ‘Let’s skype’ and ‘send a email’ are replacing ‘let’s discuss’ and let’s meet’.


If you seriously believe ‘One-on-Ones’ that were the backbone of legendary media relationship marketing/ selling of yesteryears are threatened by the evolving technology, social media and complexities in life, then you are in for a shock.


On the one side, the frequency of one-on-ones has decreased and the opportunities have minimised, on the other side, the importance of it has only amplified. It is never a waste of time.


Essentially, nowadays, you are rarely getting the desired window to score; hence, you need to be armed with tools to make them work best for you. Wishing things away do not work in corporate life. Sulking and cribbing about the decreased window does nothing but assures you decreased involvement and engagement.


Before anything else, the first step would be the toughest. Stop considering yourself as a vendor, space/timeseller or associate and start looking at yourself, the client and the agency as a team (yes, it is really tough but possible). Suddenly, the perspective changes and there emerges a possibility for you to contribute and work toward a unified objective; focused effective and efficient targeting of the brand’s message ensuring revenue for the client. With this, the solution you present will always be better than the last one. Moreover, they will be honest, transparent and hard working. Your involvement will not stop at the RO (release order), but you will willingly liaison with operations for placement in the most ambient environment suited for the brand. It will culminate with that post-release call to the client post, a step that most fail to complete.


All you have to do is to look for the brand’s interest. Life should not be restricted and biased with where the reading of monthly target meter.

To do so, you need to know and appreciate what makes the client have a sleepless night, what is the priorities, what insight has given birth to the campaign and how is the client or the agency expecting it to work out?

I am not talking about something new, revolutionary or disruptive. The experts of yesteryears were masters at it, but the current generation is losing the skill.


Maybe it needs you to release the agency and the client from the mundane, pressurised, follow-up, wasteful meetings and replace them with productive, confirmed, formal knowledge sharing co-creation-led one-on-ones.


Create and share well in advance what you would want to learn from them and what you will share. Decide what you are providing and refine it, until the time it starts making sense to the client and for the brand. Instead of sharing issues and problems, try to charge these one-on-ones with positivity, learning and process efficiency enhancers to tackle the issues / problems experienced in past or being anticipated in the future.


This will help you enhance the efficiency of connects. They will make the day-to-day working more effective and efficient. It will prevent rusting of relationship. You will have no reasons to react to the rumours in the industry or play the vicious game of long-tail emails.


One-on-one gives you flexibility to have a microscopic or telescopic view of the relationship. It is possible for you to define the depth of the vision you are comfortable with. This formalised interaction can help cushioning the unspoken Power-Gap between client-agency and media.


Stop one-on-one from becoming a ritual that is ticked off in your KRA / KPI or ‘to-do list’. Ensure that the parties involved to have something to share and learn. Something valuable is traded for the time invested in it. And most importantly there is a conclusion or future steps agreed upon.


The real success of effective one-on-one is when the client or the agency instead of dreading them, start looking forward to these interactions. Do send that small bullet list of discussion- agreement and follow up points as the foundation and reference to the next one-on-one.


The semi-formal setup adds to the success of one-on-one, but primarily it is still about the content, that is shared and discussed. It will help differentiate and strengthen the feeling of interdependence. Properly used and leverage, these can help you becoming the first port of call for your category of media for the client and the agency. And that is what you always wanted.


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