From Hanging Banners To Running Sales Departments

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On Thursday, September 22 at the Radio Show in Nashville, Radio Ink magazine will be introducing the industry to radio’s most successful Sales Managers, General Managers, Digital Sellers, and Account Executives. Thanks to the Radio Advertising Bureau, we are able to recognize these industry greats every year with awards named in honor of Wayne Cornils, who worked for the RAB for many years and was one of radio’s greatest ambassadors.

The Radio Wayne Awards are the only industry awards that recognize those people who are in the trenches, responsible for bringing in the revenue for the industry they love, all over the country. Over the next month we will be recognizing finalists from all of our categories so you can learn just how they became the best at what they do and how they represent the industry. One of this year’s finalists is Beasley Media Group General Sales Manager and Interactive Sales Manager Jenna Land. Beasley D.O.S. Billy Grooms tells Radio Ink Jenna is charismatic, a leader, intelligent, and disciplined. “Her passion is contagious as well as her humor and abilities. As a former winner (1995) of the Radio Wayne Award, I see the talent in her as she brings in the new generation of radio/media talent.”

Jenna Land is a 14-year radio veteran. She started with CBS Radio in Charlotte. And, as she explains to Radio Ink in our Radio Wayne interview, she remembers the first day of her career as if it were yesterday.

Land: A youthful search for “fun and adventure” led me to launch my radio career 14 years ago, but I remember it as if it was yesterday. As I pushed the elevator button to go to the third floor for my interview where (at that time) CBS Radio Charlotte was located, I happened to look over and see none other than LL Cool J! I stood in complete shock as I watched him breeze through the lobby and right into a studio for a live on-air interview. Fate had just played out like a movie before me, titled: ”Local girl meets Superstar.” I knew I wanted to be in the industry that connected the two. I spent the next two years seeking more “fun and adventure” in the promotions department. I discovered that “fun and adventure” involves a lot of hard work! I hung thousands of banners, spent countless hours in the heat giving out station swag and interacting with passionate listeners before realizing, “I have sales skills, a growing family, and a mortgage.” So, for growth reasons, I moved into a sales position. I still worked countless hours, but we know compensation can be such a practical motivator.

In my role as an Account Executive I learned the craft of a sale. It’s really a conversation about a pain and a solution. After seven years, the opportunity to join the management team arose. Truth be told, I was passed up the first round and the position was given to a peer. That experience left me disappointed yet determined. I decided that a “chance” at a dream job doesn’t happen twice. However, hard work and knowledge can pay off! So, I started reading, going to networking events, and sought out a mentor. The next time the management position opened up I went for it with confidence. I channeled “fun and adventure” into “funds and adventure.” I had invested in making myself better. Now, almost six years later, I have a great track record, having served in management as a General Sales Manager as well as the Digital Sales Manager for my seven-station Charlotte cluster.”

Radio Ink: What attracted you to sales and management?
Land: My attraction started when I observed how my first manager could motivate someone. I had a passion for radio and the localism, but translating that into sales took a great leader. The GSM that I worked for first took the time and energy to learn what motivated me and used that motivation to push me to succeed. Because of that, I pushed myself to perform at my best. I started looking into myself and asking the questions “Could I motivate someone to a higher platform?” “Could I lead my industry in growth?” “Is the ‘dark side’ really that dark?” When more questions started to arise, so did my intense desire for growth.

Radio Ink: What is the key to being a successful Sales Manager today?
Land: I realized with experience that there is not just one key needed, but an entire key ring! A few I keep on my ring are: never let emotions cloud your judgment, make checklists and list your challenges. Then, list how you plan to overcome those challenges. Constantly push yourself by setting personal goals by day, week, and month. Find a mentor. Always ask questions. Learn all about two important groups of people in the radio station building: your on-air talent (the best product you have) and your Account Executives (the best shot you have at hitting your goals). On any given day, many challenges arise. But, I’ve learned that the root of all challenges is people. Knowing how to find the root will usually get you the answer.

Radio Ink: Give us an example of a success story you’ve had with a seller or client over the past year.
Land: I have an Account Executive who was assigned to my team last March. The AE’s billing and commission were low and it looked as though the AE’s radio career was not going to continue. In my first one-on-one meeting with this AE, I learned a great deal about their passion for this business and I discovered the presence of a “hidden” outgoing personality and a true desire to win. What I found was this AE had not been properly trained or given the tools it takes to succeed in this business. I decided to try and reboot this AE from the ground up, which meant hours of one-on-one training and confidence building. I told this AE that this was the year we were going to “turn the leaf over” and start fresh. Now, almost nine months later, this AE is the second-highest biller on my team and a new-business closer. I awarded this AE with a “leaf necklace” from me as a reminder that with hard work and desire you can always turn the leaf over. To look back on that journey, I can say with confidence that this Account Executive was a case of an outstanding radio professional that just needed someone who could help them thrive with great leadership.

Radio Ink: Describe the perfect relationship between management and salespeople.
Land: The perfect relationship between management and salespeople is a real one. A relationship built on mutual respect, honesty, and dedication for and from both positions is necessary. When I look at motivating sellers, I also find great motivation in them. I see them prosper, close business, and become savvy salespeople who love the business.

Radio Ink: How do you educate yourself so you are always on top of your game?
Land: We can never learn too much and I try to learn something new every day. I place a high importance on this point, as staying focused is hard when the shuffle of the work week begins. I do two specific things to keep me accountable in this area:
1) I read sales books and discuss them with my sales team in our weekly meetings. This allows me to not only read and absorb new information, but also apply it to our industry by discussing it with my team. I am currently reading Trump’s The Art of the Deal. Regardless of political affiliation he is a fascinating and proven successful sales giant.
2) I mentor college students in the Professional Sales class at Appalachian State University. While the goal of this mentorship is for students to learn from me, I always take away great knowledge from them. I keep on top of current digital trends (emerging streaming apps like Jango, Spotify, and Slacker Radio), apps (Pokémon Go, anyone?), and emerging categories for business development.

Students are our future. Therefore, by investing in them I feel as though I am investing in radio’s future. It makes me feel more energized about radio thinking about how it affects the next generation. I feel like the sky is the limit. Somehow, through helping and mentoring others to grow, I might have found even more “fun and adventure” in this radio job, after all. And that’s what I call a great career.

Send Jenna a congratulatory e-mail on being a Radio Wayne Award finalist at [email protected]

Radio Wayne Sales Manager Finalist (WIP Philadelphia) Vince Gambino
Radio Wayne Market Manager Finalist (Federated Media) Jim Allgeier
Radio Wayne Market Manager Finalist (CMG Tampa) Keith Lawless

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