Many advertising sales managers know that their sales people need to be fed leads if they’re going to make quota. In the past, managers primed the pump with lists. Today, list-buying is less effective than ever before because they go out-of-date faster than ever. And given how different the buying process is today, most media sales managers feel lost about how to generate leads for their reps. The old ways just don’t work like they used to.
Never fear. We’ve got your back. Here are the five ways top sales managers increase leads for media sales people.
1) Put Your Media Kit Behind a Form
Every time your media kit is accessed/downloaded without capturing information on the person doing it, you’ve lost a lead and potential revenue opportunity. Stop that. Right now. Use a smart form and require first and last name, email address, and website URL. Make sure the information is at least being captured in a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Now you can assign leads to your reps, give them the info, do some follow-ups, and pull reports to track progress. Wow. Current information. How cool is that?
2) Create Useful, Relevant Content to Help Advertisers
Your reps need content that can help advertisers do their jobs better. Great content gives your reps a valid reason for follow-ups and re-contacts. Most importantly, content builds credibility, can short-circuit known objections, helps develop a trusting long-term relationship, and can even help speed the decision process and close the deal.
3) Put Calls-to-action (CTAs) Throughout Your Website and Social Media Outlets
Stop making advertisers work so hard to find your media kit. Create a graphic CTA that links to a landing page with the form in #1 above. Put that CTA everywhere that makes sense on your website. Share it on your publication’s social media sites and have your reps share it as well. Do some A/B split tests and try different headlines, graphics, and colors to see which CTA converts best.
4) Nurture Existing Leads With Email and Social Media
As you begin to collect leads from the media kit landing page form, your CRM database will begin to grow with these potential advertisers. If they’re not yet ready to buy, put them in a workflow that nurtures them with emails. Those emails should share additional content from your blog targeted at advertisers, as well offer premium content, e.g. an ebook on “How to Create a Conversion Campaign Aimed at Dentists.”
Use your lead’s interest in premium content to capture additional information about them by placing it behind a landing page and form. The form should be a smart form, requesting more detailed info, e.g. What’s your biggest marketing challenge, What’s your marketing goal for this year?
Follow them on Twitter, add them to a Twitter list you’ve created, add them into your Google+ circles, invite them to join a group you’re leading on LinkedIn, or to follow your publication's LinkedIn company page, or to like your company’s Facebook page. Once that happens, they’ll start to see your posts in their social media streams when you post them (see #3 above).
5) Join Related Interest Groups on LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different interest groups on the top three social media channels. Have your reps find 4 or 5 that are where your advertisers are likely to hang out. Join them, listen in, contribute information, ask questions, answer questions. The key is to be genuinely helpful.
Never, ever, EVER spam by posting your blog posts or CTAs. The only exception to that is when someone has asked a question and your post has information that answers it. Answer them directly and always disclose that it’s your (company’s) blog post. Don’t do that and you’ll get a bad rap. Someone is bound to flag it as promotional, self-serving junk and that will, literally, lock you out of posting anything, in any group, on that network. LinkedIn is especially strict with this. (Undoing that lockout has been known to take months.) The point to remember is always help others with no strings attached. Do it honestly, and it will come back to you a thousand fold.
Once you’ve developed some relationships, start creating direct connections. Usually the folks who have appreciated your help will ask for a direct connection, followed you, or they’ve put your in their circles. That’s terrific! That’s just the result you’re looking for. Once you have added 20-30 people from these efforts, you could also start your own group and invite them to join it. But don’t start until you’re prepared to lead and drive the group with interesting questions that start spirited discussions.
Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks
Using these techniques may be new to you, and your reps. They may feel uncomfortable at first, but after you start using them for a while, you’ll start to see a difference in the number of leads you’ll generate.
The main thing that’s changed about business relationship building is that most of it starts online today. That’s where people are spending their time. That’s where decision-makers, especially the younger ones, are hanging out. The sooner you get comfortable with these methods, and start embracing these opportunities, the faster you’ll generate a steady flow of leads for you, and your reps.