local media insider

Keeping it simple


Hope you enjoyed a long holiday weekend away! 

Most print organizations I talk to are frustrated on one level or another by sales force issues; in particular how to inspire service-oriented sales representatives to get interested in their customer's digital needs and sell customized solutions.

I was reminded again last week of the importance of starting out by keeping it simple:  BangorDailyNews.com  launched  a sales effort that "sold out" its first 20 packages in two weeks - starting from scratch with print-only sales representatives who had never sold online advertising before. The launch was guided by the sales consultant Jane Bogue and is written up as a case study here.  Besides three 45 minute training sessions, the most important part of the process was creating a pricing and packaging model that sales representatives could sell right away. 

This step-by-step process includes creating some highly desirable ad positions and dividing this inventory into Share of Voice blocks. Having only ten blocks and eight sales people created a sense of urgency, and gave the team a quick win. There are some nuances in the case study you will want to review; including day-parting and guarantees. 

The main point is that these packages were easy for sales people to grasp, get excited about and score a quick win;  the team has now moved on to selling more customized buys.  However, the less savvy the team, the more having a definite number of packages to sell out is an important transitional model.  Much better than starting with forced buys or expecting legacy sales representatives to grasp how to customize before they have gained confidence. 

If your organization is further down the road, creating a limited inventory of key positions is still a great strategy for niche sites, product launches and other sales drives, so take a good look at how it works.

Keep in mind BangorDailyNews.com team only made doing this look easy; the company had struggled with online sales for year before consolidating, so this is not a first try!

We also take a look this week at Aggiesports.com, a standalone site covering Texas A&M University sports, that moved from one exclusive sponsorship to selling exclusive sponsorships by category. We predict this site, tracking $40,000 annually today, has a bigger future.  

And the Top Performing Ad this week is an optical store in a small town (Kitsap, Washington) that is acquiring a 2.9% click-through by running - and testing several - offers. We've seen this category perform well, so if you don't have an optical store in your client mix, pass out this ad and spiff for the first person to crack the category.