Kenny, Broadstreet’s CEO recently received a letter from a publisher. It read:
My partner [and I] started our news website in 2013. We had no prior experience with any advertising, website, journalism, or anything.
We started on Facebook to fill the gaps of our local
Newspaper, and then we turned [it] into our full time business.
We never hired anyone, so it’s just the two of us. We have always been confortable with a couple of big advertisers, and then Adsense and Taboola, but I know we have more room to advertise more locally and get rid of Adsense completely, as we get a lot of complaints about our spammy ads.
I have tried making our advertising buying and uploading automated, as we truly hate dealing with sales and the whole process of meeting with people.
Being that it is just the two of us, I would like to have something more automated where our advertisers can not only buy an ad, but create it too and also to take us out of the process as much as possible.
I guess the big picture is that me and my partner really love sharing news with our community and keeping everyone updated and informed, but we have never really been big sales people, but we know we’re are leaving money on the table, and we need more money to hire and grow.
I completely empathize. My background is in software development. I started Broadstreet with a partner who was also a developer.
Two talented guys building a great product was fun for a couple of years, but eventually, we knew that one of us would have to figure out the sales piece if we were going to grow it. We tried self-serve sign-ups and tutorials and all kinds of ways to get publishers to just sign up on their own.
What I found is that publishers needed guidance in getting set up. They just weren’t savvy enough to do it themselves. Today, we set our customers up and tell them what to do.
At first, I hated the idea of it, because it took me away from development. But then I realized it was one of the best differentiators that I could have asked for. And even though I resisted, I was really good at it.
When you think about sales, don’t think of it as a necessary evil. There are business owners who need someone like you to help them get a message out. Sometimes they can’t even articulate the message well. They need guidance.
Self-serve is transactional, and Google and FB have everyone beat there. Guidance is partnership, and they’ll never beat that.
I’d argue that one of the greatest things you can do is be a champion for marketers and business owners who need guidance. You aren’t selling them — you’re seeing if and how you can help.
It’s a small change in perspective but a profound one. When I saw it that way, it changed everything. I’ve personally closed over 700 accounts since then.
There are absolutely ways to reduce the amount of time spent in the sales process though, and that’s where we focus. I want my customers to impress their customers and do it in the most efficient way possible.
If you have time, I’d recc watching one of my webinars. The TL;DR is at the 15 minute mark where it gets really weird – but yolo, that’s the essence of the philosophy: https://2898305.fs1.hubspotusercontent-na1.net/hubfs/2898305/Webinars/The%20Perfect%20Ad%20Sales%20Meeting%20Recording%2011.30.22.mp4
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