Archive for August, 2013

Making the Most of Package Evaluations

Friday, August 30th, 2013

by Kathrine Glass

There can be many frustrations when pitching and negotiating a promotional or sponsorship package.  One that seems to come up a lot with our clients is during the evaluation process.   It seems there is often a disconnect between what the station has submitted and how the client evaluates it.  I have found that the more you understand how the client evaluates and the more you have thought through the package, the more efficient, and often successful, the process goes.

Here are a few tips to avoid frustrations and move the evaluation process along faster:

Stop submitting canned packages! While it is always a good idea to have base packages built out for your various assets, you need to remember that every client is different.  Their needs and goals are different.  You may have a client that just wants to get their name out — they just need branding.  Then there may be others that want to capture consumer data for future conversion.  The trick is to take the same base package and add or subtract elements or position certain elements to meet the specific objectives for the client.  Take a stage sponsorship, for example — One client wants branding only. Great! All elements of your stage package can meet that goal.  The other client wants data collection.  What if you were to convert some of the stage support to a contest for VIP tickets to a special area at the stage?  Or maybe you create a special photo booth area near the stage to activate the brand and capture data that way?  Either way, you are taking the base and building on it.

Understand how specific elements are valued by your client before you submit your proposal.You are going to have to ask questions around this and some clients may be more willing to share the information with you than others.  The bottom line is that you are trying to put together a package that will meet their requirements and efficiencies.  The better you understand those, the quicker they can do their job of evaluating and the sooner you can get on to execution. Do they only give an $8 CPM for banner ads vs. the $10 CPM that you typically charge?  Do they value audio tags on spots as a certain percentage?  Would ¾ promotional message and ¼ client message change their valuation? What can help you capture a higher percentage?  There are some elements that clients will put no value on at all. Do those need to be included? If they don’t value them, should you give that asset to someone who does? You need to understand as much as possible so that you can more effectively price out your package and maximize the amount of money that you can capture.  Don’t let the client devalue a great package.  You need to know up front what you are up against so you can structure effectively.

Include a list of all deliverables complete with sizes, what graphic elements and logos will be included and sample copy. This not only will demonstrate that you have thought through all details, but it will save you time in the long run because all you will have to do is confirm the elements with the client and then pass the list to your production or promotion team. This deliverable list turns into a road map telling your team exactly what the expectations are and what will be needed.  This seems to be one of the biggest things that our clients miss.  They may say that a client will get X amount of GRP’s or X amount of impressions but they don’t provide a schedule and they don’t provide digital sizes or where the ads will run.  This lack of information means that the client has to go back to the station, request additional information, wasting valuable time on something that could have been clarified up front.

It’s hard enough to get to the point of submitting a proposal.  If the client takes the proposal then chances are they like your general concept and ideas.  They just need to be sure that the ROI is there.

Make the most of it and help your clients and yourself to be successful by following the simple steps.

Get in Front of the Money

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

by Ginny Speaks             

Can you believe we are in the middle of August?  I found myself asking this question when I was booking my market trips for September.  Where did the first half of the year go?  I do hope all are hitting budgets and moving into the back half of year with good momentum.

Most companies begin planning their budgets about 6 months from their fiscal year end and the majority of companies follow a traditional calendar year.  With this said, now is the time to begin probing on all calls about next year to get in front of the money for 2014.

Companies that are on a calendar fiscal year begin planning in September and October for the following year.   Set yourself up for success now on all your prospecting and current client conversations.  This will not only build credibility with your clients, it will put solid appointments on the books.

Also, talking to decision makers now about 2014 relaxes them. When you get them on the phone this time of year, often the first thing they will say is that all their money is spent – with no dollars remaining to do anything for the remainder of the year. By talking immediately about 2014, this barrier is dropped and you can have an intelligent conversation about what you can do to engage key consumers or businesses in a fully integrated program.

Of course, sometimes dollars are left over from the year. The term “use it or lose it” definitely holds true in a corporate environment so get in there and try to scoop up the left overs too.

Timing is everything and by getting in front of the money now, you will see a huge payout not only in your rapport with clients, but in your ability to secure larger dollars and increase your closing ratio. You will also eliminate those budget objections we hear from time to time, such as “we have already allocated our monies for the year” or “this year is already done.”

Just this week, during phone coaching sessions with sellers, we set appointments to begin those 2014 discussions, one with an automotive brand and one with a bank.

The Importance of a Solid Needs Analysis

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

by Susan Novicki            

I just got off a sales call with a client of mine and an automotive prospect and I realized how critical it is that we are always reaching back to decision-makers to make sure that we truly understand the needs of the client and that the needs have not changed.  Just a few months ago, the only focus was on a specific series of models and their very targeted consumer.  Nothing in their current advertising or marketing would have told us that this had changed.  Nothing on their website would direct us to a change.  But the sales rep and I decided to set up a call to do a new need analysis working into the latter part of the year and into 2014.  The first words out of the decision-maker’s mouth were “the focus we discussed is out and now we are focusing on two new models” with a completely different target consumer.  From that point, we had an hour long conversation about the objectives with this new target and the models they will be introducing within the next few months, finishing the conversation with a homework assignment and a budget.

This reminds me that many times in doing a need analysis when we finish the conversation and set up a follow up appointment to present idea starters or concepts, it is critical to touch base before the meeting to make sure that things have not changed in between meetings.  Every so often things do shift and the focus is moved.   We will have a more productive follow up meeting if we are up-to-date on any changes that have occurred so our strategy is in line with their new objectives.  And as we work the process to closing business, we have to make sure that the objectives are solidly in place as we understand them so that our program will meet those objectives and help the prospect to realize and exceed their expectations.

Too often we make assumptions or we want to fit a prospect into an event or a program that we are doing without truly identifying the need and creating the program based on the need.  Too often we aren’t listening to the prospect and only focused on what we are trying to sell.

Now is the time that we should all be talking to decision-makers about 2014.  Everyone, from automotive to consumer packaged goods manufacturers to financial service companies to home improvement companies to wireless service providers, are starting to plan for 2014.  We need to be in front of the dollars so we are getting the six figure deals instead of waiting until we are in the quarter and getting the “crumbs” of whatever is left in the plan.  And we need to make sure that we are consistently fine-tuning the need analysis knowing that the focus can change in a month.

Preparation and consistent communication is the key to success in all of this.