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Best practices for using Borrell's Compass Reports in the sales department

Eight ways statistics can help get in the door and close the deal

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Many digital publishers think of Borrell Associates data as big picture research, but it can also be used strategically by the sales department and even at the tactical level to walk away with more and larger orders from merchants. Attached are some sample slides that give an idea about what the research looks like. Below are the top ways to use the data in the sales department, from Jim Brown, Vice President of Sales and Marketing:

1. Find leads beyond the usual suspects

Use reports to find leads outside of not only current advertisers - but also companies that are spending on a lot on digital promotions and services that may not be on the radar at all. Brown's suggested method:

• Pull top categories in increases in digital spending (see slide 2)
• Look deeper into key categories for non-advertisers who are spending in other digital areas
• Find new categories of "non-advertisers"

2. Identify big shifts in media spending - and strategize around them

Using the tool that identifies the largest shifts (see slide 2), managers can create strategies that proactively go after accounts that are making changes right now - especially those shifting away from direct mail or other competing media.

3. Train reps to pay attention to all the aspects of how to help a customer. 

Borrell's tools break spending down into three major categories: Advertising, Promotions, and Digital Services. Teaching reps to ask about all of these areas - and have deeper knowledge - helps them to obtain more of the buy. 

4. Use competitive information to get in the door

Lots of people are calling on SMB’s to sell them advertising. They are being “hit up” as many as 17 to 20 times per month. But they only have time to talk to a few – only one out of five will likely get the opportunity to give their pitch. So in order to get a meeting, you need to bring them new information (data) that no one else can.  "Be relevant, trusted, and bring them info they don’t have," Brown suggests.

5. Differentiate the sales call with competitive information

Because the world of digital marketing moves so quickly, merchants are very focused on their competition and industry trends. Brown suggests that sales reps differentiate the sales call by bringing competitive information about what others in their industry (in the same market) are spending.

"This is especially important with new business prospects – people for whom you don’t have an established relationship of trust." Brown said.

"It's not enough to just know your product and how it can help someone. To be successful you have to present yourself as an expert on how the media landscape is changing and how that change is impacting your prospects and customers."

6. Frame the conversation

It's often difficult to build enough trust for merchants to talk about budget numbers.  However, showing benchmarking for spending by other companies their size, enables reps to start a discussion around whether they are spending more or less in these categories and why.

7. Ask good questions, including the customer's opinion on industry trends

Similar to the point above, discussing trends with the customer and getting their take will not only create a more knowledgeable rep, but help build a relationship with clients and prospects. Why not begin some conversations with "we see a major shift towards targeted display advertising among many retail categories. What have you seen? What has been your experience?" 

8. Try to understand the ROI

It goes without saying that businesses exist to make money, however, too few reps bother to understand "what works" for merchants and why -learn what the merchants are measuring, what products are driving profits, and how they value marketing approaches. Some will be interested in building an email list or collecting other customer data which they see as valuable from both a cost perspective and an ROI perspective. Some will just want customers in the door. So have the conversation about the average value of a sale, an email, etc.

Many thanks to Jim Brown, vice president of marketing, Borrell Associates,  for sharing his expertise with us.

Also mentioned as a great tool for remote work stations in 'Four Tips to Running a Work-from Home Sales Team' at LocalMediaInsider here.

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