Digital Transformation for Publishers and Media Brands

Digital Transformation

What is digital transformation?

Digital Transformation (DT) is the process of adding digital technology to all areas of business. This includes improving your staff’s digital skills, processes, tools, and ability to test and onboard new tech quickly.

Why does Digital Transformation matter?

Digital transformation matters because the companies that don’t implement digital technology to ensure their companies grow, will perish. Publishers and certain media brands are dying; their situation likened to the state of dinosaurs back in the day. Both were massive in stature and once dominated the landscape. Both faced extinction and a permanent change to the way things used to be. The dinosaurs perished, but their close relative, the alligator, adapted and survived. Some like this 700-pound beauty that was recently found in Georgia even thrived.

700 pound alligator

Publishers and media brands have to figure out what they can do to thrive, not just survive.

Publishing is not dead.

Publishers still have extreme leverage because they’re the gatekeepers to the consumers that brands are trying to reach. This power holds even more weight if you’re a publisher that dominates a valuable niche. TripAdvisor is a publisher/media brand that built a business around the valuable travel-niche.

TripAdvisor understood that social media and search engines were changing the way consumers shopped and they built a business around it. Now, historical hotel brands like Hilton and Marriott are forced to pay TripAdvisor for access to their audience.

Three ways publishers and media brands can digitally transform their business:

JumpCrew specializes in acquiring publishers and media brands so we can digitally transform their businesses. We bought two companies and grew their revenue 5x each by leveraging technology used for integrating sales and marketing.

Here are three things that you can do to digitally transform your publishing or media company:

1. Organization Learning: Grow Your Skills

In a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, 94% of the executives they surveyed said their companies had a substantial digital skills gap. The lack of digital skills is why Innosight reported that nearly 50% of the S&P 500 will become irrelevant over the next ten years. Most organizations don’t have training programs in place that allow them to learn, master, and apply new technology.

I’ll prove it to you… have you heard of an Alexa Skill? Is there anyone in your organization that can build one? If you answered “no” to one or both of these questions, you’re already falling behind. Voice marketing will be a game changer for those who test and learn how to leverage it. Here’s another example, there was a point where people questioned search engine optimization(SEO) (some companies still do). The issue is that while you’re wasting time questioning implementing SEO, companies like Casper and TripAdvisor are popping up. Both of these companies built SEO into their business model and used it to create multi-billion dollar industries and brands. If you’re questioning something that’s proven to work, you likely don’t understand it. For this reason, invest in a strong Enterprise Learning Platform. Without it, you risk dinosaur status.

Build an organization where digital marketing and sales are essential crafts. The difference between thinking of digital marketing as a craft vs. a job is vital to your success. A job is a chore. It’s the thing you do to pay the bills. A craft is a calling; something you would do for free, but luckily people are willing to pay for. Find and invest in people who consider sales and digital marketing to be their craft. For them, keeping up with new tech isn’t a burden, they’ll always be ahead of the curve and leveraging new technology. 

2. Integrate Sales and Marketing

Your sales and marketing teams should work as a unit. If your company was a body, consider your sales and marketing teams to be your left and right leg. The only way to move forward is if your legs work together. Most companies don’t function this way. Their sales teams have one set of goals and their marketing teams have another. Separate goals are a recipe for disaster. Imagine trying to run if your legs wanted to go in opposite directions. Ouch!

Here’s an example, if your marketing teams’ goal is to bring in leads, and your sales teams’ goals are to close them, you’re in bad shape. Marketing will always say they did their job when a lead comes in regardless of the quality of the lead. In turn, sales will always blame marketing when they can’t close a deal regardless of the quality of the lead. Your sales and marketing teams have to focus on the same goals. Together, they should focus on getting low cost-per-acquisition, high conversion rates, high upsells, and low churn. If both teams worked to hit these goals, you’ll move forward.

3. Explore New Channels

Remember our friend the alligator? Alligators are so good at adapting to change and new environments that they can sleep in a frozen river with just their snouts out to breathe. If you run a publishing or media brand, you must embrace your inner alligator. Accept that things are changing and learn how to be the master of your environment. Find new channels like voice devices and podcasts, and use them to grow and monetize your audience. 

Wrapping it all up:

Digital transformation is indeed a new buzz word, but unlike other trending marketing-lingo, DT is here to stay. There are many aspects of digital transformation not covered above, however, investing in learning, integrating sales and marketing, and exploring new channels are all important factors that we’ve seen work. Hiring and training staff will let you build these processes and add efficient technology to every aspect of your business. Integrating your sales and marketing teams will help increase sales revenue and brand awareness while exploring new channels allows audience growth and new revenue stream opportunities. Main takeaway? Adapt to that change so you can thrive–be the alligator. 

What Happens When Sales And Marketing Goals Actually Align?

how to align sales and marketing

For most companies, marketing and sales work in parallel towards a common goal. Achieving a seamless work environment can be challenging but well worth the effort.  Here are some steps to achieve harmony by aligning sales and marketing, along with the benefits of a united team.

Messaging From The Top Down

A directive from the CEO and other leadership that outlines joint strategy and assigns roles is a necessary first step in aligning marketing and sales. Leadership should explain how two teams working towards the same goal with separate strategies is inefficient and will result in leads lost will help get everyone onboard.

Next, sales need to understand the role that marketing plays in the sales funnel and what key metrics are used to measure success. Marketing should know the definition of a qualified lead and treat sales KPI’s as their own. Collaborating on campaigns together yields higher productivity as each department is personally invested in the project.

Working Together Improves ROI

When teams work together to close deals (the ultimate goal), they are able to share effective tips and reach their goals faster than they could as individual departments. Alignment of marketing and sales directly correlates to the productivity and efficiency of a sale, which is demonstrated by the stats below:

“B2B companies’ inability to align sales and marketing teams around the right processes and technologies costs 10% or more of revenue per year” (source: IDC).

“65% of sales reps say they can’t find content to send to prospects” (source: Kapost).

“60-70% of B2B content created is never used. In many cases, this is because the topic is irrelevant to the buyer audience.” (source: Content Marketing Institute).

Prioritizing marketing and sales as one unit who sits together, collaborates together, and creates campaigns together will yield a positive ROI. When teams are connected, they don’t want to let each other down.

“B2B organizations with tightly aligned Sales and Marketing operations achieved 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth.” (source: SiriusDecisions).

“Aligning sales and marketing also leads to 38% higher sales win rates” (source: MarketingProfs).

“47% larger purchases result from nurtured leads than non-nurtured leads” (source: The Annuitas Group).

Better Leads And Conversions

When teams aren’t focused on the same goals, Sales doesn’t trust Marketing to properly qualify leads. Separate goals can be everything from different KPI’s and strategy on deliverables to different overarching definitions of success. A significant number of marketing leads go to waste when there’s a lack of trust between teams.

“61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales, but only 27% of those leads will be qualified” (source: MarketingSherpa).

When marketing doesn’t qualify leads (based on the definition of a qualified lead from sales), sales loses trust in marketing.

“Sales reps ignore 50% of marketing leads” (source: ReachForce).

Connected departments communicate their process, understand roles, and verbalize expectations. The result? Marketing delivers only qualified leads and sales acts on the 50% of leads that they traditionally ignore.

Enhanced Customer Experience

A customer’s experience has a direct impact on whether or not a lead will convert or be lost; contributing to the lack of ROI companies see from misaligned departments. A proper foundation to nurture a lead directly affects the chance that the lead will convert.

“Organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing functions enjoy 36% higher customer retention rates” (source: MarketingProfs).

When your company’s sales and marketing goals actually align, the teams become one, sharing insight into what works. Marketing research and advertising know-how will drive qualified leads, thanks to customer profiles and history from sales. Increased efficiency, conversions, and customer experience drive the ROI, something you may have been overlooking this whole time.

 

Contact us today for more information on how to jumpstart your revenue goals and to learn more about the next steps of growing your business with an integrated marketing and sales strategy. 

How To Create A Solid Sales Cadence

improving sales cadence over phone

It is often said that the three most important factors of real estate are location, location, and location.

What then, you may ask, are the three most important factors of sales, particularly when it comes to creating a solid sales cadence for contacting prospects.

I would venture to say they are follow up, follow up, and follow up.

The manner in which you follow up and the means and methods you use to do it are where good intention becomes a solid and successful strategy.

Make The Call

According to the Harvard Business Review, “cold calling remains the most effective way to set up appointments with the right decision makers at your target accounts.”

Everything starts with a call. When and how often you make your calls, and what other means of communication you add in addition to calls can help make or break the sale.

HBV’s article also mentions an idea introduced to me recently, the first call should be made between 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning pertinent to time zone, or between 3:30 and 5:30 in the afternoon. This is especially important in B2B sales as it allows you to reach the decision maker during times when they are likely to be less busy and the gatekeepers are less likely to block you from getting through.

A caveat here would be if the call is being made to an inbound lead, in which case you would want to make the call as close to the receipt of the lead as possible. The idea of whatever product or service you are providing should be as fresh on the minds of the potential customer as possible.

The Follow Up

In an ideal world, every prospect would answer on the first outreach, be the right person to buy, listen to your pitch with open ears, and take advantage of your product or service on the spot. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. And that is why I refer to the most important factor of sales as the follow-up.

Lead Simple Academy, which offers sales courses to property managers (here we are back to real estate) lists the number 43 as the percentage of salespeople who give up after the first call and 80 as the percentage of people who give up after the 4th call. But 50% of deals are closed after the 5th call.

So, if 80% of people are giving up before half of all deals are closed, there are strong odds in favor of the person who follows their suggested 7-touch cadence.

I have practiced the 7-touch cadence in my own career with many teams selling different products and can personally say, many of my sales have come after the 4th outreach.

To continue to form a solid cadence, we have to extend our options beyond calling and meet the customer where they live. Not literally of course, unless you’re in an outside sales situation, in which case, by all means, take advantage.

For those of us in inside sales, we do have still other options. Harvard Business Review suggests utilizing online sources such as LinkedIn. In the marketing industry that I come from, Facebook can also be a helpful tool. On the business to consumer side I currently work in, text messaging and email can have great response rates. According to an article posted on OneReach.com, text messages have an open rate of 98%. Of course, email and text message can still be great for business to business sales, as well.

Nurturing A Lead

The last piece of advice for building a strong cadence is knowing how often to follow up. There is a fine line between being persistent and being overly communicative with people who are either too busy or simply not interested.

On my current team, we use the 48-hour rule. Nettemps.com describes it like this, “The 48-hour rule, simply stated, stipulates that to more effectively seize a new opportunity you should follow up or perform an action within 48 hours after interest has been established.”

I also apply that to the continued follow up cadence and leave one business day between call attempts to contact a potential customer.

My current team’s cadence involves 4 calls and 3 emails spread over 14 days. Text messages can be added in at the individual sales person’s discretion. The key is to find the communication method your customer is most responsive to and use it to your advantage. A sale by email or text message is still a sale.

To reiterate the main points: don’t give up after the first call, don’t resort to one contact method and think that’s enough, and do try different combinations of cadence plans until you find the combination that works best for you. Be punctual and timely, be persistent without being overly aggressive, and be organized in your attempts.

Contact us today for more information on how to jumpstart your revenue goals and to learn more about the next steps of growing your business with an integrated marketing and sales strategy.

4 Excellent Reasons Why Businesses Outsource Their Sales Team

reasons to outsource sales
reasons to outsource sales

Outsourcing is becoming more and more common as companies progress. When done correctly, outsourcing sales will increase your top and bottom line revenue.

Return on Investment (ROI), pipeline management, and closed deals can easily be monitored when leveraging a customer relationship management (CRM). In fact, outsourcing is typically more efficient, cost-effective, and provides more data than hiring an internal team.

Additionally, finding the right outsourcing company is vital to your success. The company you choose should adopt your processes while providing suggestions and solutions on how to improve the current infrastructure and workflows.

 

Why Outsource Your $ales Team?

 

1. Control

Most importantly, you gain control when you outsource. It may sound a little backward at first but read on.

Your sales process and close ratio require experienced sales management to define the entire process.  This includes recruiting reps, incentive packages and SPIFs (sales performance incentive fund), defining effective sales training, monitoring sales metrics, and providing the sales team support, all while creating and refining the sales process for maximum results. Controlling the sales function requires a team of experts collaborating to constantly progress the process.

If these sales-related functions are not core competencies for your company, you’ll likely find that outsourcing your sales function equals gaining control.

 

2. Process Improvement

With control comes process insight. The right team will gain a deep understanding of your sales funnel and timeline.

If your product isn’t meeting the needs of your target market, your outsourced sales team should pick up on it and relay the findings.  Typically, both companies need to revisit the buyer persona, or pivot the sales pitch and modify the marketing collateral.

Sales experts have ideas on improving processes to increase efficiency after they’ve worked through processes, prospects, and sales funnels. This fresh perspective is necessary to quickly accelerate growth.

 

3. Time

Training new hires can take weeks and sometimes even months. Outsourcing solves this problem by providing a scalable sales team that works seamlessly. Sales and marketing teams that are already in place operate efficiently and reduce the time it takes to see results.

In sales, nothing compares to the importance of time. When you’re wasting time, you’re losing deals.

 

4. Overhead Costs

Outsourcing saves money, dramatically. Expanding offices and growing your business can be costly. For sales alone, why not fill those positions with proven sales experts that already have a workstation and equipment setup?

An outsourced sales team has the technology stack in place that benefits from economies of scale and are familiar with the systems and evolving processes.

Outsourcing can eliminate or reduce a wide range of expenses- recruiting, training, maintaining and supporting systems, while employing other strategies that can reduce costs.

At the end of the day, the trend is your friend, and businesses are moving towards outsourcing their sales team for a variety of reasons all which result in improving their bottom line.

Contact us today or more information on how to take your sales and marketing strategies to the next level, and to learn which techniques are right for your specific business.