THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 Best sales directors

1. Stuart Taylor, advertising director of The Guardian and Observer

The theory is that we're seeing a new way of selling press that goes above, beyond and round the side of the old way of flogging space. Everyone these days talks about partnerships between media owners and advertisers, special projects, creative thinking and access to editorial ideas. Taylor and his team at The Guardian are just about the best at walking that talk.

2. Dee Forbes, vice-president, advertising, Turner Broadcasting

Forbes gets lots of mentions from the boys in TV time buying. She is, apparently, a vision of how a modern TV sales director might be. For a start she is (gasp) a woman, she has imagination and a genuine understanding of client service. The thing that really confuses them, however, is that though she comes across all charming and sophisticated and intelligent, she gives as good as she gets in negotiations.

3. Chris White-Smith, group sales director, the Telegraph

Another thoroughly modern sales director, who, press buyers say, thinks outside the proverbial box. And, they add, he's not a distant figure. Like the best of the old-fashioned newspaper sales guys, he's not scared to have a hands-on approach when appropriate. He's passionate, focused, popular and approachable.

4. Matt Shreeve, head of agency sales, Channel 4

TV sales operations still basically model themselves on a classic fairground business model. You have a guy up on a soapbox with a loud suit and florid complexion, and you have the clever guy, the bagman, who gauges the mood of the crowd, takes the money and gets ready to pack up sharpish if he spots the rozzers coming. Shreeve is reckoned to be the best bagman in the business.

5. Simon Davies, advertisement director, The Mail on Sunday

He's part of the new generation taking the commercial jobs that matter in newspapers and his appointment in the summer was greeted enthusiastically by press buyers. He gives good lunch and has returned a bit of passion to a newspaper that was beginning to drop off the radar.

6. James Wildman, executive sales director, interactive digital sales

Arguably, Wildman has the least enviable job in TV sales. If terrestrial is still the main game in town and multichannel is the second division, he's playing at the foot of the lower league. Buyers like the way he goes about it though and say he keeps ids punching above its weight.

7. Richard Hawking, deputy sales director, Sky Media

Hawking, buyers say, is not to be confused with a world-class theoretical physicist but is, like Matt Shreeve, a clever customer and runs the Sky book to great effect.

8. Martin Bowley, Steve Platt, Gary Digby and all at Carlton

Which brings up to nostalgia corner. Remember the good old days when ITV seemingly had scores of sales teams and they had nothing better to do but stab each other in the back in between desultory rounds of golf? Well, those days are gone, my friend, and it only remains for us to salute those who were still playing musical troughs when the Fat Lady sang. Or stopped singing, actually.

9. Not forgetting Graham Duff, Simon Pardon and all at Granada

When will we see their likes again? Hang on ... (Written in November. Apologies if this cynicism has proved unfounded.)

10. The formula

Now that we are in the 21st century it is only proper that ITV airtime should be sold scientifically. In line with an assurance given to the OFT, airtime will be allocated under the CRR Ratchet of the Weighted Impact Share. For a given protected contract across n demographic audiences, given Sa and Iya (where S is the sum of all impacts against audience demographic, a, and I is something complicated derived by dividing something by something else entirely), then the ratchet (R) formula is:

R=(S1.I1current)+ (S2.I2current) + (S3.I3current) + ... + (Sn.Incurrent) divided by (S1.I1base) (S2.I2base) + (S3.I3base) + ... + (Sn.Inbase)

Unless R is greater than the Cap C in which case R is capped at C, that's to say if R>C then R=C.

We hope that this clears up any confusion.