Media sellers need to understand data and have the ability to use it throughout the sales effort.
Simply put, data has become integral to media sales today because marketers have come to expect every aspect of their marketing efforts to be measurable. The sales conversation often starts and ends with data.
Of course, data is not new to the media business. In the past audience statements guaranteeing size and demographics were enough for a salesperson to convince an advertiser to buy a print ad. Once they bought the ad, the advertiser simply had to wait and hope for the best. And the salesperson would move on to the next prospect.
Today sales needs to have a more nuanced understanding and ability to introduce key data points throughout a consultative sales effort. Media sellers must hook a prospect with data that is meaningful to that specific prospect and its business objectives. Marketers also expect granular audience metrics up front to help calculate ROI for a marketing buy. And salespeople must keep an eye on campaign results and interpret the data for the client, recommending ways future campaigns could be improved.
Although media salespeople are not expected to have a data scientist’s understanding of their audience and their clients’ campaigns, they are expected to find meaningful data and communicate it to advertisers. That ability to help advertisers understand the data is invaluable. It transforms the salesperson into a true consultant and will help him close more and bigger deals.
Here we’ll look at a few key ways salespeople can use data to make a sale. In part two of this series, we look at using data after the sale is closed in order to keep and grow accounts.
The more relevant and specific data you can mine, the better.
Publisher data is an ocean and if you dump it on your client they’ll drown. You need to find specific data points that are relevant to your client’s business objectives. The more you can drill down into your audience data and show how your audience aligns with a prospect’s specific interests, the better. For example, when you go into a sales meeting with a prospect, make sure you have more to offer than, “We have 500,000 monthly visitors.” While that number might seem impressive, it’s actually more valuable to share a smaller subset of your audience that’s highly engaged in a certain topic. Can you connect a B2B technology company with 1,000 CTOs in the finance industry? That’s a compelling piece of data to share.
Ask for help.
Finding relevant data can be difficult and time consuming. But you shouldn’t have to do this on your own. Find someone on your digital, data, or marketing teams that can find answers to your questions and find the data nuggets that can lead to new sales. Ask management to make this a standard process if it’s not already.
Regularly review audience data and site usage.
You need to understand your audience and how people use your sites. Are there certain sections of the site that tend to attract a small but valuable segment of your audience? The only way to find out is to keep an eye on audience behavior through the lens of data.
Also, find out what reports and analytics tools are available to you. Former FierceMarkets president Maurice Bakley advises salespeople to review reports regularly. “It never hurts if you aren’t getting data to ask for it,” said Bakley. “What are the highest performing stories and where is that traffic coming from? You don’t want to turn it into a time suck, but looking at that report regularly will help.”
Tell your prospect how they used your site.
If you have the capability, find out for yourself or ask your data team how a prospect has engaged with your brand before the sales meeting. What articles did they read? What webinars or white papers did they sign up for? If you can walk the advertiser through all the different ways they interacted with your brand, than you’ve elevated the sales conversation and proven that you understand exactly how consumers interact with your content.
Share the stats of past campaigns.
Results speak volumes to advertisers. If a prospect is considering signing onto a native advertising campaign, show that prospect how similar campaigns have performed in the past. Tie the performance of these past campaigns to specific results, like number of leads or, if possible, sales generated.
For more on selling with data check out How Media Salespeople Should Use Data, Pt. 2: Refining the Client’s Campaign.