Increase online sales in 4 easy steps

4 steps of online sales
One of the toughest tasks for any digital publishing or media company is to increase their online sales year on year. Technology has changed the way media business sells its offering to its potential clients. Gone are the days when your brand name was more than enough to achieve your online sales targets.
CMOs have become way too tech savvy now which puts the conventional, charming, cold-calling sales & BD specialist in a tight spot.
Lets face it, you cannot fool the client over few pints of beer or cups of coffee (well, not every time at least 🙂 ). The usual charm tactics of old days can take you only so far ahead.

An online sales person’s biggest battle is to find out, what does the client really wants?

Here is a simple sales checklist that would help your sales team step into the brand manager’s shoes, and eventually increase online sales:

Building Accountability

Let me re-phrase this from pre-sales standpoint, it actually means “Intent”. If your proposition offers a bland promise of delivering x no of impressions, y% click-thru & z% conversions, Reach/ SOV etc. etc., it will not get the marketing teams excited because 99.9% proposals have the same offering.

At times it is advisable to follow the rule book, just to be on the safe side. But, in order to shine in the heap, you need to build & highlight the accountability metrics in the form of showing Intent towards achieving all marketing objectives stated in the RFP brief document. Your pre-sales efforts should be to make the client believe, that all your efforts are clinically focused towards delivering a strong value to the brand.

Relevant Experience

Lets just say, nobody wishes to put their marketing dollars in the hands of a layman. It is normal human behaviour to reduce the risk by following/doing something which is tried & tested. Today, when client has so many options, they always want to opt for the safest option first that can deliver the results. No wonder brands like Google are the biggest beneficiary of that mindset. Hence, it is highly recommended to showcase your strengths in the respective category and even if you do not have any past experience in that domain, you must demonstrate it visually through some past case study as to how you delivered those metrics for some other brand.

Knowing the Customer

Get this thing in your head, every client wants you to come prepared with your research on the basic target audience of the brand. They want you to know, not just the nuances about your own product but also the basic elements of audience segmentation. In the world of media, marketeers are paying millions of dollars, just to interact with the right audience, hence it is absolutely vital for them to know if you have a clear understanding about their market. During your Pre sales research about any prospect(brand), make sure you have created a ready to use guide about the client for reference purposes. This would include the most basic level information about the brand i.e. their core target audience, list of products, info about their most recent ATL, BTL, Online, Mobile, Social Brand/ tactical campaigns along with any other company information/development. You never know when it would come to your rescue during the marathon client meetings.

Technically Yours

If you are selling a perfume, you can glorify its fragrance only if you understand the sense of smell. I guess Technology is no different, your words would mean nothing unless you demonstrate your love and passion towards technology through Technology.

Your Sales team members should not just be knowing about the product, they should believe in their product and should be perceived as ad-tech specialists by one and all. Remember, they are your true brand custodians at all times.

How to write client proposals in a digital agency?

Client Proposal in Digital Agency

If you are new to digital sales, its an uphill task for you to come into the groove straight away and start getting revenue for the company from day 1.

However, you can certainly build an intent to make a difference to your pipeline by calibrating your digital agency proposals or RFPs by keeping into consideration the below points:

Product Relevance

First, and the foremost question you must try and answer for the client is why your product relevant for the brand in achieving their most critical brand marketing objectives (both strategic & tactical). So whether it is expanding the brand reach in an exclusive territory like a particular ethnic group/ community or it is driving a strong engagement amongst a niche audience across different geographies. Remember, in any case, how you will target the brand’s core audience will remains a key focus.

Innovation

Second, explain how your product/offering brings any strategic leverage for the brand. In simple terms, does it allow the brand to venture out and experiment or play with their current brand messaging in a more innovative way? If your proposal is also offering run of the mill solution to the brand, chances are that your sales person would end up standing in the long queue outside with other vendors.

Domain Experience

Third, what’s your relevant experience in the domain? Not all clients but certainly the high spenders like to work with selected vendors whom they believe have the technical prowess & proven expertise to deal with any future troubleshooting situation, especially when there is serious money at stake. If you position yourself as somebody who can just do the job well by offering competitive pricing, the person on the other side of the table ain’t gonna take you seriously. Agency planners need to see the WOW factor in your proposals every time and nothing better than offering them relevant case studies examples of their client’s competition. So next time, make sure you beef up your proposals with certain strong case study examples.

Understanding of Brand Objectives

Fourth,  have you understood the long term objectives of the brand? For instance, if the brand is launching itself in different geographies, it would expect its partners to bring key market insights on the table to allow him to take future decisions about the brand positioning vis-a-vis the competition.

Vision for Scalability

Fifth, is your approach scalable in future? Interestingly, very rarely I’ve seen this approach in vendor proposals where they talk about how they will span out a strategy which will evolve in the long run and would benefit the brand by offering scalable solution. More often than not most of the people offer a short sighted approach which may or may not give long term returns to the brand. For instance, a lead generation strategy should also come with future customer engagement plan for better customer acquisition.

Content marketing for B2B companies

Content marketing for b2b2

There is a never ending talk around using digital content marketing for B2B and how it can drive generate more leads and eventually sales numbers.

Content, as we all know, is a highly misnomered term in our digital marketing world. For some, it is merely few keywords that can boost up your ranking in the search engine, while for others it is journalistic power that can change the fortunes of an individual, an organisation or a nation.

Unfortunately, everyone is a content creator today, starting from the neighbourhood SEO company to your personal public relations agency and last but not the least, the Social Media experts who truly believes that their tweets will conquer the world, someday 🙂

Incidentally, the idea of content being created (rather carved) strategically for the B2B brand is no less than journalism. The content ideas for any brand should not be driven by SEO keywords only, rather it should be an informed decision made by the marketing teams with the intent of offering something new to their perceived target audience.

The concept of SEO content can surely generate a lot of hits on your website or landing page in the short term but it may not be the actual game changer in the long term.

Creating a strategy in content marketing for B2B is an art, science & philosophy, all put together into one single tiffin box which is then served to the audience (hot and fresh) with the clear intent of winning their hearts forever.

In this case, expert content editors can really work their charm and magic on your current marketing approach. They know exactly what content to be served to whom, who likes what, what should be the desired response from certain audience, how should a brand story be narrated in order to convey the right marketing message in between.

Here are few pointers that can transform your web & social media content into active brand newsroom.

Identify the audience and spend your energy in knowing their content habits

Find out whom you really want to target first on the web, whom would you like to get stumbled upon your brand through search engine or your social page.

Make a serious effort through researching their online content consumption habits.

Find out what they like to read, watch & engage with. Gather this data and keep serving your potential customers with the right content in your own unique style.

Identify the content formats they consume

Try finding what formats they consume easily.

Are they voracious readers, are they one of those who read books and newspaper cover to cover, or are they savage rich media & video gulpers?

Do they like high end 3D gaming environments, or are they all time radio fans who love their iPods & iTunes?

Is your target audience the one who likes every single photograph they see on their Facebook timeline or retweets every single joke or quotation on twitter?

These patterns can tell you exactly what content format you need to use to get the instant connect with your target audience.

Find out where do they go to find their content

It would make your job rather easier if you know the right place & context when you can connect with your audience.

Offering health content to people when they are looking to lose weight on a blog or through an app is the best context you could find for your content, similarly offering content around insurance services when someone is looking to buy a flat could well be the right context.

These contexts can help you win their trust and will position you not as a seller but as trusted advisor.

It doesn’t matter where the content is served, so long as the context is correct. You must know the places your audience visit to find that content.

Be it a website , a WordPress blog, a forum, a Social Network like Facebook, twitter, an app like Instagram, Pinterest or Watsapp. Make your brand’s content stay relevant wherever your audience is going.

Know what is liquid about your content

Higher the liquidity, the better the share-ability of your brand’s content, you must know what is the liquid element in your entire content strategy. What is it that would compel your audience to share it with others. Journalistic content is no good if it is not thought provoking or exciting enough to go viral among the target audience.

In the end, I would leave you with an interesting video talk by CMI:

To summarise this, here’s some food for thought

Content is created for humans, not search engine algorithms.

~ Anonymous Marketeer

4 simple hacks to close more digital ad sales

digital ad sales closure

In my career, I must have interacted with hundreds of digital ad sales professionals from around the globe, while some of them were my colleagues, others I’ve worked closely with as a client. Often the difference between a good, bad & ugly ad sales person is visible immediately after the first meeting.

With social media becoming one of the most sought after marketing platform, role of an ad sales person has become even more tougher as most of the marketing focus & priority has shifted to capturing social landscape through powerful audience engagements on Facebook, Twitter & YouTube.

Interestingly, even after a significant change of media landscape, there is tremendous opportunity for ad-sales teams to offer value to the advertiser. Lets not forget, most of the brand advertisers hate blindness when it comes to spending their marketing dollars and they keep on looking for newer avenues & opportunities to reach out to their target audience.

Besides having great client relationship skills here are few pointers that can really help the ad sales to make a strong business case:

Talk Marketing not Sales

Whenever you are meeting any brand or marketing person, do not start the conversation with your website / ad network / solution, instead set the context from how marketing teams are leveraging digital platform for achieving different metrics. Always keep a case study handy from a latest successful marketing campaign. Even better if your website/ product was part of that campaign. That gives you a connect or hook to bring your service / solution into the discussion without making it look like a cheap sales pitch.

Listen, not Speak

It is difficult for an ad sales guy but I’ve seen this on numerous occasions in my career, meetings where the client is talking 60% of the time are more successful compared to when the sales person is too busy delivering a never ending sales pitch. You have to find a way to bring your client into the discussion. Listening to your client will give you clues as to how to make your offering relevant to the client’s most critical requirement. Even more important, client would give you complete hint as to how they want the proposal to look like. Do not let your “typical” sales mentality rule over you. It is time to listen and not speak.

Know about your Technology

One of the reasons why digital selling has become increasingly difficult is because nothing remains constant in the digital world. Technology has made every strategy a perishable. So in order to be in the driving seat, you must know what is going on in the technology world. Keep an eye on the competition, has anyone launched an app in your domain, how popular is that app? How can a client use re-targeting in their campaign? Which ad platform offers best technology? Which campaign used technology in the best possible manner & how?

Often during the client meetings, you would see the conversations digressing into different directions, often technology becomes the topic of interest across brand & marketing teams. For someone who is not aware of these changes may just lose interest of the client very easily. Especially, when you meet your client in a third party event or seminar, your knowledge can really get you great clients for long term.

Learn to move on

Know when to stop chasing any client. Imagine, you’re after a huge account with big potential, and it seems like your solution is just what they are looking for. Yet, many times, a sure thing turns out to be a no-go. Digital salespeople waste too much time chasing what they think should be the ideal fit. Instead, focus on the clients who love what you’re offering, and build those partnerships. You never know; you might just find a winning approach for your client after focusing your attention elsewhere for a short time. Then you can go back to them later with a killer proposal.