Sales Management: Avoid Digital Product Overload Syndrome!

“…the times they are a-changin’..’”

With those lyrics we realize that very little stays the same in our publishing businesses. Most of us are seeing the shift from traditional print revenue to digital dollars. As that trend continues, publishers keep adding more digital products to keep up with the demand.

Is it a sound business practice for publishers to pile on digital products?

Understandably, the sales peeps are screaming, “HOW MANY PRODUCTS DO I HAVE TO SELL?  Eventually, the sales reps become numb to the plethora of offerings. So they end up sticking with the ones they understand and can easily explain. 

And that resulting sales approach will never grow their business.

Here’s the solution:

Publishers need to make sure that each new product introduced is fully explained to sales, providing role-playing examples of when the product should be introduced and a sell sheet with screen shots and graphics.  Each digital product has a purpose and is the answer to a marketing objective.  Sales people need to know what they are.

I’ve mentioned so many times in the past that a good sales call is one where the rep asks lots of questions of the advertiser to learn about their goals.  And this should be done every year as those objectives change.

Here’s a cheat sheet on what to offer the client based on their answers:

  1. The client wants to brand their company or a new product.  Offer:  Print ads and high impact takeover website banner ads
  2. They need leads to build their database.  Offer:  Webinars, content downloads, third-party e-blasts
  3. Clicks to a product’s landing page on their site are the priority. Offer: e-newsletter banners, animated website banners, product spotlight e-blasts
  4. They want thought leadership on a subject.  Offer: Content marketing in print, digital or both, native advertising on your site, webinar, video

Don’t look at all the digital products you offer as a burden.

These are just a few examples of selling the advertiser what they need at the time.  Make sure your sales reps don’t look at all of the products you offer as a burden. Help them see it as an opportunity to help your customers reach their goals.



More about Nancy: Nancy works for Aviation International News as Associate Publisher and Ad Sales Guru, and has been involved with aviation publications for the past 20 years. She has also led Niche Conference Ad Sales Training sessions. She’s a B-to-B publishing vet and previously worked at Petroleum Engineer, Oil & Gas Journal, and Electric Light & Power.


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