Break the Curse of Media Kit Selling
salespeople in publishing today have learned to lead their prospects by asking
great questions and delivering unique and impactful audience first proposals.
The seismic changes in how a publisher monetizes its assets,
coupled with the evolving nature of how media is purchased, are wreaking havoc
on association publishing salespeople. So much so that many legacy publishers
are reporting sales turnover in the range
of 75-80 percent of their salesforce. But, remember, with every change
The characteristics that separate the successful sales
person from the mediocre are rooted in the ability to change and adapt one's
strategies and techniques to fit the new dynamic. The very best sales people in
the industry today have broken through the aged paradigm of media kit selling. Instead, they
operate in a new world where the skill of asking great discovery questions — coupled
with the presentation of a publisher's rich audience data — drives greater
revenue and higher margin sales.
Media kit selling is the legacy process that has governed
media sales for decades. Media kit selling follows a basic outline:
reviews the available products in the Media Kit.
ask what ads are available to buy.
calculate the rates for those ads.
review the total audience reach.
sales person asks/answers questions.
This products-ads-rates-audience-questions workflow of media
kit selling is endemic in publishing sales, and the paradigm has carried
forward even as the sale has moved from print to digital and publishers’
capabilities have exponentially expanded.
Professional strategic selling methodologies that exist in
other industries follow a much different flow. Leading disciplines such as The
Challenger Sale (Dixon and Adamson) teach a process that is contrary to the
old media kit sale:
your research prior to any initial sales discussion.
prepared to ask great questions.
the buyer on the influence of your audience.
a unique, diversified solution for your client needs.
a customized integrated proposal.
Of course, great selling requires an educated and willing
buyer.It is all too easy to dust off last year's RFP, push it through to
an agency, and buy from the media kit. That said, the more strategic buyers
amongst your highest-value prospects are the ones that will control the
greatest dollars in the future.
So, when the opportunity arises, what are the best-of-the-best
association sales reps doing when it comes to breaking the media kit sales model?
do their research in advance of any meeting to gain preliminary insight as
to how their audience might align with a client's objectives.
craft thoughtful discovery questions aimed to yield insight regarding the
client's actual target audience and marketing goals.
thoroughly understand the high-value profiles that their client expresses
particular interest in as well as the ultimate call-to-action they seek.
provide visual evidence and supporting detail on the level of segmentation
and targeting they can provide from their association’s audience data.
work with internal constituents to analyze available audience data and
create a custom solution for the buyer.
deliver a personalized, high impact, integrated proposal that highlights
the client goals and the ability to meet them.
Brett Keirstead is vice president, sales, at
Knowledge Marketing. He invites Sidebar readers to download the free
Definitive Guide to Buying and Selling a Publisher’s Audience.