In 2023, Mediaweek announced the Sales Team of the Year, an initiative to highlight some of the high-quality work done in the industry.
Each month, a media sales team will be selected by a rotating panel of judges as the nominee for that particular month, culminating in a final set of nominees by the end of the 12 months. The judges will be assessing each team on criteria such as proactivity, strategy and execution, and client and agency relationship management.
The nominees will then all go into the running to be named Mediaweek’s Sales Team of the Year.
The winners rounding out 2023 are News Corp Australia’s New South Wales sales team.
Mediaweek caught up with Danny Lavell, News Corp’s general manager, key accounts, agency, direct NSW, client partnership.
Reflecting on how busy the past year was for the NSW sales team, Lavell laughs “It’s always on for us.”
“We’re a big, scaled business, so we’re getting through a lot of volume, and NSW is a powerhouse that really leads the way in terms of adoption, innovation, how we evolve our sales solutions, and how we change as our business is continuing to light up the digital space.”
Driving these results, Lavell points to several factors including data and the culture that has been created – something that “hasn’t happened overnight”, but is now a core feature of the team.
“Our NSW sales team has done a really good job of going to market and offering agencies and clients bespoke solutions across environments that have decent scale amongst them. Data is definitely key to our offering – we’re very fortunate at News Corp to have data that helps us find solutions for clients that others can’t.
“We’ve got a very smart team. They’re very young, and their adoption of certain digital products and innovation is brilliant. There’s a high-performance culture that’s running through the team – there’s a want to win, and there’s a want for winning the right way.”
Of course, sales teams can’t do it all by themselves – as Lavell says, “they need help, they need support, and they need a bit of luck, but it certainly helps when you’re working in a strong organisation.”
Backed by News Corp Australia’s wider business, there will be no lack of talking points for the NSW sales team to take to market in 2024.
“We have a big year ahead with D_Coded and being an official partner of the Olympics,” said Lavell. “We’ve got news.com.au, we’ve got The Australian’s 60th birthday. It certainly helps sales teams when you’ve got the backing of readership in print publications being up, and there’s a lot to celebrate at News Corp. For a sales team, it’s really nice to have a good, healthy product.”
For those already working with the NSW sales team, retaining clients comes down to the fact that “the team cares about their clients’ revenue, they care for the outcomes, and they take responsibility for the outcomes,” said Lavell.
“Execution is probably one of the biggest things facing sales teams – when you promise something, you’ve got to deliver on it. You don’t get a lot of chances nowadays, and the one barometer that showcases execution in really clear ways is churn. And if you are not executing, you are churning.
“Lou Barrett tells me this all the time, and I’ve taken with me: Who is going to buy twice what hasn’t worked once? That is something that is ingrained in the NSW sales team – they have to make sure that they deliver and execute.”