Follow your "knows."
One: Know the Properties
First and foremost, you must understand what you are selling. Do you use and/ or subscribe to the site that you’re selling. Do you know the various sites that comprise the network you’re selling? If you don't understand the content, you can't expect to sell it effectively.
Two: Know the Targeting Possibilities
How can you help advertisers target the users who visit your site(s)? You can provide advertisers with the ability to display ads across the length and breadth of your site. If you sell a network, you also have the capacity to allow advertisers to show their ads across the entire network. You may also be able to give advertisers the option of targeting their messages to users who have context-specific interests that connect to a certain channel within a web site or a group of web sites. You may also be able to offer Behavioral Targeting (targeting based on past click history) or retargeting, which means focusing on people who have visited a certain site or pursued a certain offer in the past, who have made a purchase or abandoned the site during the conversion process. In those cases, it is imperative that you can describe to potential advertiser's your property’s (or network's) methodology for achieving success with these targeting filters.
Three: Know The Ad Units
Which ad units does your property support? Which size? GIF? Flash? Do you run video? Rich Media? If yes, which formats? What are your editorial guidelines about Rich Media formats? Although your company may only accept certain formats, you may be interested in knowing all the formats available. For the best answer to that question, consult the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), which comprises "more than 375 leading media and technology companies who are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States (iab.net)." Which standard ad sizes does your firm accept?
Four: Know What Account Management Can and Can't Do
Once you sell inventory to an advertiser, you will "hand off" the account to the Account Management team. When you do, the advertiser will have certain expectations about what is going to happen, how often it is going to happen, and how quickly the campaign as a whole is going to achieve success. It is your job to make sure that those client expectations are realistic especially as they move through the process to the AM team!
Five: Know the Pricing
How does your company charge advertisers? There are three popular pricing formats which you will certainly encounter. But you need to know which formats your company provides:
• CPM: Cost per Thousand - the advertiser pays a set fee for the serving of 1,000 ad "impressions" regardless of whether anyone clicks on them or not.
• CPC: Cost per Click - The advertiser only pays when someone clicks on an ad.
• CPA: Cost per Action or Cost per Acquisition (of a new customer/conversion; if the conversion is a lead, then this pricing is sometimes referred to as CPL - Cost per Lead) - The advertiser only pays when the click results in a conversion.
Advertisers may "speak" in CPA and you may only accept CPM. In that case, you will need to learn to become fluent in Media Math (if you are not familiar with this you need to learn it!) in order to help guide the customer through the relationship between the models.
Six: Know Who You Are Calling Today
Salespeople must be ready and know who they are going to call today. This includes knowing the target's name, their direct phone number, and email address. It also means knowing how many people you are going to call. For this you need to do a little reverse engineering – start by determining your personal goals and your company's sales goals. How much money are you trying to make? How many sales will you need to close each month to make that much? What is your average sale worth?
Seven: Know What You Are Going To Say and Ask
And finally, and most importantly, you are ready to call. You need to know the two most important questions which you will pose to every advertiser you will ever speak to:
1. Who are you trying to reach?
2. What are you trying to accomplish?
As you consider their answers, think about the first 5 "Knows" above.
- Are they trying to reach a target that is possible given your properties and targeting?
- Can you support their advertising goals with the ad units they desire?
- Will your Account Management team be able to reach these goals?
- Did they/can you boil their goals down to metric goals (that is, the amount of marketing budget they are willing to pay for each ad or conversion, which is sometimes called a CPA Metric?)?
- Can you translate their CPA metric into CPM pricing (assuming you prefer to accept advertisers on this basis)?
Once you know those 7 "Knows," you will be ready to sell online advertising. Until then, review them, learn what you don't know and put them into practice!
About the Author:
Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world. DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win. DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.