local media insider

Best of Local Sales Initiatives

Best Sales Contest, Best Sales Innovation, Best Sales Presentation

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Best of Local Sales Initiatives

Best Sales Contest

Company: Swift Communications

Contest: 2014 Digital Drive

Winner: Colorado Mountain News Media

Key executives:

Samantha Johnston, MBA Samantha Johnston Jim Morgan Jim Morgan  Lynn Virgilio 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

Circulation: 409,265

Initiative: Pay-per-lead program

DanPhelanBW14

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

Circulation: 125,470

Jeffrey P. Shabram

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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