A Day in the Life: Jo Blackett, Sales Manager, Northern Stage

A Day in the Life: Jo Blackett, Sales Manager, Northern Stage

The Last Ship Press Night - Pamela Raith Photography
The Last Ship Press Night - Pamela Raith Photography
Jo Blackett, Sales Manager, Northern Stage

Get a glimpse into the role of a Sales Manager as Jo Blackett takes us through a day in her life at Northern Stage, UK Theatre Organisation member and winner of the Workforce Award (sponsored by Integro Entertainment and Sport) at the UK Theatre Awards 2019  

Date Published: 04 November 2019

I’m Northern Stage’s Sales Manager and my role is to manage sales through box office and carry out data analysis of those sales to help with decision making within the company.

Northern Stage is based in Newcastle upon Tyne and is one of the largest producing theatres in the North East. We create unique and unforgettable live events for our audiences and it is my job to make sure that this is reflected through our box office, providing the best customer experience whilst ensuring we bring in as much money as possible.

One of my main strategies for maximising income is utilising demand management; holding seats off sale and only making them available when a performance is starting to sell well. The main reason for doing this is to create the perception of success, ensuring shows always appear to be busy and helping us to drive demand for the tickets that are available and encouraging customers to book early. So, the first task of my day is to check that there are enough seats available to sell for each performance.

The next thing to do is to make sure our prices are right. The reason for this is because I utilise dynamic pricing, where ticket prices increase as performances get busier. Price changes are done manually so I track various pieces of data daily and once certain criteria are met I will adjust the ticket prices.

These strategies feed into our weekly Revenue Pacing meeting, so my next job is to present a summary of how sales are going to the communications, finance, programming and executive team. At the start of each season I set up a sales tracker for each of our shows which I update with actual sales before this meeting. I chair the meeting using the trackers to explain what the data is telling us which helps with decisions about where resources should be focussed for the week ahead to ensure sales stay on track.

Then it’s time to get together with the sales team for our monthly meeting. The team works on a rota and this is one of the only times for all of us to be together and discuss what’s going on in the world of Northern Stage and our main priorities for the month.

As we are about to launch the new season, this meeting is being used as a sales briefing session and we are joined by the communications team so that they can brief us on what we have coming up, the key selling points and interesting facts about the shows. The team is expected to cross and upsell with each transaction so we spend time working out together what the best fit for each performance will be to help with this ask.

Northern Stage is also a registered charity with customer donations playing a key part in our income generation. As one of the main points of contact for customers, we also spend time talking about how to ask for donations. I brief the team on what projects we have coming up this season which are supported by donations, which gives our customers a greater incentive to give and makes asking a lot easier.

Then it’s onto the most important part of my role: working on box office. Everything I do as Sales Manager is to make sure we give customers a great experience, so I do regular shifts on box office to make sure that everything being done behind the scenes is translating to customers having the very best experience with us.

Tonight is a busy night with performances in all 3 stages. Everything runs smoothly so once everyone has gone into their show I cash up and tidy box office ready to welcome tomorrow’s customers.

*An edited version of this article first appeared in UK Theatre's Autumn's 2019 Training and Events Prospectus in September 2019. 

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