If you are in digital media sales or represent clients on the agency side, you know what I’m talking about.
You may have over promised and got lucky, or maybe you didn’t set expectations accordingly and scrambled to retain the business. Hopefully, instead, as you lookback on the year you will celebrate a well-executed strategy that paid off better than you or your client expected, and you have the data to back it up.
Perhaps, there are a few regrets you encountered over the year. Do any of these sound familiar?1. You didn’t listen to your client’s needs and made some assumptions.It’s a fast paced industry and it’s tempting to take some shortcuts. But, that doesn’t provide an excuse for not taking the time to truly understand your client’s business, provide a fresh perspective and challenge traditional thinking and objectives that won’t grow their business. What do clients really want? I can guarantee it’s not better targeting or higher click-through rates. It is more phone calls, in-store traffic and appointments, or increased site traffic with more post-click engagement.

2. You focused on selling a tactic instead of an objective.

Oh what fun it is to introduce a shiny new toy like geo-fencing, conversion zones or beacons! Those can be effective components of a campaign, but they shouldn’t be the reason you got the sale. Agree on what the real objective is – a measurable result to be seen in a defined set of time – and what your client needs to have happen in order for them to renew with an increased spend. Try a budget-based campaign with measurable objectives that will help meet the business goal, and let your optimization team worry about what tactics and strategies to focus on to make it all happen.

3. You closed the deal and quickly moved on to the next one.

I know…you have a goal to hit, commission to make, etc., but if you don’t see it through and make sure a client’s campaign is set up and running properly, your accounts will fall out from the bottom of your pipeline faster than you can replace them. It might not be your job to traffic the ads and set up the tracking tags, but if things go sideways you know whose commission check is on the line. Showing up at the end of the month without referencing the dashboard or with a report that only shows impressions and clicks isn’t going to cut it. Make sure you have post-click analytics available by using Google Analytics and Call Tracking via JavaScript or Google Tag Manager and if you don’t have easy access to the advertisers site, there’s reverse proxy technology.

For some, these winning qualities will ring a bell.

4. You pushed back on a bad idea and it paid off big.

You’ve been selling media for a long time and you can spot a recipe for disaster a mile away. Putting 80 percent of their display budget into retargeting when their site traffic is well below their industry standard isn’t going to pay off. Don’t be so quick to agree with whatever your client wants; ask them why and push back if it’s not something you’d recommend. You’ll earn their respect, and more of their budget.

5. You took extra time to pull some research, won the business and outperformed the competition.

There’s plenty of free information out there to help set you apart from the competition. Take the time to set up Google Alerts; and use tools like SEMrushSimilarWebClaritasPew Research Center and HubSpot Research. Dig around, learn their industry and monitor their competition. If you or your research team are fortunate enough to have access to BorrellKantar or Moat data, or can run a scorecard report from AdMall or Vendasta, you can help clean up a client’s listings for better SEO. A little more effort on the front end of the sale goes a long way!

6. You included some traditional media and events as part of the mix…winning!

You know any good marketing director or CMO knows better than to put all their eggs in one basket, so don’t expect them to spend all their budget with you. Instead, you might suggest some of the more traditional products in your company’s portfolio to help extend the reach and build momentum. Agencies know the value of a diversified media mix, so should you. Consider high-end video and events!

Now that we’ve looked at some smart, and not-so-smart approaches, here are some 2017 resolutions to consider…

  1. Look for efficiencies by leveraging tools that allow for more strategic selling and less spreadsheets.
  2. Invest in advanced analytics and a dashboard that helps tell your client’s ROI story.
  3. Focus less on Impressions and Clicks, and more on measurable objectives like phone calls, emails, increased page views, and leads and conversions that can be directly tied back to a specific tactic or campaign.
  4. Put in a little extra work when it comes to preparing and listening to your customers.

John Hoeft
General Manager, Tru Measure