How do you get into sports? Once you get in, how do you succeed in sports? The short answer is: Demonstrate a strong work ethic, network and build relationships within sports, and exhibit integrity in all you do.
The somewhat longer answer is to read everything on this page. This is the one-stop shop for any and everything you ever wanted to know about sports careers. Enjoy.
Getting the interview in sports
Everything you ever needed to know about getting the interview, how to shine in an interview, and what not to do in an interview. Written by an HR expert, Jeannette Salas, Houston Texans.
My experience with successful sponsorship activation has been lukewarm: Like having one foot in a bucket of cold water and the other in boiling hot. Sometimes we hit it out of the park and other times, well, you get the idea.
Thankfully, I had the opportunity to ask my friends on the All-Star Sponsorship panel and discussion at the Baylor Sports Sponsorship & Sales (S3) annual board meeting what has worked well for them. Thanks to Travis Dillon (The Marketing Arm) for moderating the panel!
1. Integrate the sponsor into the field of play. Matt Brand, Vice President of Partnerships, Houston Astros, explained, “When a hit ball strikes the ‘fowl (foul) poles’ everyone in the stands gets a FREE Chick-fil-A sandwich. This drives traffic and fan excitement!” Another similar example are the foul poles at the Padres’ Petco Park that look like TaylorMade golf drivers. You might even want to hang a Kia automobile over the center of the court like the Texas Legends.
[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”125px” height=”125px” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ][slideshow_deploy id=’3336′][/dropshadowbox]2. Activate via single channels for impact. Greg Grissom, Vice President of Partnerships, Houston Texans: “We ran a promotion for Sonic through a single social media channel (e.g., Facebook) to drive traffic. Fans following the Texans’ Facebook were aware that if the Texans win on Sunday, Tuesday is “Free Slushy Day” at Sonic. The promotion drives secondary sales through increased traffic.”
I’ve found promotions tied to wins and high scores seems to help motivate the team to play better. So, maybe the teams should pay the sponsor for agreeing to do this!
3. Drive retail with the use of the team’s marks. George Killebrew, Vice President of Partnerships, Dallas Mavericks: “Connecting Dr Pepper, Budweiser or Gatorade to case sales in grocery stores to register to win tickets ties two brands together and drives purchases for both!” Using the team’s logo and likenesses always attracts attention in crowded retail spaces.
4. Leverage community support. Jeanne Garza, Director of Corporate Partnerships, San Antonio Spurs: “One of my favorite activation strategies is actually by Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut leveraged their media buys and the goal of giving back to the community. Each January when customers purchase a pizza a portion goes to support the Spurs Youth Basketball League. Both the team and Pizza Hut promote this and everyone wins!”
And we got one more good example from the floor from Steve Flynn.
5. Test-drive. Steve Flynn, Regional Marketing Manager, General Motors: “We integrate marketing and activation at the World Series, Texas State Fair, and other events to do one thing: Get people to take a seat in a Chevrolet and take a test-drive.” Having a singular activation focus that you know results in converting prospects into customers promises a good return on the investment.
Bonus Activation Idea
So, those five are pretty good. Here’s my favorite activation promotion we run at Pizza Hut.
Borrow and build fan passion. We create excitement and gain tremendous fan engagement with the Pizza Hut, “Delivery of the Game” for football and basketball. We deliver pizzas into the stands and the fans go crazy. It aligns with our delivery service and sampling our great pizza. The more that can be given to a variety of sections the better, not just students or the same section each game!
What other ideas do you have? Click the Twitter button below and let us know @BaylorS3, @PizzaHut, #activation.
A commission plan must be consistent year to year and fairly simple to understand. We have made only minor adjustments over the last 12 years.
Salespeople do their best when consistency exists and they aren’t thrown a bunch of curve balls.
Money is not the only motivating factor. In fact I think it isn’t even the most important. The ability to have a sense of autonomy, to feel like you are an important team member, to feel like you work for a company that values you, are all important factors to sales success.
[/dropshadowbox]What compensation structure works best to direct salespeople’s activity?
Short term sales incentives are effective motivation when sales tasks are (a) repetitive and (b) don’t require a great deal of creativity. The intrinsic nature of the job just isn’t enough; it takes creative incentives, including well-designed contests to focus salespeople on the right activities. Dangle a carrot in front of a ticket rep and get out of the way.
Incentives don’t work as well for sales positions like sponsorships that require a lot of (a) creativity, (b) customer care, and have (c) long-term sales cycles.
How to demotivate your sales force
Commissions are excellent motivation to sell and service key accounts in sponsorships or premium ticket sales. You know you’ve succeeded at demotivating your sales force if any one of them begins saying things like, “They cut my commission!” “They keep changing the plan.” Or the worst one, “They owe me…”
In spite of the motivating power of incentives and commissions, organizations can also find ways to break the trust with their salespeople:
Delaying an announcement of compensation plan details: salespeople don’t know what to sell,
Lowering commission rates in the middle of the selling season in order to boost profits by lowering pay, and
Delay payment while quibbling over minor points in the plan.
Yes, you can just get more salespeople to replace the ones who leave. But when you finally get some good ones back on the team, how many sales were lost?
Spend the time to run the compensation plan through tests before launching it. What’s the worst case scenario? The best case?
Think like a rep and figure out what the best sales strategy is to maximize compensation. Can you live with that result?
And plan for a surprise – like adding a bonus mid-selling season. While nothing demotivates like cutting commission after the fact, nothing has more motivating power than a seemingly-random occasional extra reward.
As Greg Grissom, Vice President of Corporate Development at the Houston Texans, concludes, ”The right compensation plan is a key tool in sales leaders tool kit to ensure you clearly communicate where success lies both individually and as a team. By incenting the behaviors and outcomes, salespeople clearly understand where they need to spend their time and effort.”
Research. Thoroughly research the organization prior to interview.
How is the team marketing and advertising?
How are they involved in the community?
Who are the C-level executives and managers?
Know their names and positions.
Look up their backgrounds/bios (team website, Google; LinkedIn)
Questions. Come up with at least five questions to ask about corporate culture, likes/dislikes, challenges, etc. Why? Good questions:
Should be written down.
Allow you to get FREE valuable information from someone in your career choice on how to move up and be successful in your career.
The best question a candidate asked me was, “What do you like and not like about your position?” Asked sincerely, this question showed a personal interest in me and what goes on here every day.
How important is this interview to you? If you are selected from the 100’s of resumes received, I’m assuming it should be important to you. Some of these tips are for in-person interviews, but apply the same principles for virtual interviews.
Attire: Dress professionally (suits). More on making the best first impression in the next column.
If in-person: Arrive 10-15 minutes early. Don’t show up an hour or two early.
Turn off your phone before the interview.
No, turn it off. Silent is not good enough.
Be ready to go once you step outside of the car.
Have your hair and/or makeup done before arriving.
Put your jacket on before you exit the car.
You don’t know who’s watching or who you’ll meet when or where along the way.
For virtual interviews:
Make sure whatever is in camera view sends the right signals.
Don’t locate in a noisy room.
Dress like you were doing an in-person interview (suits).
Have a padfolio and pens (and extra copies of your resume if in-person).
Some employers intentionally “forget” to bring your resume to the interview.
Someone may forget a pen.
SMILE!!! Everyone is watching you.
That person you don’t think is watching is the person who talks to the manager right after you leave.
Beware of windows – people like to observe and will give feedback.
Be courteous. Yes, the receptionist counts. Double.
Clear greeting, by last name (Mr. Smith). Do not be overly familiar until they say so.
Make eye contact during interview. (But, don’t stare the person down.)
Relax and be yourself, but remain professional regardless of interviewer’s professionalism.
Removing jacket, unbuttoning tie, etc. is not acceptable.
Be personable, but not overly excited.
Keep an engaged, positive posture – no slouching.
Don’t fidget: Biting nails, playing with hair, tapping pen, cracking knuckles, etc.
Listen to what is being asked and answer the question.
Ask for clarification if you don’t understand question.
Be confident in your answers:
Don’t answer with an upswing inflection, where the cadence of the voice rises as though every sentence ends in a question mark.
Be accountable. Everyone makes mistakes!!!!! Explain what you learned from mistakes and what you did to ensure it was not repeated.
Be able to explain gaps in employment clearly.
Never bash former employers or colleagues. This gives a clue as to how you might view your next employer and colleagues.
Closing the Interview
If you are interviewing for a sales position, they are looking for someone who can close a deal.
Close the interview.
Highlight why you are the best candidate for the position based on the needs identified during the interview.
Show how your strengths make you a good fit for the position.
Thank interviewers for their time and again give firm handshakes.
Say goodbye to the receptionist by name (s/he always counts).