The total-revenue budget is historically a media property’s single most important measure of success. If that number is hit, the pressure to make some of the lesser targets is greatly relieved. But that pattern has been changing in recent years.
Today, the digital-revenue budget is often the one that gets the most scrutiny—from the boardroom all the way down through the organization to the newest seller on the team. It’s not only because the total-revenue number is getting tougher and tougher to hit, but because everyone knows that revenue related to digital offerings represents the future, and most everything else is part of a past that is destined to decrease over time.
As a result, digital-revenue expectations are much more intense than any other component of a media property’s revenue stream. Bigger annual increases are projected, market-share data is craved, and misses are less tolerated. For media properties, digital is now the uber-metric.
Increasing Digital Revenue a Top Challenge
In our recently published report, The Biggest Challenges of Media Salespeople and Sales Managers, we presented the findings of a study we completed late in 2013. The need to increase digital revenue finished in the top 4 challenges voted by sales managers. That it didn’t finish #1 in the survey is a compliment to the managers who participated (they voted Finding excellent salespeople their top challenge). These savvy managers recognized that having terrific sellers would help their drive for digital revenue more than any other single factor.
Selling digital marketing services challenges legacy media properties in many ways. Their service offerings keep changing, as some digital services fall out of favor, new ones come along that must be added to stay relevant, and exiting offerings get tweaked and modified. The number and type of competitors greatly exceeds what they’ve known in the past. In many cases, the paradigm shifts from advertising to marketing. The need for constant training and re-training is ceaseless.
Struggling to Keep Up
Staying current is a never-ending marathon studded with frequent sprints. Not knowing the jargon that defines this space prevents a salesperson from ever being effective. Training all your salespeople—and yourself!—on these essentials terms of the trade is not all you need to do, but it’s a smart place to start. The Center for Sales Strategy offers the Digital What & Why, an online course consisting of 19 brief videos, each of which defines and explains a basic term used in digital advertising and marketing.
The most effective way for legacy media properties to build digital revenue is not by peddling their new digital capabilities directly. Now, and for a long time to come, integrated marketing solutions will be legacy media’s most powerful one-two punch: its strongest weapon against digital-only competitors, and its best way to deliver superior value and thus ensure client satisfaction and repeat business.
Fundamental to creating custom-tailored, integrated marketing solutions is the salesperson’s ability to understand their prospect’s key marketing challenges. It’s not essential that every salesperson know the ins and outs of every digital offering; the best media sales organizations employ staff specialists with the deep product knowledge needed to deploy the right solution to solve the need. But salespeople must be the ones to find those needs by asking the right questions, and to do that they need a general understanding of digital capabilities and sophisticated needs-analysis skills and process.