Three Steps to Designing a Better Sales System with CPR
Richard E. Brown | for editor and editor
It’s 4:20 p.m. on a Friday, and one of your biggest advertising clients calls and says he wants to promote a special offer for an upcoming holiday in two weeks. They have a six-figure budget and they need you to present it to their board members the following Tuesday. What are you doing?
Arrange a quick meeting with your management team? Gather every promotional flyer and email on an overview of where you will put those advertising dollars? This scenario occurs relatively often with large and small advertisers throughout the year.
It may seem like there’s no problem with an advertiser wanting to quickly turn around an ad campaign. However, how confident are you in the functionality of your internal processes to ensure that all advertising campaigns are communicated and delivered correctly, effectively supported, scaled and consistently consistent for volume and annual retention in your sales floor? It may seem tiny, but it remains a persistent and mysterious problem in sales departments that could lead to lost revenue if not addressed.
The opportunity, however, I believe, is mildly amusing and simple to solve. That said, it does involve cross-departmental collaboration, investment of time and money, and a deep understanding of sales workflow logistics.
I’m not just talking about prospecting and assessing needs, but rather offering an in-depth evaluation of the effectiveness of the entire system for your salespeople. As a senior executive, how did you design the approach and methodology to generate new opportunities in a sales funnel, deliver and sell optimal solutions to your advertisers, and retain those customers year after year? If you’re curious about how to put your current technique to the test, compare them to these three suggested pillars of an effective and working system to help you out. breathe a little life and opportunity in your existing structure with CPR.
“It’s for Communication, and it’s by far the most vital building pillar to get your sales system started right away. As a department manager, take a moment to assess how regularly you communicate with current advertisers and prospects. Leverage your marketing department to share your organization’s brand, community engagement, services, testimonials, offers and promotions with regional businesses and current advertisers. As a leader, make the monetary investment in applicable email marketing software and stay committed to your sales team in the communication sent to their customers and prospects. The principle is to establish additional market share and brand awareness on your business features, benefits and promotions to drive higher quality inbound call activity and close ratios for your sales teams .
Traditionally, this approach has been a no-no because some sales executives and managers prefer full control over account communication. Strategize with your team leaders and collaborate with your marketing department so you can be strategic and focused in your approach while driving sales and revenue growth opportunities with new and existing advertisers overall.
Additionally, any new, current, or previously acquired prospect email should be placed in an email communication journey specifically designed to engage and improve the likelihood of those prospects doing business with your organization.
“P” is for processand it’s more like the traditional sales sequence, but there’s one important modification you need to inject.
Suppose it’s up to your sales team to take on a new direction through needs assessments, proposal delivery, and follow-up on engagements. In this case, it’s your responsibility as a sales manager to devise a system that makes RFPs and creative development basic, quick and efficient. Leverage software services or online forms to develop an RFP workflow with your design or marketing department that delivers compelling, compelling advertising proposals in one to two business days. These should include all advertiser goals, suggested product solutions, applicable discounts, perennial specials, and ad creative so your sales team and executives can maximize their time in the field.
Additionally, be sure to invest in cloud-based electronic agreement management software to streamline and organize your contracts with advertisers. Agreement software can help maintain consistency in corporate compliance, more easily define and affirm campaign deliverables, and streamline the signing process.
“R” is for retention, and this is the Achilles’ heel of sustainable growth and the sustainability of your service. Identify and automate critical touchpoints and follow-up communications. Think of your advertisers as brand advocates for your organization. Keep them informed about how their campaign is delivering and performing, but be sure to provide critical insights, advice, and feedback on amplifying their efforts. Build a trusted partnership and remind your customers how your organization helps them achieve their goals, applicable benefits they receive, and upcoming events or promotions. Make sure they are part of a communication journey and reduce the time between engagement points to better establish your organization as a go-to media partner.
Richard E. Brown is a News Media Alliance Rising Star recipient, former director of renewals and digital sales strategy at LPi, and former director of digital sales and operations for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He is currently Head of Digital Subscriber Churn for Gannett | USA TODAY NETWORK.