Question: to be truly valuable to their Employer and Client, and successfulfor the long-term, what must advertising salespeople become experts in?Answer: Advertising AND Sales. ADVERTISING SALES
Where Do We Start?The very first, most critical thing someone in Advertising Sales must learn is no different than in any otherbusiness:You first learn what you sell and how it actually works - and THEN you learn how to sell it.There are myriad number examples – in nearly every industry – that illustrate this time-proven practice:In other professions: – lawyers learn their industry knowledge - the law - and THEN develop Clients – Accountants learn accounting, and THEN develop Clients – Pharmaceutical salespeople learn at least baseline pharmaceutical knowledge – and then are taught the sales skills to actually sell to the medical communityEven in everyday B-to-C ‘jobs’, this practice is the norm: – Personal Trainers learn to be a personal trainer (physiology, etc.), and then works to enlist Clients – Even Hairdressers, the Masseuse, and the pest control guy learn their "trade" before they learn their "job“ (selling their trade). This has been the way its been done for thousands of years: you learn the trade, and THEN you get to use your knowledge to create and help Clients. Advertising is the only industry that does NOT do this. And as a result, we suffer attrition many times what other industries face.
What Will Happen if our AEs Become Advertising Experts?We will open more accounts, and do so in a way that will greatly lower Attrition.Is this important? YES – opening more accounts by becoming better at newbusiness development is obviously something that piques our interest.But…what about lowering Attrition? Should that – in and of itself – become amission-critical, all hands on deck effort for the organization?
Attrition: The hole in our ship we forgot to fix.
Measuring the Impact of Attrition on our BusinessIf a market does $10,000,000 per year in Revenue, andexperiences 30% annual attrition, then it begins the followingyear with only $7,000,000.If the goal is 5% growth, that market is expected to achieve$10,500,000 in revenue.But that’s NOT 5% growth. That market has to grow from$7,000,000 to $10,500,000 in that one year. That’s 50% growth.
And Beyond the Immediate Revenue, Attrition takes an even greater Toll… Client Attrition eventually leads to AE attrition – whether literal (they actually leave) or mental (they ‘check out’). And it is an exhausting, demoralizing, absolute time waster for everyone – the AE, Production team, Business Office staff, and mostly the Client (who may very well end up leaving the medium for a very long time because…”they tried it, and it didn’t work”.
How Do We Fix the Hole?To Solve the Challenge, we must first understand what it is, and it’s root cause.There are two kinds of Attrition: Uncontrollable and Controllable. Uncontrollable Attrition is defined as: attrition that is beyond our control –created by things such as macro-economic shifts (like a Recession), weather ordisasters, bankruptcies of Clients, agency changes by Clients, etc. Uncontrollable Attrition accounts for approximately half of all Attrition (15% ofrevenue annually). Controllable Attrition is defined as: attrition that occurs when the Client saysthe following statement – “I tried it, and it didn’t work”. Controllable Attrition accounts for the other half of all Attrition (15% ofrevenue annually).
The End of Controllable AttritionLet’s break down that definitive statement from the Client: “I tried it, and it didn’twork”.“I tried it” indicates the AE was successful in getting past the gatekeeper, securing anappointment, having a successful meeting with the decision maker, convincing themto use the medium, creating a commercial concept, producing the creative, schedulingand airing it, billing the Client, and collecting their payment.As an organization, we are very, very good at this (enormous) part of the process.“It didn’t work” indicates the AE was unsuccessful in educating and/or gettingagreement from the Client as to how our medium actually “works”.Why does this happen? Because the vast majority of AEs themselves don’tunderstand how our medium really works…
How Do AEs become Experts in Advertising? They learn to understand basic Consumer BehaviorThe Purpose of Advertising:Take advantage of consumer behavior . . .not change it.Asking consumers to “call now” from a TV or Radio commercial is simply asking themto change their consumer behavior – which they simply are not going to with anyconsistency, predictability, or frequency.As a result, Clients who demand “leads” – the real-time, instant, trackable leads wehave all come to know as their “barometer” for success – almost always end upcancelling their commitments with broadcast media.
The Key to Understanding How Advertising Works: Relational & Transactional MediaSome Media – Relational Media – are very good at connecting Advertisers with theirTarget Consumer before the need or want arises. This is where TV & Radio excel.And some Media – Transactional Media – are very good at connecting Consumers withAdvertisers when they are in the moment of need or want. This is where Google excels.In the mind of the Consumer, they are not competitors. In fact, they are used together,seamlessly to make purchase decisions. The Consumer’s mind uses one for onepurpose, and the other for another purpose.It’s that simple. And to be effective and efficient, an Advertiser must simply use themedia the way the Consumer does.
A Simple Example…It’s July 7th, and your air conditioning breaks. What do you do?Usual answers: check the fuse box, hit the thermometer, look online or ask a friend for a number for an HVAC company to come actually fix it. NO ONE ever says ‘watch TV’.What does this mean to us as an ad sales organization? It means we don’t generate instant, real- time, trackable leads. Why?Look at the example: If you air conditioner breaks, you go get the number from a friend or a Transactional Medium – a medium you naturally know to turn to for instant information to solve a problemIf your air conditioner is not broken, there is literally NO message the HVAC company can air that will get you to call.As a result, we’ll never generate ‘leads’ – as traditionally defined, for this category. And upon further review, for most other categories.
A Quick FactIn a room of 100 Advertising Salespeople, fewer than 7 will be able toname even 3 things they have purchased directly from a TV or Radiocommercial…in the last DECADE.And this group represents probably the most ‘tuned-in’ group ofconsumers in America. In other words, they watch and listen tocommercials far more often, and in a far more engaged way, than theregular consumer.And they don’t respond in the way most Clients use as the benchmark forresults. Why?BECAUSE NO ONE DOES.
How Big is the Challenge to our Business?As it stands now, our Client’s expectations for ‘lead-generation’ means that• The better we do for a Client in our first advertising campaign together, the greater the chance of cancellation of subsequent campaigns. – We are always trying to achieve that extraordinarily high expectation – We become our own competition• The greater the increase in spending that we get from a Client, the greater the chance of cancellation – Clients believe that an increase in spending should generate a directly commensurate increase in ‘leads’ – When that doesn’t happen, Clients usually do not “pull back” to the original spending level – they usually cancel their entire commitment.