A long time ago, in a sales office far, far away someone decided to make a huge barrier between the sales force and the production team. Whether it was the competitive nature of all sales people, or just the shear force of the sales team that “we make the company all the money,” for as long as I can remember, no matter how hard management tried to break it, there always seemed to be an “us against them mentality.”

But guess what? If your organization allows this, or worse—enables it, I would argue you are on the way out just as the evil force is.

At Onstage Publications, I think part of our “secret sauce” as to why our program book sales team strives, is because we have set up a true “us” mentality and have removed the death trap of “them” from this. There is no “them” here, it’s just “us.”

When our program book sales team hits their mark, everyone gets to share in the spoils. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post (My New Year’s Resolution–Continue Having Fun!) we have an incentive called Get-n-Split. If the program book sales team hits their weekly objective by that Thursday, everyone gets Friday as a paid day off.

Sure, hitting the weekly objective is great for our company but it’s also great for our performing arts clients–this enables us to provide free program books to them. But most importantly, it has made our whole company as one force.

If one of our program book account executives needs a quick turn-around on an ad spec, do you think it’s going to sit there in the graphic designer’s in-basket? Hell no, it will be back to them within the ½ hour. If our program book sales manager needs a bit more time selling into a particular market to make sure the objective is hit, do you think our publications manager is going to say no? Hell no, the pub schedule will be rearranged so the sales team has more time to sell.

You see, it is little things like these that break down the wall. There was a great guest post on Butts In The Seats a couple weeks ago by Stephen P. Brown that I’ve posted about before (Is Your Arts Organization Outsourcing To The Right “Relationship?”), but it keeps making my points easier to make. In this post, Stephen discussed the barriers between performing arts organization’s fund raisers and everyone else. Steven states that “…if someone who gathers data or fills out grant applications believes they are the organization’s exclusive fund-raisers, retrain or expel them…”

From this, I gather that performing arts organizations struggle with this wall as well, which is ever more important if they are publishing their own program books too.

This wall is the evil force and it will tear down any organization quicker than you can say Jar Jar Binks!

As the great Yoda says, “but beware of the dark side. Anger, fear aggression; the dark side of the force are they. Easily they flow quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.”

Good selling!

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