How to Ensure You Get the Right Advertising Sales Platform
By Louis Cicio
If you’re like most media companies, you’ve grown either through acquisition or by developing a diverse range of media options. Either way, your growth most likely has created complex technology stacks of systems that are expensive to maintain and incapable of integrating with one another. As a result, you have limited visibility into the health of your business and no single place to store your customer information.
This leaves your ad reps without the information they need to close deals quickly. And it leaves you and your management team without the topline performance insights required to make decisions in real time to increase profitability. Day in and day out, digital pure plays like Google and Facebook are gobbling up the available ad spend from your customers.
Did you know there are advertising sales systems out there that can help you win back your customers and sell smarter? Well, there are. However, finding the right system for your media business can be tricky.
At this point you might be thinking, “But I’ve got another year (or more) of maintenance on my legacy system, so my safest bet is to stick with it even though it doesn’t provide me with the tools I need.” Based on the many conversations I’ve had with media companies, this decision is likely going to cost you way more than you think.
Here are eight questions that your existing advertising sales system provider hopes you’ll never ask – but I’m hoping you will.
WAS DIGITAL AND MULTICHANNEL SELLING IMPORTANT WHEN YOUR ADVERTING SALES SYSTEM WAS CREATED?
Both print and digital sales are critical for your media business. And multichannel audience selling is here to stay. Many of today’s well-known systems have “bolted-on” features to support digital and other channels of advertising as an afterthought. How much has your vendor really invested in innovative digital system development?Given the investment and time needed to successfully implement a new advertising sales platform, what confidence do you have that this vendor is the correct long- term partner? How much investment is devoted to expanding its media business and its staff?
IS YOUR SYSTEM 100% CLOUD-BASED?
Many providers claim to be cloud-based, but often their claim is only partially true. With your current provider, is anything other than a modern browser necessary to get full functionality on a user’s computer? Is the system mobile and 100% effective across all devices?
DO YOU HAVE CRM AND LEAD-GENERATION TOOLS THAT MINE CUSTOMER AND COMPETITOR INFORMATION TO GIVE QUALIFIED SALES OPPORTUNITIES TO SALES REPS?
If you are seeking a true end-to-end advertising sales solution, it should be helping you maximize sales opportunities from lead generation through to final billing. Is the system you’re using or evaluating providing real-time lead generation and conversion analysis across all sales activities?
HOW LONG DOES AN UPGRADE TAKE?
A real cloud-based application can be updated in just a few minutes and requires only an upgrade to the server software. Does your provider’s system upgrade involve any change to existing systems, and will all modern browsers continue to work? Is the upgrade included in your subscription and license agreement for free?
HOW OFTEN IS THERE A NEW RELEASE OF YOUR SOFTWARE?
Does your vendor regularly schedule updates to ensure your software is constantly being enhanced with new features? At Lineup, for instance, we release new updates every six weeks. We also reinvest 20% of our revenue each year in ensuring we develop the features and product innovations that will ensure you are on the cutting edge of industry opportunities.
WILL I BE SURPRISED BY HIDDEN EXTRAS AND UNEXPECTED COSTS?
Many vendors quote an original price, but when you want upgrades or full functionality, there is an extra charge. Is your vendor providing a fully functional, lead-to-order management system for your business? And what will it really cost?
HOW MANY NEW CUSTOMERS HAVE CHOSEN YOUR SYSTEM IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS?
Rapid customer acquisition is a good indication of a system’s ability to address the latest industry challenges. How many new customers have chosen your system in the past year? And who are they?
ARE YOU ACTIVELY EXPANDING AND INVESTING IN YOUR MEDIA BUSINESS?
Given the investment and time needed to successfully implement a new advertising sales platform, what confidence do you have that this vendor is the correct long-term partner? How much investment is devoted to expanding its media business and its staff?