Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

The Diary of a Sales Rep: Rachel Hulse

Peering into Rachel Hulse's daily sales diary from The Tulsa World
With a background in outside sales, Advertising Sales Team Leader Rachel Hulse spends her days training and guiding her six sales representatives at the Tulsa World.

With a background in outside sales, Advertising Sales Team Leader Rachel Hulse spends her days training and guiding her six sales representatives at the Tulsa World. Her team is comprised of two outside territory reps; one rep that works in both inside and outside sales, with a small geographical territory; two inside sales reps that sell Classified ads and Retail Display ads; and, rounding out the team, a recruitment specialist who focuses on relationship-building with local human resources departments and inbound and outbound calls.

Hulse described an average day in the office. The inside sales staff spends about six to eight hours on the phone, equally divided between inbound and outbound calls. They strive to make 200 outbound calls a week, which range from Classified “call backs” to cold calls to gain Retail Display advertisers.

Tulsa World’s outside territory reps spend 8 a.m.–9:30 a.m. in the office booking ads, submitting their creative requests to the graphic artists, responding to e-mail and taking care of daily business. From 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. they are expected to be in the field. At 3:30 p.m., they return to the office to complete a “call report,” which re-caps the days events, and record their mileage. They then, again, book ads, work with creative, respond to e-mail, etc. The outside reps are expected to make 12 to 15 face-to-face calls a day. They also must do two full marketing presentations a month that include: Demographics, Target Audience, Budget Analysis, Advertising Goals and of course, what solutions the Tulsa World and Tulsaworld.com can provide to meet their advertising goals.

Hulse explained that the fast-paced environment at the Tulsa World can make time management a bit tricky, particularly for an outside sales rep. “It can be very challenging to meet the number of required daily calls and still have time to do the office and administrative portions of our job,” Hulse stated. “It is very fast-paced, with sections dead lining constantly…so you feel like you are in a race everyday. However, our job is very rewarding when you have that customer whose ad has really received a great response and increased their sales.”

Hulse took time out of her busy schedule to record a day in her life as the Advertising Sales Team Leader at the Tulsa World…

8 a.m.–8:15 a.m. Check e-mails and respond to them. I received an e-mail back from a customer who wants to pick up and run the same ad as last week. Also received several updated calendars for various premium positions that we have. I also have a question from Accounting regarding a large balance for one of my largest accounts that will need to be paid so that they are off credit hold. (Yikes) They are a big advertiser, and I need them caught up ASAP, I do not want any interruption of their schedule.

8:15 a.m.–8:30 a.m. Reviewed a previous annual contract that we put together with one of my Reps. We have an appointment with him today at 10:00 a.m., and I have recently written several proposals and wanted to review the proposal. This client spent $55,000 last year, and we have really designed a nice proposal for him that makes a great media mix with ROP Display ads, web expanding billboard ads, classified Service Directory ads and front-page Power notes (like post-it notes). This would be such a better use of his advertising dollars.

8:30 a.m.–9:10 a.m. Kick-off meeting to NCAA Tournament. We just found out that Tulsa was awarded the first games of March Madness in our new BOK Arena (Bank of Oklahoma). We are so excited!!!! March Madness is always a nice special section that we do…but now we will have three special sections with various packages available at different investment options for our customers. This is huge, as it should bring in additional $6 million to $13 million revenue to our town. We hope a regional team will make it here, so that will bring in a lot of additional people.

9:10 a.m.–9:30 a.m. Field questions from my two outside reps.

9:30 a.m. Shoot, we have to get on the road…Angela’s appointment (the proposal above) is a 20-minute drive. I gather up various demographic sheets and we fly out the door!

We pride ourselves on truly being ‘sales consultants’ and really listening to our clients and showing them programs that really fit their business and meet their needs.”

9:57 a.m.–10:30 a.m. Whew, we made it on time. This place is a Heat & Air Co. out in the boonies! He liked most of our proposal. He liked the expandable billboards and ROP Display ads. He also really liked to see the demographics. He was a nice guy. He was definitely old school, but I was happy to see his attempt at some online advertising. I think Angela will be ok, and will actually be able to increase his last-year spending.

11 a.m. Arrived back downtown to drop off Angela. I came upstairs briefly to check and respond to e-mail. I printed off two proofs to run out to my client.

11:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m. Once I got to Elephant Trunk, a high-end luggage, leather and gift store, I had to wait on President Shane Lewis to finish some leather embossing on a brief case. Once done, he reviewed the proofs and showed them to owner Joe Norton.

12:30 p.m.–12:50 p.m. Sonic drive thru; 20 minutes for a grilled chicken salad and a Diet Coke—CRAZY! I was supposed to meet Laura Burke at 1:00 p.m. Called Laura and asked to meet at 1:30 p.m. so I could eat my salad.

1:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m. Met Laura; jumped in her car as she sorted out what she wanted to present to Zella’s Boutique. Our front seat, by the way, is like our desk or filing cabinet. It is tough on our Reps when I ride with them because it’s like I’m sitting in their filing cabinet—all organization goes out the window for the most part! We grab the sales sheet and demographics, but the owner was so busy and never stepped away from the customer. Laura decided to leave her card and demographics on the counter, and will follow up and set an appointment. This was a cold call. It has been awhile since Zella’s has run with us.

Next we made calls to an Indian restaurant, a new Asian market and a new consignment store. The owner of the consignment store set an appointment with Laura for next Tuesday to meet about advertising. Laura explained she just wanted to sit down and gain some information (a Needs Analysis) about her business so that she could put together an effective advertising plan that will meet both her needs and budget.

Next we had a meeting scheduled for 2:30 p.m. with Carpet Mart. The owner had quite a personality and we did a Needs Analysis with him. They, too, are new in our market. The owner’s father runs a store about an hour away. He wants us to put something together for January.

Next we went to a Mediterranean Café, where Laura showed a spec ad and talked about our special Entertainment magazine called the “WEEKEND.” She talked about the benefits of being in there because it is how Tulsans plan their entertainment and has a long shelf life. All the ads are also in color. The owner signed up for our New Year’s special. I took a picture and concluded my time with Laura. We made six calls, but I am certain she made at least six calls before I met up with her.

3:30 p.m.–3:45 p.m. Drove back downtown.

3:45 p.m.–4 p.m. I entered my ads in the system, talked to Creative about some ads/proofs/changes.

4 p.m.–4:30 p.m. Met my rep Robyn (inside sales), reviewed her upcoming month of January. I looked at her last-year sales, and we identified accounts that were going to be up or down. For the ones that were down, we brainstormed on what accounts we could pitch certain special sections that we think would/could run to make up the difference. We set up a game plan to get that revenue back.

4:30 p.m.–4:45 p.m. Met with the Credit Department to discuss my large account that has a 90-day balance.

4:45 p.m.–5 p.m. Sat with Monica (my brand new employee) and discussed her day and sales calls.

5 p.m.–5:15 p.m. Planned my day for tomorrow. Usually I stay late on Wednesdays, but my husband has informed me he is working late...I must go get my kids from the babysitter! That was Wednesday!