Best Sales Contest
Company: Swift Communications
Contest: 2014 Digital Drive
Winner: Colorado Mountain News Media
Samantha Johnston Jim Morgan Lynn Virgilio
GM, Aspen Times GM, CMNM Sales Director, Swift
Judges take: In 2014, its third year, Swift's company wide digital sales contest, Digital Drive, hit $700,000 in all new, digital revenues over 13 weeks. The initiative kicks off at the annual meeting, has five individual awards in each of two categories – most sales and highest revenues - plus team awards of $2,000 for one team in the East and West. With team names like Darth Digital and even team costumes, the teams have gotten more competitive every year, tracking progress companywide in a weekly email. The winner? The Colorado Mountain News Media, which includes the prosperous but small circulation Aspen Times and surrounding weeklies, and $275,000 in brand new digital sales. Congratulations to Lynn Virgilio, founder of the program and of course the winners at CMNM.
Best Sales Innovation
Company: A.H. Belo
Market: Dallas Morning News - Dallas Tx
Initiative: Pay-per-lead program
Key Executive: Dan Phelan, Chief Digital Officer
Judges Take: Pay-per-lead software has paid off in revenue growth from key high revenue, low-serviced categories such has HVAC and other home services. There are now 50 plus customers using the software with revenues in the high six figures showing year-over-year increases and a new contract with the San Diego Union Tribune to licence the software. A significant and under-reported home-run.
* LMI story DMN Media generates high six figures
Best Sales Presentation
Company: Berkshire Hathaway Media
Media: Omaha World Herald
Initiative: FindIt Agency Services
Market: Daily & Weekly Newspapers - Omaha, NE
Key executive: Jeff Shabram, VP of Digital
Judges take: Findit Digital Agency Services launched in 29 daily markets including Omaha, Tulsa, Richmond VA, and Atlantic City. Their presentations tackle a key challenge for local media selling digital services: How to explain complex products with a slow rate of return to unsophisticated small businesses interested in direct results. The 2014 strategy switches up the product mix to include some direct response products, and a customer-oriented focus on “how people buy” that includes the funnel, reviews, and core call-to action messages. “(The industry) has focused too much on what to sell, instead of how to use it,” says Shabram.
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