3 Steps to Making a Successful Traditional-to-Digital Media Sales Transition Blog Feature
Steve Bookbinder

By: Steve Bookbinder on March 31st, 2017

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3 Steps to Making a Successful Traditional-to-Digital Media Sales Transition

Digital Media Landscape | Sales Training | media salesperson

If you were selling advertising a few years ago, you were living in a much simpler world.

Today, media sellers are fending for their livelihood while going up against non-conventional competitors who are taking the lion’s share of ad budgets.

As we rapidly move towards a digital-first mentality, how can media sellers who have predominantly focused on TV, radio, print, or out-of-home advertising leverage their skills and knowledge to gain a competitive edge in the digital space?


Here are 3 steps media sellers can take to get started making a successful transition:

Step #1: Educate Yourself

Learning something new is both exhilarating and exhausting. It requires making an effort to not only utilize the resources around you, but also taking personal responsibility for your path to success.

So, if you’re just getting started, it’s important to take a self-assessment of your current level of knowledge. What do you know? And what don’t you know?

First, what do you know? These are topics you’re comfortable with and if you had to lead a sales conversation about it, you would feel confident.

Then, consider what you don’t know. Select the topics that you feel are the most challenging and then work towards gaining a better understanding.

For instance, let’s say your company just added a new type of branded content offering. Take the opportunity to learn everything about the offering and make sure you have examples and case studies if possible. Examples can help you visualize how and why the offering works as well as provide ideas and inspiration for creating your next big idea for a client. You should also get familiar with what the competition is offering so that you can be ready to speak to how and why you’re different.

Your client must understand digital marketing and perceive you as an extremely knowledgeable resource on the subject. In other words, you need to develop expertise and specialization.

Step #2: Translate Your Message into the Language of the Buyer

In addition to educating yourself about the advertising and marketing space, you must have an excellent handle on the industry and type of businesses you’re targeting.

When you make an effort to learn more about the details of the businesses you’re working with and apply that information into a creative solution, you’re well positioned to establish credibility and build trust. This is because there are no hidden gimmicks when your goal is to educate and provide value.

You can think about how to translate your message by considering:

  • What problem am I solving for?
  • How does my solution apply to the company I’m selling to?
  • What similar types of companies have we worked with? What results were delivered?

Sign up for industry newsletters and start following thought leaders so you can stay up-to-date on new developments and trends. You can also use that information to tailor your communication, because when you know the language of the buyer and the business, you can easily translate your message into valuable insight applied to their situation.

Step #3: Reinvent Yourself

Don’t get hung up on the past – reinvent yourself for the future.

While the introduction of new technology and capabilities adds an element of complexity to selling, you must simplify your thinking.

You can’t learn everything over night, but you can take small steps towards thinking like an integrated marketer every day.

What does it mean to think like an integrated marketer?

It means you’re constantly testing new approaches and thinking differently. It means you’re leveraging your past experience selling traditional advertising by combining several media channels and tools under one big idea, in order to produce a greater experience for the consumer.

If integrated thinking is still new to you and you’re struggling to connect the dots about how various media channels can work together, start asking yourself:

  • What does digital provide?
  • How does it work?
  • How do I effectively place it into a marketing plan?
  • How does it complement the other media channels?

Remember, the value of your offering is based on how well you can explain it.

So, as you educate yourself about how everything fits together, take note of unfamiliar words or phrases that commonly come up and then learn what they are. Once you’ve taken the time to understand the word or phrase, practice using it in a conversation. And the next time it comes up, you’ll sound like a pro and make a great first impression in the meeting.

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About Steve Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is the CEO and sales expert at DMTraining. He has delivered more than 5,000 workshops and speeches to clients all over the world and has trained, coached, and managed more than 50,000 salespeople and managers. Steve continuously refreshes his training content to reflect his latest first-hand observations of salespeople across industries and regions. Through him, participants in his workshops and coaching sessions learn the best practices of today’s most successful sellers and managers across industries. Steve understands that sales is a competitive game. To outperform competitors and our own personal best results, we need to out-prospect, out-qualify, out-present and out-negotiate everyone else, not merely know how to sell. Through his specialty programs in Pipeline Management, Personal Marketing, Great First Meetings, 2nd-level Questioning, Sales Negotiating, and Sales Coaching, Steve trains sales teams to master the skills they need to overcome the challenges they face in today’s world… and keep improving results year over year.

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