Roberta and Tim divvy up the world
21 Feb 2018
Want to know a little more about the people behind the big, yellow smiley? In the ACTF’s meet the team series, we introduce our friendly staff and go behind the scenes to discover what makes us tick.
In this Q&A with International Sales Managers, Roberta Di Vito and Tim Hegarty, we learn how the ACTF Sales Team work together to sell Australian television series across the globe.
How long have you both been working together in sales at the ACTF?
T: Rob’s been here a bit longer than me, but we’ve been working together for thirteen and a half years.
R: I was at the ACTF initially working on a project called Kahootz. I came on board to fill a maternity leave position. It was in the last 18 months of the project, so I was managing the project from that point up until its completion. When my contract ended, an opportunity opened up in Sales. This was my first role in sales, and after being offered the job, I’ve been working in this department ever since.
T: For me, I’ve always worked in sales and marketing in some shape or form. In the last 20 years, all of my roles have centred on the entertainment industry. Before joining the ACTF, I worked in a sales role for Village Roadshow and after that held a sponsorship and marketing role for community radio station 3RRR. One Saturday in 2004 I saw a position advertised in the newspaper to work in sales at the ACTF – I hadn’t worked in television before, but it looked interesting so I applied anyway, and thankfully got the job – and I’ve been here ever since.
What’s it like working together as a team?
T: We actually work really well together.
R: I guess that’s because we each have our own strengths and weaknesses.
T: I think that’s true. We’re both on an even keel when it comes to sales, but Rob has had more experience in print advertising and graphic design than I have, and therefore she tends to look after that side of our marketing activity, whereas I’ve maybe had more experience in writing and so I tend to put the various press releases together. It just seems to work well.
R: And I think in terms of our personalities, we just get along together well, too.
How do you divvy up your territories? Between the two of you, you take care of half a world each, so to speak.
R: For the most part, the selection of territories has been determined historically. When I stepped into the role, I inherited my territories from the person working prior to me. When Tim started, however, we shifted some of the territories to suit our expertise.
T: For example, Roberta took on Italy as a territory, after I’d had it for a year or so, as it made more sense for her to deal with the buyers there, as she can speak Italian.
R: We’re really happy with the territories that we each look after. We know our regions well. We know our clients well, and we know what the trends and requirements are for each territory.
T: And even though we obviously focus on our own territories, one of the outcomes of working together for so long, is that we actually know each other’s clients quite well. We stay up to date with what each other is working on and so a lot of what we do tends to be very collaborative.
R: Particularly when it comes to more globalised deals such as those with SVOD platforms. We need to work together on those deals as they cross over into each other’s territories.
How important is relationship building with the clients in your territory?
R: The ACTF is well regarded in the industry as a company that produces quality programming, so our clients know that content-wise, they’re going to get something that’s well produced and well scripted. They also know that throughout the sales process and beyond, they’ll receive one-on-one ongoing support from us, which is so important when it comes to maintaining a good business relationship.
T: I think our backgrounds as account managers, where customer service is the top priority, means that Rob and I just automatically look after our clients’ needs from beginning to end, which in turn means our clients know that they can trust and rely on us.
R: Without going overboard and pestering them, we make sure that if there’s a bit of news about a show, or an award won, or an exciting new project we have in the works, we get in touch with our clients to keep them in the loop. It’s a nice way to keep the relationship going.
T: And most importantly we also get the opportunity to see our clients face-to-face at markets throughout the year, like MIPCOM in Cannes, which is really important when it comes to building relationships with new clients, as well as nurturing our existing ones.
Which events can prospective clients catch you at throughout the year?
R: Tim and I attend two markets held in Cannes each year – MIPTV in April and MIPCOM in October. I also attend the Asia Television Forum in Singapore in December each year.
Finally, after more than thirteen years in ACTF Sales – what are your favourite memories of working together?
R: I’m not sure that they’re my favourite memories, but what does come to mind is the way Tim and I have dealt with our fair share of airport disasters as well as natural disasters while attending the international markets together throughout the years. We’ve been stranded in airports, missed flights, lost luggage, battled through hurricanes, dealt with erupting volcanoes – the lot! But through all this, I know I can always rely on Tim to see the funny side and he makes me smile even when I’m close to tears!
T: For me, the memories that stand out the most are from when we’ve attended markets together. It’s great to have someone that you get along with so well while travelling, especially as we’re travelling such long distances together. When I first started at the ACTF, I can still clearly remember how great it was to have Rob’s advice on what to expect going into my first market – she helped me a lot. We’re always really honest and open with each other which amongst other things has always resulted in lots of laughs – some of my favourite memories are just times when Rob and I have laughed together – it’s nice.