Transitioning to Digital Ad Sales: Step 1 - Are You Ready to Do the Learning?
As always, information is power! There is simply no substitute for a substantial and complete understanding of the new world of digital advertising. There's no shortcut here. Taking the time and making the effort to learn all about it is essential. Having a cursory understanding simply won't get the job done. It's about becoming a student of a brand new game!
Leaders must learn the material first! Asking a sales team to dive into material that the leader doesn't comprehend is a non-starter! Success in achieving this mission begins with leaders fully understanding the new territory. Followers will know right away whether their leaders are really into it, or are simply faking it. The latter perception breeds a lack of respect for leadership and sends a signal that the mission really isn't that important after all.
Embracing digital ad sales is a race against time! Right now, most advertisers and marketers are way ahead of legacy media salespeople in terms of their understanding and embrace of digital advertising. Many legacy media providers are still trying to figure out how to build or launch digital assets as extensions of their established traditional platforms. It's up to the leadership of legacy media to close that gap as quickly as possible. The ad world will not slow down and wait for them to catch up!
Initial learning efforts should be externally directed. Installing a structured approach that is executed by a qualified third party will move the process forward faster and more efficiently. In addition, delegating this task to an outside entity strengthens the commitment to getting it done. It's also likely that an outside entity will be far better equipped to give the learners better and deeper instruction than they could develop on their own. "Self-taught" is not always necessarily better--this is one of those times!
Given the nature of digital advertising, a commitment to ongoing learning will be essential. Digital advertising is a work in progress, which continues to evolve constantly. Technology and the ongoing process of trial and error have dramatic and immediate impact on this new platform. It is imperative to stay plugged into the trends and developments, remembering that having a fundamental understanding comes first. Leadership must make another material commitment to have a process in place that disseminates critical information to everyone involved quickly and consistently!
Leadership must lay out a real "game plan" to ramp up for success in digital ad sales. 2015 will see even more ad dollars shifting from legacy to digital platforms. Smart legacy sales leaders will see this as a proactive opportunity as opposed to a reactive one. This is the time to go on the offensive instead of defending a rapidly changing status quo. Establishing benchmarks for enhancing performance are critical. Learning must always precede doing. Leadership not only sets the tone, but also lays out tangible steps with deadlines to move this critical undertaking forward!
Begin the New Year with a renewed commitment to incorporating digital ad selling into your sales team's arsenal. There are at least one or more competitors in your market that are already making inroads into this new landscape. Doing little or nothing at all is unacceptable. Making deep and comprehensive learning the vital first step will help to ensure success as 2015 unfolds!
About the Author
Buff Parham is a widely recognized thought leader and outstanding coach in the media sales and sales management field. With 35 years of sales experience, Buff has worked at Univision, FOX, Belo, ABC and CBS. He started in the mailroom at CBS, but quickly moved on to selling locally at KABC/Los Angeles and nationally for ABC Spot Sales in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York. Buff then continued on to spend almost 12 years with Univision, first as General Sales Manager at KUVN/KSTR in Dallas, and then 5 years in New York as SVP/Sales.
Buff believes that hard work matters and that raising the bar and having greater expectations tend to generate greater results. In his spare time, Buff finds cooking and playing golf to be two of the best therapies for a somewhat hectic existence!
Check out Buff’s Blog www.BuffParham.com
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.