Clients Want to Know What Business You’re In: Commoditized Media Sales or Business Growth?

We’ve worked with hundreds of media sales and agency new business executives on their sales skills and organizational efficiency. We’ve worked with the highest-performing teams and those who want to adopt the practices of the most accomplished in the business.

We have seen it all. Here’s the single biggest mistake we see media sales executives make with their sales messaging and proposals: not effectively correlating their advertising products to business outcomes that matter to the client.

Most think they do this quite well.

After all, “We deliver powerful reach that connects your brand with its target audience. We are shaping the future at the intersection of media and technology. We have unrivaled reach with the most highly-influential audience. We create original content that features your brand. We have the largest, highest-quality, most highly-targeted audience.”

This stops now. You are in sales to generate and convert business. And this means elevating your entire thinking.

Client Decision-Makers Focus on Meaningful Business Outcomes

Brand advertisers are being held accountable for tangible business impact like never before. As marketing now has the potential to be more effective, the pressure to do so has increased. They grow the business or they’re out. And it’s black and white for your sales efforts: play a role in this pursuit or you don’t. In fact, from a client perspective, why buy media from those who don’t focus on business outcomes rather than the growing number who do?

You might be thinking, “Yes Mirren, we know this already.” However, does all your sales messaging actually achieve this – consistently?

Most Media Sales Teams Do Not

In fact, most sellers are focused on the metrics of old. They speak to lower level measures such as awareness, impressions, reach, website traffic, click-through rates and social engagement. The problem is that every one of these can be improved – but without increasing revenue by one single dollar. Some do reference client impact at the outset of a proposal, but it is never addressed again.

Poorly Written RFPs Make Matters Worse

Although unintentional, most client and agency assignments mislead media sales executives. The challenge is that over-burdened client and agency buyers are delegating RFP requests and brief writing down to lower-level managers. You know this, you’ve been on the receiving end many a time. Unfortunately, these more junior team members do not have the insight nor the seasoned strategic horsepower to accurately represent the business needs of the organization’s C-suite. As a result, you have RFP’s with an inaccurate focus. This is often in stark contrast with the needs of senior clients who are selecting media opportunities based on their ability to impact higher-level business measures.

Align Your Sales Messaging with Senior Decision-Makers and Their Unique KPIs

Senior clients measure impact in a manner that is much different from their media managers, procurement and agencies. They focus on Key Performance Indicators, the metrics by which the C-suite measures the health and performance of their business and marketing. Clients live and die by their own unique set of KPIs. They are personally evaluated against them and, more importantly, they are compensated against them.

Here is where many sales teams miss the mark: KPIs are unique from one category to the next. They are completely different as you move from retail banking to QSR to hotels. The clichés and soft outcomes of most agencies are too generic to measure and improve specific business performance. Broad metrics are, in fact, dead. As senior clients are being held more accountable to directly improve revenue, their KPIs have become very specific. Category-specific.

Which Advertising Opportunity Are You?

Which advertising option would be more compelling to a retail banking client: one focused on driving Customers per Branch, New Accounts Opened and Products per Customer – or one focused only on awareness and reach. In the hotel industry, would it be an advertising property focused on driving inbound inquires, duration of occupancy and spend per occupancy – or one focused only on social media impressions, website traffic and click-throughs? The answer is obvious. And with a growing number of ad solutions starting to address category-specific business impact, why select those who are not? If you were in the client’s shoes, would you?

What Business Are You In?

In fact, clients have begun to ask this critical question of their media buys. Are you in the business of communications impact or business impact? Are you a tactical marketing vendor or in the business of generating meaningful revenue growth? If you’re not focused on driving business growth… well, then there are lots of better options to choose from.

Nadine Tull

Director, Agency Growth Strategy, Mirren

Mirren’s Media Sales Training Specialists provide the new tools and systems to turn your teams into more effective (and efficient) hunters. Applying new principles to address the market downturn, they will learn how to convert larger and more integrated programs at higher revenue – while shortening the sales cycle. LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR CUSTOM TRAINING PROGRAMS HERE >