Life as a salesperson can be tough, especially in the fiercely competitive world of digital media. Media buyers have more options than ever, which is making it harder than ever for sales people to cut through the clutter and gain the attention of those elusive media buyers.
With that in mind, we asked some industry veterans what tips they’d give those just embarking on a career in media sales and what they wish they’d known in their early days on the job. Here’s what they said:
Be a student of media
Be students of all media. To understand the role of each medium and its respective strengths will lead to a better understanding of how media plans are constructed. Sellers who are fluent in talking about all media will lead dialogue-filled and thoughtful sales calls which should result in ad solutions that work for both sides of partnerships. — Peter Naylor, evp of digital media sales at NBC Universal
Don’t talk, listen
Never waste a buyer’s time. Too often sales folks think their job is simply to talk about their product. In reality, no one really cares about your product unless it can solve a problem for them, or help sell more of their products or services. So the time to talk about your product is after you have given the buyer some understanding of how you are going to help them. This is in fact where the real art of selling comes in and, of course, relies heavily on the seller’s ability to listen. Finally, build trust. Friendships are great, but trust is so much more important. And trust is really built around following the first two points and then delivering great results. — Jim Spanfeller, founder, Spanfeller Media Group
Just say no
Think about how you want to be perceived. This is true for both internal and external relationships. Always treat everyone in the same manner with how you would want to be treated. That sounds basic, but it’s too often overlooked in a business context. In client meetings, don’t be afraid to answer a question with “I don’t know; please let me get back to you.” That is so much better than winging it. Don’t be afraid to say no. Say it politely, of course, and explain yourself. But realize it’s a very effective word in business dealings when used appropriately. Remember that you are not here to make friends; you are employed to provide value to their business by working with your business. Don’t worry; you’ll make those friends after you provide value. — Jason Krebs, head of sales at Maker Studios
Be a great communicator
Read. Learn everything. Be a sponge. Treat everyone well. There’s no us and them, it’s we. You may need that operations person or sales planner more than they need you one day. Be the first one in the office. Often you’ll find it’s you and the CEO there at that time. Get involved. The IAB, for example, has many committees in need of active volunteers. Don’t get caught up in the next step. If you kill it, the next step will come to you. Socialize. Your peers on the agency side will matriculate. Some will become heavy hitters in a few years. Be a confident public speaker. Go to Toastmasters, a cheap and easy way to stand out in a crowd of other sellers. Be a great writer. If you can’t write well, you won’t be able to communicate well. I fire people for bad grammar. — Randy Kilgore, CRO at Tremor Video
Work your ass off
Work your ass off. Be the first one in and last one to leave every day. Be a student of the business. Build trust while building relationships. Don’t be all things to all people. It’s OK to say no, as long as you can turn that into a yes. Understand the agency/client dynamic. Be creative to break through the clutter. And work your ass off. — Steven Rosenblatt, chief revenue officer at Foursquare
Media Briefing: The case for and against monthly and annual subscriptions in the battle for retention
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions for improving retention in a subscriptions business. While annual subscribers might stick around longer for some, other publishers will have better luck with monthly plans.
Digiday+ Research: The economy will hit the media and marketing industries this year, but differently
The economy will plague both the media and marketing industries in 2023, but the hit will be uneven between publishers and agencies.
Podcast ad buyers have yet to see a slowdown
Ad buyers have yet to see clients cut their podcast budgets – though the time of podcasts as the shiny new medium may be coming to an end.
SponsoredWhy Best Buy Ads sees retail media as integral to its customer-centric purpose
Sponsored by Best Buy Ads Retail media networks have become critical for marketers, with retailers investing in ways that enable advertisers to engage consumers across online and offline channels. Given the wealth of retailers’ first-party customer data and measurement capabilities, retail media networks have become a natural fit for augmenting performance marketing programs. Alongside the […]
The programmatic open marketplace is faltering, but publishers see a bright spot in private programmatic deals
Publishers are coming to terms with their open programmatic marketplace RPMs being 20-55% lower than they were this time last year, but the hope is that programmatic guaranteed deals will make up the deficit.
Marketers weigh the cons of working with Google Ad Manager amid Justice Department’s new lawsuit
When is it time to back away?