Stan "The Man" Lee, right after we f...

Stan “The Man” Lee, “With great power, comes great responsibility” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is a post from the fabulously talented, and brilliantly named Matt Sunshine! Matt is the executive vice president of The Center For Sales Strategy in Texas. Read more of his thoughts on The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

The digital ad sales initiative is getting a lot of buzz these days and it’s the lead story in the trades almost every day.  Even you feel the pressure.  The fact that this headline grabbed your attention means you are working to use your digital capabilities to help advertisers get results.

Those that lead the digital sales effort know it is not easy, and digital sales revenues prove it.  But, here’s the good news.  While frustration may be high right now, that light is dazzling at the end of the tunnel.  Don’t give up.  Keep pressing forward in an effort to figure it out.

To help you figure it out more quickly and achieve success, here are five things you can do to get your digital moving in the right direction.

Clear out the Clutter:

It is not uncommon, when I ask sellers to share their digital capabilities with me, to hear a recitation of at least 30 to 40 assets they are currently pushing. While you may view this vast quantity as a selling point, it is clear to me that the sellers have no idea how to use or sell any of it.  It is confusing and hard to remember so you need to clear out the clutter and narrow their focus to a select few digital capabilities on which they can shine a bright spotlight.  This will allow your sellers the opportunity to become experts in these assets, use these resources correctly, and begin to more effectively help their clients achieve results.

Learn to Speak Digital:

Let’s be honest.  It’s a whole new language and often, both sellers and the buyers fail to communicate correctly when using it. They did not take Digital as a Second Language in school, and even those that do speak the language, often do so with a terrible accent.  If your sellers are going to effectively sell your digital capabilities, they need to learn what the words mean and why they are important for the advertiser. At The Center for Sales Strategy we provide the Rosetta Stone of digital and we call it “The Digital What and Why.”  Once sellers know what the words mean, they are better able to conduct a needs analysis and suggest more interactive solutions.

Make Smoothies:

Most likely, your mediasellers are selling digital with a “cherry on top” approach.  In other words, after they have built a solution that includes traditional capabilities and the sale is essentiallydone, they will suggest that you match the schedule with streaming or run adisplay ad on the home page.  This “cherry on top” approach is the wrong approach and it will never measure up to an integrated solution which is more like a smoothie.  What makes a smoothie great is the perfect blend of the right ingredients.  While any one ingredient is certainly good, the blend is the best solution.

Ask better questions:

It’s a simple input-output thing.  Asking better questions about the client’s digital expectations during the needs analysis leads to better ideas and the kinds of solutions that can actually help. Here are a few simple questions that Account Managers should ask related to digital topics:

?         How does the advertiser use their website?  Lead generation?  E-commerce?

?         Do they buy search?

?         Do they participate in deal sites?

?         Do they have a social media strategy?

When they get more comfortable with these questions, they can build from there.

Prove it:

There is no doubt – salespeople do not like to sell clients things that do not work.  Any good seller knows that the key to long-term success is client retention.  When clients are getting results, they are likely to continue advertising.  No results = screeching halt.  You can provide your sellers with the buy-in they need by developing success stories that feature your clients who have purchased an integrated solution and achieved results.  You might even set a goal to produce at least one per month.

Final thought:                                                  

As Stan Lee said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”   I believe using your digital capabilities to help business get results is as customer-focused as it gets.  Before the internet, the thought of interacting with the consumer in the way that we do was unthinkable.  We have a tremendous opportunity here and a whole lot of power to connect consumers and business.  With this great power, comes great responsibility.


Follow Matt on Twitter @MattSunshine 

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