According to Advertising Age reporter Michael Sebastian, today’s advertisers are no longer satisfied with a simple print ad and digital real estate on a website. They’re demanding that publishers apply reams of data to target their ads, and they want to see those ads appearing within a stream of editorial content while being promoted via social media. And they’re squeezing publishers on the price every step of the way.1
No one would argue that selling advertising today is a daunting task. Despite its challenges, leading publishers are proving they can succeed by putting technology to work for them.
Here at Lineup Systems, we are seeing this firsthand every day. One of our customers reported that they experienced a 203 percent growth in proposals and a 74 percent increase in calls after deploying our advertising sales platform Adpoint. This uptick in outbound sales activity resulted in their most successful year of sales since the market began shifting in 2009. Their growth can be largely tied to their use of Adpoint, which provides both their new and seasoned media sales professionals with a framework for superior selling. This framework offers three key features that can make heroes out of your sales talent – even your newbies!
1. ACTIONABLE BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE
As data science continues to make rapid advances, today’s media companies no longer have to make sales decisions in the dark based on gut instinct. They are increasingly turning to analytically led approaches to guide them when it comes to customers. These analytics take into account multiple buying considerations, such as historic spending trends and buying preferences, in order to identify the best revenue opportunities. While many publishers have implemented CRM systems to gather this data, a gap still remains as the analytics on advertising spend go far deeper than what a generic CRM dashboard can deliver.
Today’s most successful publishers provide their advertising sales professionals with actionable business intelligence from a single multichannel customer perspective. With a click of a button, our customers’ sales reps can gain insights into all kinds of scenarios that can help them expand their sales approaches. For example, they can ask Adpoint to show any of the scenarios below, and more:
All advertisers in 2017 that spent...
$10,000+ in only 1 regional title
$10,000+ in 3+ print publications, but nothing in digital
$30,000+ in 1 national title, but nothing in a regional title
This kind of actionable business intelligence easily drives new business opportunities. If your sales professionals are still grappling with disparate legacy systems and semi-accurate customer data, you simply cannot produce this kind of insight into your advertisers’ buying behavior.
2. THE ABILITY TO PACKAGE ORDERS
As the advertising industry evolves, publishers are restructuring to meet their new reality. Media sales professionals who were once responsible for selling only print or only digital must now sell across a variety of platforms that can include digital, print, TV, radio and more. The sales force at The Times, for example, is expected to sell a total of 15 different ad products.1 It’s a lot to track.
Without automation, media sales professionals may spend hundreds of hours developing and booking ad packages. The process can be so time-consuming that ad reps sometimes book just one week at a time despite having taken orders that span six months.
Today’s most successful media salespeople have access to preconfigured sales packages that can be easily tailored to meet an advertiser’s unique needs; but do not require reinventing the wheel for each new booking. This results in creative multichannel solutions that efficiently connect advertisers and readers in more powerful ways. If your sales force is wasting time with a cumbersome booking process that requires hundreds of lines to be entered individually for each order, you won’t have the “feet on the street” required to meet your sales goals.
3. HELP WITH TASK MANAGEMENT
At our customer’s office, no one arrives at his or her desk wondering what to do. Adpoint suggests what phone calls to make and visits to arrange, based on analytics that summarize which advertising customers are most likely to buy what on any given day. This kind of task management drives productivity and helps sales management understand which lead-generation tactics are working and which ones aren’t, as all sales activities can be tracked back to actual orders.
When our customer’s sales professionals meet with their advertising customers, they’re armed with a proposal generated by Adpoint which enables them to accelerate the buying cycle.
More competition than ever before means that today’s media sales professionals must make more personalized customer touches. Media companies that are generating revenue are ramping up their productivity with the support of technology, which allows them to do more with less while achieving the results they desire.
Advertisers are demanding. Selling ads is becoming more complicated by the day. Publishers who continue to grapple with multiple legacy systems that result in data gaps and inefficient processes will continue to see sales dwindle. Those that embrace new technology, such as advertising sales platforms that deliver a single version of the truth and simplify the sales process, will continue to innovate and generate revenue.