Four basic follow up strategies after the sale.

In a past life, where print was the only option available for our sales executives to sell, wefollow up did a pretty good job of measuring their performance. In today’s sales environment with digital products and services in our tool belts, we measure everything. From needs assessments completed, to proposals in the pipeline, to  contracts signed, we live and die in the numbers and in the CRM. In my opinion, it works very well and we should’ve been using the same approach much earlier in the game.

But just as important as making sure everything in the sales funnel is as it should be, we need to always remember to follow up after the sale. This used to be as simple as making sure a customer’s print ad was correct (and we definitely still need to do that). In today’s world of print and digital, following up with a customer throughout the campaign is critical to their success and repeat business.

Here are four things you can do today to make following through after the sale much more effective:

  • Double checking everything before the campaign is launched is critical to getting starting on the right foot with a client, especially if digital services and targeted display are a part of the package. In most cases, we’re dealing with third-party partners that execute these programs on our behalf so making sure we’re all on the same page in terms of the specifics of a client’s program is paramount. This responsibility could be in the hands of the sales reps or a sales assistant (think client sales/services manager), but I’ve seen cases where simply going over the specifics in the beginning would have saved grief on the back end.
  • Make sure the customer knows what to expect once the campaign launches. What options did they choose and what they can expect from each? When can they expect an initial progress report? Clients want results just as soon as they’re available, however, a report 2 days (or even 2 weeks) into a campaign cannot be used to determine the future success of that campaign. The sales reps need to clarify with their client when insightful data will be available for review. Otherwise the client may pull the campaign before it ever has a chance to take off.Lastly, What needs to happen in order for them to determine the campaign was successful?
  • Monitoring performance during the campaign is so important. If you didn’t follow    step one (double check everything) and even if you did, monitoring the progress of a campaign early on allows for corrections and adjustments that can still deliver the results promised to the client. A campaign looks one way on paper and possibly another when launched. Trust me on this one…no matter how thorough you were in the setup, this one step can prevent problems and ensure a win.
  • Reviewing results with your customer and gaining their feedback is the last step. Did the campaign deliver what is was supposed to? Hopefully your pre-work made that possible. What did you learn that could have made it better? What did your customer learn? Lastly, what can you use from this successful effort to build the next one?

Our sales executives are being asked to do more, sell more and know more than ever before. In an earlier post, I’ve written about the importance of making sure we have qualified sales executives in place and follow-through should be a part of every sales effort. This demonstration of being invested in the success of our clients goes a long way and helps to build a relationship for the future.

right employees

 

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Four things you can do right now to find and keep newspaper sales reps.

I’ve been encouraged by the new digital tools we can offer our current print customers to further drive their success. These tools are equally important when we reach out to former and never prospects. While print is still number one for many of our customers, others have left that option far behind, while newer businesses haven’t even thought of print as an option to drive sales in their business.  Digital services and retargeting are perfect solutions to bring in these two types of customer. However, digital sales create their own set of challenges including the need for continuous and extensive training, better recruitment efforts and fast adaptation of newly-developing digital solutions that appear almost weekly. In many cases, the same outside sales rep may sell both print and digital solutions while in larger markets, digital-only sales reps are the norm. With either method, the opportunity in driving up the active account base and increased revenue is tremendous, even with the challenges in execution.

Speaking of challenges, all the new digital tools in the world won’t mean a thing without the right person on your team to sell them. Take a look at almost any newspaper company website and tell me what’s the most sought after group of candidates…sales executives. We’re asking more of our salespeople than ever before so finding (and keeping) the right one is more important than ever.

So how do you do that? Here’s four simple ideas that might improve your current strategy.

  1. Always be recruiting. In my days as a circulation director, a wise telemarketing manager once told me the best time to recruit is when you’re at full staff. That makes perfect sense today just like it did back then. Continuously build your bench. Commit to at least one interview a week. Take note of the people you run into in your daily travels. How do they present themselves to you? Didn’t the server at your favorite restaurant have a great personality, multitasked, listened and was able to memorize a whole product line-up just to serve you well? Keep your eyes open and be ready to ask if they might be interested in working with your team. Build the bench.
  2. Homework. Once you have narrowed the list of candidates down to the last few or the one, we typically go into hiring mode and rush to get the testing completed and get the new sales person on board. In many cases, once hired, they go straight into a lengthy training class or basecamp (two-four weeks). It’s only when they get into the field that we really find out what they’re worth. So if things don’t pan out, you’ve invested significant time in the wrong person.  Before making the final decision to hire, schedule a second interview. The goal of the second interview is to give them homework. Have them explain the difference between SEO and SEM (or something else) and how both could benefit a business. Let them choose the presentation vehicle and schedule a return appointment for the next day. By doing this, you’ll get an idea of their presentation skills, willingness to learn and a better feel for their desire to secure this position.
  3. The ride-along. Figure out a way to gain clearance to do this. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will give a prospective sales person more insight into the job than a day in the field with a seasoned sales person. Not only will they get an idea of what it’s like to be hoofing it all day in 90-degree heat , they’ll also get honest feedback and insight from the sales person they’re teamed with.
  4. Talk them out of the job. The last stop on the interview tour is with the top sales executive or the publisher. Their job at this stage is to make sure the prospect understands the goals associated with the position and the challenges/rewards that go with it. It should be an honest, yet optimistic discussion.

If they are still with you at this point, hire them.

Sure, these extra steps take more time and must be completed quickly (before the prospect finds another job), but could pay off in the end with better retention and sales.

What do you think? Will it work? Would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions to help others.

 

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Newspapers Digital News Summary-4/22/16

Jeff RTNewspapers are maximizing the opportunities within their print and digital audiences while developing new products and platforms. The right mix-preserving print revenue, growing digital revenue and developing new revenue streams, are critical to building a sustainable model . See how newspapers are meeting the challenge including this week’s story-What local content will really drive audience engagement?

How people decide what to trust on social media and online Digital formats provide distinctly different opportunities for people to engage with news and information than do traditional print and broadcast media formats.

4 reasons why video is the future of social Watching video clips online is a fundamental internet activity.

What local content will really drive audience engagement? How do you define the mission and purpose of local reporting?

Recommendation engines for digital audiences: Buy, build, or sit this one out? Whether built internally or outsourced to a third-party vendor, properly created and executed recommendation engines can suggest content readers will like based on their past preferences.

Solutions-oriented journalism might be one way to re-engage local communities It’s tough to be in the business of local news.

Financial Times: ‘We are facing daunting conditions’ Warning of ‘tough times ahead’ as UK newspaper industry hammered by advertising slump.

‘Think monetization from day one’: Facebook’s tips for publishers using Instant Articles Using Instant Articles, they can now show readers using Facebook mobile a fast-loading version of their posts, while still also displaying some of their ads and measuring pageviews

Washington Post looks beyond unique visitors to time spent ad strategy If you are worried about robots writing the news that goes with your morning coffee, you can take a deep breath.

 

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Newspapers Digital News Summary-4/3/16

Jeff RTNewspapers are maximizing the opportunities within their print and digital audiences while developing new products and platforms. The right mix-preserving print revenue, growing digital revenue and developing new revenue streams, are critical to building a sustainable model . See how newspapers are meeting the challenge including this week’s story-The New York Times May Make It Harder to Use Facebook and Twitter to Jump Its Paywall

Meet Beta, the team that brings The New York Times to your smartphone On the ninth floor of The New York Times building, way up above the heart of the newsroom, is a decidedly un-Timesean operation.

How Publishers Can Maximise Early Morning Traffic A guide to how publishers can make the most of early morning audiences, using tools and practices.

An inside look at Facebook’s Instant Articles Beta testers of Facebook’s Instant Articles note that scroll depth of content is almost always more than 75%

Financial Times circulation rises 8% on digital sales New digital channels and innovation continue to drive record paid circulation.

5 best practices from Gannett playbook drive advertising sales excellence The most successful teams using the Gannett sales playbook excel beyond set goals, start their quarters with strength, leverage all resources, and recruit top talent.

The New York Times May Make It Harder to Use Facebook and Twitter to Jump Its Paywall The New York Times has one million digital subscribers, but it wants more. Now it looks like it’s trying to get them by plugging holes in its paywall.

Newspaper Association of America: ‘Digital ad inventory is not even close to infinite’ One of the great – and completely misguided – tropes of the digital age is that “digital ad inventory is infinite.

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Newspapers Digital News Summary-3/18/16

Jeff RTNewspapers are maximizing the opportunities within their print and digital audiences while developing new products and platforms. The right mix-preserving print revenue, growing digital revenue and developing new revenue streams, are critical to building a sustainable model . See how newspapers are meeting the challenge including this week’s story-Borrell On Local Dailies And Their Tiny Digital Ad Share: They Need A New Story

Why Are These Newspapers Putting Mugshots on Display? Tens of millions of people’s images are scraped and republished by mugshot websites

40% Of Americans Would Buy Digital Newspaper Subs (Maybe) Less than half of Americans (41%) said they might be willing to buy a digital subscription to a newspaper provided that they are presented with a persuasive argument

How the Financial Times is balancing reach versus return After years of success and steadily growing subscriptions, growth had started to slow around three years ago

For La Presse, the tablet is the future as it leaves print behind Publisher Guy Crevier says newspapers should change their model before they find themselves in a crisis

Paid and non-paid content – how to integrate both strategies News UK runs two papers with very different audiences and content: The Sun and The Times.

Membership will make up a third of the Guardian’s revenue within three years The Guardian has not been agile enough to respond to the challenges faced by the publishing industry over the past few years

The New York Times Re-invents Page One — and It’s Better Than Print Ever Was Ah, the art of the broadsheet Page One, with its mystical above-the-fold, below-the-fold double secret handshake code

Borrell On Local Dailies And Their Tiny Digital Ad Share: They Need A New Story Local digital ad revenue will grow from $48 billion in 2015 to $66 billion in 2016, Borrell Associates projects in its new benchmarking report

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Newspapers Digital News Summary-2/19/16

Jeff RTNewspapers are maximizing the opportunities within their print and digital audiences while developing new products and platforms. The right mix-preserving print revenue, growing digital revenue and developing new revenue streams, are critical to building a sustainable model . See how newspapers are meeting the challenge including this week’s story-Gannett Explores Parcel-Delivery Business

Why micropayments aren’t the ad blocking antidote Publishers have flirted with micropayments as a revenue stream for years, mostly unsuccessfully.

Toronto Star Idea Factory stimulates new products, revenue Before Toronto Star’s Idea Factory, employees had no way to find out what became of the ideas they dropped in the idea box. Now there’s a process for such innovation.

Herald Sun finds digital success with integrated, not digital-only, newsroom The Herald Sun is able to reach its local audience with timely, appropriate, and high-quality content by harnessing journalists’ strengths across all aspects of the newsroom.

The New York Times has a new email newsletter aimed at college students The newsletter, named The Edit, will be sent out every other week, and it’s just the Times’ latest attempt to target college students.

4 reasons Web hosting offers sustainable revenue growth for media companies Media organisations willing to take on Web hosting can secure additional revenue because it locks in clients, requires fresh content (that those organisations can help provide), and is only the first step in a myriad of Web services.

Understanding Audiences and Their Behavior When you look at the data for your community (or the community for your media product), you’ll see the diversity

Newsweek Is Dropping Its Paywall The Magazine Isn’t Dropping Digital Subscriptions, However

Gannett Explores Parcel-Delivery Business Prompted by the e-commerce boom, Gannett reached out to parcel-industry consultants as recently as December

 

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Newspapers Digital News Summary-2/5/16

Jeff RTNewspapers are maximizing the opportunities within their print and digital audiences while developing new products and platforms. The right mix-preserving print revenue, growing digital revenue and developing new revenue streams, are critical to building a sustainable model . See how newspapers are meeting the challenge including this week’s story-Last chance to save US newspapers

Apple plans to offer subscription content through News app Apple Inc is working to make subscription content available through its News app, giving publishers with paywalls a new way to control who sees their articles,

Newspapers aren’t dying as fast as you think Digital media executive Richard Tofel made a splash last week with an alarming post on Medium arguing that newspaper print circulation has fallen surprisingly low.

Publishers’ on-again, off-again relationship with apps is back on  There’s been a good case for most publishers to ignore apps. After all, people only use a few.

Wall Street Journal tests closing Google loophole to its paywall The Wall Street Journal has long had a strict paywall

What the media industry can learn from David Bowie David Bowie constantly pushed his creativity. Media companies can do the same by rethinking storytelling strategies and marketing ideas.

Last chance to save US newspapers Recently, journalist-entrepreneur Steve Brill laid down a beautiful rant in an interview with Poynter

Jeff Bezos on The Washington Post’s digital strategy, the future of print Jeff Bezos doesn’t spend much time in Washington, D.C. or at the offices of his Washington Post, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t mean he isn’t thinking about the newspaper he bought for $250 million

 

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