[PARTNER CONTENT] For six months, amid the almost unreal world conditions, media owners have been scrambling to hang on to their advertising revenue streams.
Agency heavyweights and corporate executives have hustled to keep vital business functions ticking along, while urgently reassuring and securing key stakeholders to their livelihoods.
Innovation and agility became the obsession and a whole host of nauseating buzz words came to life. All this, while we as individuals, are fighting our own personal demons of discouragement. With total Covid-19 fatigue and a couple of high-profile vaccines at final stages of human trials, it feels like the right time to push the reset button and look at Sales 101 for the year 2021.
As the Abundant Media Group looks to grow and strengthen our own advertising market share, we don’t mind disclosing some tried and tested Sales 101 learnings.
Understand and be able to communicate the story behind the data
Sales teams need to understand quantitative data story telling. This data is used in strategy, planning, buying and in post campaign analysis. Sales execs and sales managers must know how to have high level conversations, contextualising and positioning your own USP within all the standard data available.
Gone are the days when your team could afford to only speak your company’s media language. Knowledge is power and salespeople are being exposed. As the well-known Competence Matrix illustrates, we need to move on from our unconscious incompetence. Assuming that your ability to use a few media acronyms is good enough, is a foolish mistake.
Relationships and the human element
In sales, relationships will almost always win. Relationships are what make transactions unequal. Product and price are important, but the human element is more influential than we’d like to believe. People buy from people they like and trust, it is that simple.
When somebody irritates me or harasses me, or wastes my time, I’ll begin actively avoiding or dismissing them. Patrick Lencioni’s book, The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, identifies the absence of trust as the single most damaging poison within a business. This is absolutely the same in a media sales relationship.
The ability to successfully manage personalities, build genuine rapport and communicate authentically and timeously with your clients, will create so many more opportunities for your team. Spend time and money on developing your team’s soft skills and carefully look at the personality dynamics that exist within your sales exec’s portfolios.
Understand media buying behaviour
One can easily become fixated on proving to clients that we understand consumer behaviour. We bang on about what we know and how insightful we are, yet we miss the vital part of understanding media buying behaviour.
Within each team or business unit, there is an ecosystem that is in operation. Each team, agency or division has its differences. That ecosystem is how decisions are made, how information enters or leaves the group, what influence each person has on decision making. How we engage and who we engage with is important.
For example, your sales exec may find it easy to engage with a friendly media planner within a team and begins using that person as the channel through which he/she feeds information. Yet within that specific decision ecosystem, the media planner has very little influence and is completely intimidated by a controlling media buyer.
It is well worth evaluating your target personalities and to ensure you’re consulting with those who have influence and power of decisions.
Make sure your digital window looks great
No matter what media business you are in and what product you sell, your digital window is critically important. It is likely to be a potential clients first exposure to your business.
If you were given an opportunity to showcase your radio station, billboard or experiential media abilities to a packed FNB stadium, you would invest a ton of money to ensure that your product looked great to the 70 000 spectators. Yet, 70 000 in digital terms is a small audience. Unseen communities have the propensity to be very large and business’ need to place careful resource into your digital windows.
Believe in the sales process, focus on employing staff that can build trust-based professional relationships and invest in continuous training. Wishing all the media owners and agencies a prosperous 2021.
Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or tip-offs via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.