If I had a dollar for every time a media company executive had asked me what they could do TODAY to grow their revenue; I would be a very rich man. Getting the question, however, is the easy part. Answering it is more complicated. For instance, I always encourage media executives to take a good hard look at a true solution for smart media sales strategy, such as Lineup’s Adpoint. However, I also acknowledge that many media companies need to “right their ships” and grow revenue immediately before they can invest in the technology required to take their businesses to the next level.
Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to growing revenue in today’s market. Success doesn’t come overnight, nor can it happen without action and investment. The good news is that there are several practical actions publishers can take to make positive changes to their businesses quickly. One action that I have repeatedly see bring success is the establishment of a real CRM strategy.
Remember: CRM Ownership Does Not Equal CRM Strategy
When I recommend building a CRM media strategy, some clients scoff. They tell me that they already have a CRM in place and ask me for my next tip. The mistake these executives are usually making is believing that system ownership is a strategy in and of itself. Choosing a Salesforce CRM, or an Adpoint CRM, or any other CRM system is not a strategy; it is a piece of technology. A true CRM strategy defines your plan for growing relationships with customers and increasing sales. It identifies how often you want to interact with advertisers and agencies, outlines the quality of these interactions, and pinpoints how you will measure success. Put simply; a CRM strategy is much more than just a piece of software.
Defining a CRM strategy may seem like a daunting task, but here’s the good news: it only takes a few steps to kick-start a winning media CRM for your business. Here’s how:
Segment Your Customers
The first step to developing a strong CRM media sales strategy is to split your customers into five segments based on their spending. Keep this ultra-simple example in mind to guide your segmentation:
- A-Customers (spending = > $100k)
- B-Customers (spending = > $50k)
- C-Customers (spending = > $25k)
- D-Customers (spending = < $25k)
Each of your media buyers should fall squarely into one of the segments. If the dollar amounts don’t match the reality of your media sales, tweak them so they work better for your business. If you want to include competitor data from Neilson or TNS, you can also place your customers into secondary segments showing their buying “potential.”
Create a CRM Plan for each Customer Segment
Customer relationship management is all about interactions and touchpoints. As such, your next step is to decide how often you want to meet with each customer segment. CRM strategy 101 is that you will want to meet with your higher-value customers more often, to nourish your relationships with them and make sure they stay your high-value customers. Your model might look something like the example below:
- Agencies and A-Customers: once per month
- B-Customers: once every two months
- C-Customers: once every three months
- D-Customers: once every six months
Map your CRM Strategy and Communication Plan to your Existing Sales Team
Now you have a basic CRM plan, but it doesn’t become a CRM strategy until you take steps to implement it. Implementation can’t happen without your sales reps, so it’s time to involve them. Create a simple grid showing each sales rep and how many A-Customers, B-Customers, etc. are assigned to them. Then, calculate the number of meetings assigned to each sales rep. You will probably find that some of your sales reps need to have hundreds of meetings per month to service your customer base properly, while other sales reps are not fully tasked. This kind of unbalanced media sales strategy is typical for sales teams where long-standing reps have “collected” customers over time. Rebalance your accounts to ensure that every sales rep has a manageable schedule and that each customer is met according to plan.
Know Your Customers’ Potential
Remember, just because a customer is spending in a lower-tier right now doesn’t mean they can’t move up the rungs of the ladder. Look at each customer (especially all the A, B and C-Customers) and see what the true potential is for each account. Then, create plans for each of these customers to reach their growth objectives.
How can you quantify potential? One example is to look at historical data. For example, if a customer was spending at an A-level in 2018 and is dropping to a B-level in 2019, NOW is the time to act. You know that the customer in question can be a top-tier spender because they have been in the past. Taking steps to keep them at that level is the entire point of CRM. These actions are low-hanging fruit for your sales reps, but only if they know there is a problem.
Another key tactic is to look at how each customer is spending against your competitors. From there, you can group customers into priority groups (by levels of potential), giving the highest priority to those customers that have the largest sales gap between your company and your competitors.
Match Talent to Opportunity
Finally, look at the year-over-year performance of the customers within each segment. Some will have shifted from A to B, from B to A, from C to B, and so on. Many times, you may find a pattern between this movement and the individual sales reps assigned to the customers. For example, some sales reps are terrific at growing C-Customers to B-Customers, but not able to grow them to A-Customers. As a result, you will see those customers bounce between C and B rather than growing. Once you analyze the patterns, you can consider coaching your employees and changing your compensation plans to match the right customers with the right reps for each level.
While there is no silver bullet to growing ad revenue today, there are many real-world and tactical actions that you can and should implement to build an effective CRM strategy. The good news is that media executives who innovate also tend to be the ones who are generating the biggest revenues. If you’ve taken the step to implement a good media sales strategy or media CRM system and you are not achieving your goals, it may be due to the absence of a strategic CRM plan. A subtle shift in the way you harness your CRM system, as outlined above, could make a big difference.
Is Your CRM Up to the Task?
Download this free whitepaper, “7 Sneaky Ways Your Advertising Tech is Costing You Sales” for practical tips on evaluating your CRM and advertising systems.