Q&A: How Greeley Tribune Successfully Implemented Sales Training for Their Team

by Liz Crider Huff Second Street

Liz Crider: How did you decide which courses to take?

Bruce Dennis: We have been integrating promotions into what we do at a faster pace and with more frequency this year. However, we realize there is more money to make, but also that we have sellers who need that training to take it to next level.

LC: What teams are participating in the training?​ The entire sales staff? Just the digital sellers?

BD: The entire sales staff of about 11 sellers.

LC: Did you kick off the training as a group and have the reps finish the course on their own, or did you handle it differently?

BD: Yes, we kicked off 3 weeks of training on promotions. Two of those weeks I assigned homework for the sellers, with follow up discussions and brainstorming afterwards at our weekly sales training meeting. We completed the Contest Sales and Deals Sales courses.

LC: What was the expectation of the salesperson in terms of when the course needed to be complete?

BD: Each rep was given the assignment to complete the Contest Sales course over the course of 7 days, to be completed and discussed at our next training meeting. Then we did the same thing for Deals Sales course. They each had one week to complete it and bring their takeaways and questions to the group as a whole.

​LC: What ​motivated you and the GM to get more team members involved in getting trained in promotions?

BD: We realized that if our sellers are not confident with promotions, they either will not sell promotions, or won’t sell them effectively in an integrated approach. We saw the need to get the reps trained to build their skills with the different types of promotions and how to sell them.

LC: ​What was different about Promotions University compared to other online training options? What made the reps like it more?​

BD: ​It’s just very well put together with a lot of time and thought going into the slides. Other courses we have done seem to drag on for 10-15 minutes per module while not providing anything more than a person talking to you. But in Promotions University, every slide could essentially be screenshot and filed away to use later. They were that relevant.

LC: What in the Deals Sales course was new or different and how are you implementing it in the field?

BD: The ideas revolving around cards were very eye opening for most sellers, as cards are typically not thought of as much as other promotions. Doing a card around holidays like Valentines Day or a Golf Card in the summer are two ideas (among many others) that we will start kicking around and possibly developing. Other than that, I think targeting the best selling categories (such as spas and restaurants), and emphasizing the the upsell opportunities that are there for each deal are key for us moving forward.

LC: How has selling promotions to advertisers gone for you in the past? Do you approach advertisers with specific goals in mind for the promotion – lead gen, foot traffic or social media growth for example – or is it more positioned as a branding opportunity?

BD: In the past, it has mostly been as a branding opportunity and a way to increase foot traffic. With that being said, we always try to do a complete needs analysis before recommending deals as a solution. At times, it is something we add to a campaign as a way to kick off or end a big promotion, while other times it is being sold as a unique opportunity outside of an integrated campaign.

​LC: What other ideas have come from the training that you and your team plan to put into practice?

BD: I personally will be using a Promotions Calendar for the year, and that is already filled out and ready to roll. I also brainstormed new ideas (with the entire team) to implement moving further, both for individual clients and new promotions to run overall as a company. Other than that, sellers will be concentrating on the resources they have and the new skills they have gained from the training to plan and integrate promotions into their campaigns they recommend to clients. Those will be developed further with the sellers and their managers.

Plus, one of our sellers was motivated by the Promotions University trainings to build two promotions for November and December – a Shop Local Sweepstakes with multiple local advertisers and a 12 Days of Giving Sweepstakes – for a local mall. In her words:

“I would say that my motivation to run these two promotions is a result of training—I’ve learned a lot of really valuable tools and tactics for running successful campaigns and wanted to implement what I have learned into a great solution for clients.

I think the training showed me just how effective and ROI-centered promotions can be.”

These two promotions have generated $6,000 and were incremental spends on the part of the advertisers. And that’s just in the first month since implementing training!