There are times when it’s important to pause and reflect on your professional life. Has your career wandered off its charted course? Is the work you do worlds apart from what you imagined back when you actually had time to dream? Most people have a tendency to get lost in the busyness of the tasks that lay before them. You get a job, start a family and begin weaving together a complicated, often wonderful, sometimes hectic life that leaves little room for imagination, dreams and risk-taking.
Busy people tackle the challenges in the days and weeks ahead rather than mapping out a plan for the coming years. The next thing you know, your career has shaped itself in ways that don’t remotely resemble what you pictured years, maybe decades, earlier. The field of sales within the sports industry presents a rare opportunity—the chance at a career course correction. Each layer of sales offers up fresh opportunities for smart, hard-working people. If you’re willing to take a chance and start anew then you’re bound to find a place in this highly competitive, exceptionally thrilling corner of the business world.
Sales in the sports industry is adventurous, challenging and can offer up a nice payday. It’s an area of sports that doesn’t just pay lip service to action over education and results above experience. More often than not your pay is directly reflected by the amazing work you churn out. If you’re confident in your abilities than sales sports jobs might be for you. Here are some key roles and how they contribute to a well-run sales team.
Business Development Representatives (BDRs) hold a tough but highly valued position within the sales team. These men and women find new business, making scores of cold calls every day to find new potential deals. BDRs are often focused on certain target areas—market size and region most often prevent overlapping prospecting from BDR to BDR. The toughest part? Striking up that initial conversation and piquing enough interested to turn a “lead” into a possible prospect that will grant your company more face time. This demands charm, wit, a fast mind and resilience in the face of failure. The truth is, much like a baseball player, even the best BDR will strike out most of the time. A willingness to fall down and get back up again can make for a successfully wealthy Business Development Representative. What will you do? Well, in the sports industry, this team might be charged with finding potential corporate sponsors and setting up future meetings where full sales pitches will go down. BDRs can also mine valuable ticket sales data to find people that might purchase season tickets, group tickets or suite packages. Talking to those potential customers is one way relationships are built. It’s most often a commission-based job that relies on a large volume of phone calls to find interested fans and corporate sponsors.
An Account Executive takes the prospects that BDRs locate and builds them into quality, long lasting relationships. You’re giving the biggest pitches and closing the deals so your knowledge of whatever product, service or experience you’re selling is paramount. Characteristics like tenacity, preparedness and confidence make great Account Executives. In this role you’ll have sales goals—monthly, sometimes weekly—that are met when you can successfully convince companies to sponsor stadiums, parking lots, pregame and postgame shows and in-game breaks in the action. Or you might work with ticket sales, selling corporate ticket packages, group plans and individual season ticket packages to a fan base that needs help realizing the potential of the team they root for. Once you add a new client to your portfolio part of the gig is to generate new business revenue from them, upselling new services and expanding existing ad buys and other sponsorships. All this relationship building can make for lots of travel—despite the endless amounts of technology at our fingertips those face-to-face meetings, lunches and dinners still close the most deals. You’re a champion of the franchise or business you represent; polish and excellence will bring you the most clients and biggest paydays.
The sales process is a whirlwind of phone calls, sales pitches, schmoozing, handshakes and contracts—deals are usually made in the fast lane. Without a mettle tested Sales Coordinator the strands of twine that make up a deal are never connected from end-to-end causing confusion at the far reaches of the spectrum. Sales Coordinators are expert organizers setting up pitch appointments, tracking the details of each sale and helping make sure sales stays connected with other departments. Reporting is often another major responsibility for someone in this role. The VP of Sales as well as others on the executive staff wants to know past, current and projected sales. The data you input and reports you generate will show off team successes and determine future plans. While you won’t be directly responsible for a sales quota, your work will help your team reach both individual and team goals. Sales Coordinators are essential parts of the team that keep the sales cycle moving and everyone pulling on the same end of the rope.