Sabiha Tudesco, Tibrio’s Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), is a powerhouse strategist on a mission to ensure the company's innovations produce powerful, cutting edge profitability for key stakeholders and clients alike.
Fifteen years of high-stakes, performance-based media sales is what readied Tudesco for her current role, but even with all her fast-paced experience, Tudesco still finds Tibrio a daily challenge. “It is very fast moving here,” she says. “You need to adapt and pivot quickly. We are constantly testing new technologies and strategies so that we can best serve our clients. It makes for a very busy day.”
The role of CRO is a natural progression for Tudesco, who cut her teeth in publishing sales. “I love being responsible for everything that touches money within the company,” she says.” I have gotten to know what makes each department excel and am working to push revenue-generating opportunities all day, every day. Luckily, we have a lot of them.”
What can you learn from Sabiha Tudesco? We asked her to explain the five most important lessons she’s learned about sales so far.
Lesson #1: Cold Calling Is NOT Dead And Serves Many Purposes
The human aspect of selling has gotten lost through the years and I've learned that although many people prefer to communicate via email and social media, making a connection with someone over the phone can go a long way. It allows you to establish and build a relationship in ways that are otherwise impossible.
Block off time in your calendar for cold calling and stick to it. The more you hear yourself speak, the more confident you'll be with your pitch and the stronger you'll be at selling!
I have seen more than a 90 percent success rate in scheduling a meeting or web conference when I’ve called, spoken to someone and/or left a message and followed up with an email. It shows that I’m diligent, have strong follow through and believe that our products can help their companies.
Also, as leader who’s been responsible for producing new business and managing a team, I feel that when my team hears me on the phone, it creates excitement, positivity and pushes them to follow the same calling practices because they see it works.
Lesson #2: Don’t Accept The Word “No.”
Overcoming sales rejection can be a real challenge for some people. I have never been the type of person that will accept the word “No” or the phrase “Not interested,” especially after I've built and maintained a relationship with an organization. If a proposal gets denied, I keep pushing and never give up.
I look at every sales rejection as a learning opportunity; I explore the conversation to identify what went wrong, what went right and what I could have done differently to close the deal. Why did they say no? Was it pricing? Do they have preferred partners? Is it the product? I ask for honesty and transparency when a decision is made. I typically try to combat the “No” when I can and always ask if/when there’s a chance for us to be reconsidered at another time.
I strive to maintain a relationship with that individual/organization by checking in often. It is imperative to stay in the loop should there be a need for our product and/or services down the line.
I know that sometimes the source of a rejection isn't related to anything that I did so I typically ask for transparency when a decision is made; I can't improve my sales if I can't identify why a pitch failed.
Lesson #3: Always Prospect
Prospecting allows you to be in-the-know on which brands are buying media and which channels are working for them. If you see a brand being sponsored in an email newsletter, then email traffic most likely works. If I see a brand spending media dollars on display or social, I’ll highlight this in my outreach and focus on the brand’s needs and goals outlining how we can help. When I’m contacting a brand that I found through prospecting, more than 75 percent of those companies have agreed to test with us. Prospecting gives me knowledge, keeps me up to speed on my competitors and is a great lead generating tool.
Ultimately, it's my job to tell a story and build a vision. Prospective clients want to hear HOW you're helping others like them and what you can do for them.
Lesson #4: Listen To The Client
In order for us to deliver on what the client needs, I need to ask questions and listen. During my first series of discussions with a potential client I ask a lot of questions, understand pain points, get to know the decision maker and their personal goals/responsibilities at their organization. I also try to get an understanding on the longevity of the opportunity. Then I plan and propose a test that provides the best overall value for the potential client. Throughout the planning, execution, and post launch process I continue to stay in communication with the client to ensure that we’re meeting their needs by scheduling weekly, bi-weekly and/or monthly check-in calls so I can understand how our product/services are performing for them. From there, my team and I continue to optimize, fine tune and scale.
Lesson #5: Don’t Waste Time On The Wrong Client
In the information gathering stage, it’s important to get an understanding on the size of any opportunity as well as the experience level of the client working with us. If the client doesn’t have to potential to scale, or is just dipping their toe in the water with digital media, I tread lightly and manage my time wisely. There have been many times when I think an opportunity is going to be huge, but the opportunity has just been a major time suck. Look for signs! If you’re dealing with an agency, ask to join calls with them AND the brand so there’s no loss of information, if your client has a gmail or yahoo address, then they probably won’t be spending large dollar amounts with you, if a client doesn’t have the right KPI in mind, then pass. You want to have the best chance for success and working with the wrong client is a waste of time. You’ll find yourself frustrated and waste your team members’ time as well. Be aware and say “no” to an opportunity if you feel it’s headed in the wrong direction.