Mike Blinder presented “Making Digital Dollars Today,” including a list of steps that newspapers can take to increase revenue from digital sales. Blinder emphasized knowing the metrics of the sell and using call sheets to track and analyze them, explaining that a manager must compensate and punish based on agreed-upon goals and objectives.
Blinder promoted use of a blended digital/traditional model for your sales team. Though it requires more investment in training, this model avoids unhealthy competition between digital and print reps, as well as the broadening the “cultural gap” among them. A digital sales evangelist on staff would be responsible for training, supporting and guiding the rest of the sales team (traditional sales personnel) to make digital sales. This representative would be the advocate for the company’s digital sales and should receive compensation for all such sales.
Newspapers already have an online/digital readership that is affluent, educated and growing. The audience is there, and newspapers need to capitalize on this in digital sales. Because newspapers tend to have a higher ranking in search engines for their locale, company profile pages that they maintain will also share this higher ranking. Blinder refers to this as “link juice,” which can help you sell online advertising. Explain the value of the digital audience to your local advertisers, many of whom may be resistant to some “new” types of advertising. Newspapers must stress that they have the right audience and can link to a profile page, a directory listing or a coupon page on the newspaper site. In the process, they become more full service to their clients and expand the buy. According to Blinder, newspapers should lead with digital in order to sell more print.
He concluded with helpful tips for managing a sales team. Managers must facilitate weekly one-on-one meetings to review that week’s performance against measurable goals and set new goals for the next week. The meetings should focus on both the good and the bad. A manager should also spend at least 50 percent of his or her time with the sales team on calls. Managers need to be careful, however, to take a back seat and make sure the employee is making the sale.
Visit Mike Blinder's website to view his presentation and other resources.