Media salespeople struggle now more than ever to secure quality appointments with prospects that might actually be ready, willing, and able to do business. The fact is that media salespeople are typically at their best when they are in front of a prospect, finding needs, and selling solutions. The challenge is that most media salespeople, after spending many frustrating hours cold calling, only find themselves going on one or two quality appointments a week. The system is broken and it must be fixed before even the most talented sellers will see better results.
Advertising sales needs a disruption.
For decades, the salesperson’s job was to find the prospects, secure the appointments, define the needs, solve the problems and the sell the right solutions to get results. That is neither efficient nor effective. Expecting one person to be a Jack-of-All-Trades and the expert in all areas is a poor use of time—and actually prevents these professionals from developing any real expertise. Those that are especially good at finding needs and selling solutions are becoming increasingly discouraged as they spend endless hours banging the phone, hoping they will eventually score an appointment, and in the end find themselves meeting with people who are not necessarily interested or ready to do business.
Where is the focus right now?
In most media sales operations today, intense focus is placed on the end result: total billing. It is also common for managers to want to measure the number of proposals generated, the total amount pending, the closing ratio, and the size of the ask. It is easy to spot the common thread here… managers are holding their salespeople highly accountable for sales output. While some managers may try to pay attention to their direct report’s weekly activity (which is a step in the right direction), they usually do that by measuring the number of appointments that each sales rep has each week. Focusing on the number of appointments just causes that vicious cycle of frustration I talked about earlier. More time cold calling means less time selling. More time trying to find someone (anyone!) to meet with means less time finding needs and selling solutions.
Lead generation solves the problem.
What if there was a way to generate quality leads and then hand them off to media salespeople once they were sales ready? What if we had the same sort of systems, process, and expectations in place for marketing and lead generation that we have for pending businesses and closing ratios? I can tell you from experience, it works like magic. It allows media salespeople to go on 6-10 quality appointments per week rather than the 2 not-so-quality ones they are going on now. You’ve got to know how, though.
Inbound marketing is how.
Media companies know all about marketing. They use it to attract viewers, readers, listeners and users all the time. They also sell marketing solutions to businesses and help them to use their capabilities to get fantastic results. But, media sales organizations often fail to use their marketing expertise to attract leads for their own sales departments. Inbound marketing fixes this problem. Inbound marketing strategies produce quality leads to hand off to salespeople and, at the same time, position the media sales organization as a thought leader in their specific market and area of expertise.
It’s a paradigm shift.
But one that needs to happen in order for both sales and marketing to work together and be held accountable for success. Installing and executing a lead generation and thought leadership strategy is key to the future success of media sales and will help to improve the number of quality appointments media salespeople go on each week.