Q: What was your overarching impression of the program? Being the inaugural class, I am sure there were some growing pains to figure out?
Necole: “I believe both Kayla and I had a good experience in the PBS Mentor/Mentee program and found it be very positive, challenging, and fulfilling. For me personally, having never served as a mentor before, or manager, this program, geared me towards my goal of becoming a strong leader should I ever pursue a career in management. I wasn’t sure what to expect and at first and was a little intimidated as I was the only mentor to have no prior managerial experience, but I did feel confident in my sales ability and knowledge base. “
Q: In what areas, specifically do you think you have professionally improved?
Kayla: “As a mentee, I have gained professional development in several ways. Thanks to the partnership with Necole, she has helped develop my strategic prospecting for new clients and overcoming objections from prospects or current clients. Necole helps me fine tune my ability on aiming to acquire new clients from industries where KCPT already is successful instead of focusing my time heavily on industries we are not. For example, at KCPT we work with many law firms, accounting firms, and the arts. Necole has helped me creatively continue to prospect in those areas through sharing her own successes and sales strategies.”
Necole: “This program strengthened key areas of self-growth, not only professionally, but personally as well. I was also lucky to have been a mentee previously with a co-worker of mine in my last position who not only exercised extreme patience with a person who was absolutely new to “solution-based” selling, but coached me in a way that was relatable, and relevant to where I was at in my career. I believe many times that a mentor/mentee relationship fails because the mentor often leads by where THEY are in their skill set or career, instead of taking into account where the mentee is in their skill set. Often this can lead to the mentee feeling frustrated or even worse, inept at their position, causing friction and job dissatisfaction. For Kayla, I wanted to make sure I did not make this cardinal mistake and I really wanted to focus on her developmental needs and not my need to teach, if that makes sense.”
Q: Any success stories you would like to share?
Kayla: “Through the program, I had a 60% increase in new business sales and maintained a steady pipeline of renewals. The learnings through the program and partnership helped me maintain our industry clients as well as diversify my portfolio.”
Q: What about challenges you faced you didn’t expect?
Necole: “For me, even though I mentally already knew this, without having managerial experience, I have never put this belief into practice before. And that is, everyone learns and processes things differently. This coupled with not being in Kayla’s market, I really had to take into account market conditions, her work atmosphere, her access to systems as many markets do to not subscribe to Nielsen Scarborough or have the capabilities that others have. This helped me realize, I typically lean on data a little too much, so it helped strengthen my creative thinking skills when helping her craft presentation or how to overcome objections without a bunch of data to support my argument. This, unexpectantly, strengthened my skill set of how to sell on logic and reason and my skills of persuasion/negotiation instead of hard facts. I liked that.”
Kayla: “The two of us have talked through different objections I’ve faced with clients and she has helped me develop ways to reposition the ask. These strategies have led to successful proposals and closing the deal.”
Q: “Any last observations?”
Necole: “Overall, I believe this program is so important and I applaud PBS for taking the first step in developing growth among an often over-looked and ignored sector of public media – sales. I had no idea that Corporate Sponsorship/Underwriting was the red-headed step-child of public media until I went to the National Conference in Nashville and felt the frustration of many other reps and it was nice to know PBS is aware of the large gap in the stations departments and is choosing to tackle this issue and address concerns. I have never had the privilege of experiencing such a profound sense of caring amongst a company as large as PBS. You know a company is dedicated to their mission when the employees feel it on the inside, thereby making it easier to convey the mission and spread it in the communities they serve – to educated, enlighten, and inform.”
Kayla: “I have found this program not only beneficial for me personally as a professional, but my station has benefited as well. This program helped me feel invested in by PBS as a Development professional and I appreciated the opportunity. I would recommend this program to anyone looking to grow their skills.”