What can I do TODAY to grow my revenue?
5 steps to kick-start a winning CRM strategy for your media business
If I had a dollar for each time an executive from a media company had asked me: "What can I do TODAY to grow my revenue?" – I'd be a very rich man.
While I always encourage them to take a good hard look at a true media sales solution like Adpoint, I acknowledge that many media companies need to "right their ships" and grow revenue immediately before they can invest in the technology required to take their businesses to the next level.
Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to growing revenue in today's market. There are several practical actions publishers can take to quickly make positive changes to their businesses, which I've seen work successfully. One action I frequently recommend is establishing a real CRM strategy.
Many companies I meet with have a CRM in place, and mistakenly believe that system ownership is in itself a strategy. Choosing a Salesforce CRM, an Adpoint CRM, or any other CRM system is not a strategy, it is a piece of technology. A true CRM strategy defines your plan for growing relationships with customers and increasing sales. It identifies how often you want to interact with advertisers and agencies, outlines the quality of these interactions, and pinpoints how you will measure success. Defining a CRM strategy may seem like a daunting task, but here's the best part: it only takes a few steps to kick-start a winning CRM strategy for your business. Here's how:
#1 Segment Your Customers
Split your customers into five segments. Keep this ultra-simple example in mind:
- A-Customers (spending = > $100k)
- B-Customers (spending = > $50k)
- C-Customers (spending = > $25k)
- D-Customers (spending = < $25k)
If you want to include competitor data from Neilson or TNS, you can also place your customers into secondary segments showing their "potential."
#2 Create a CRM Plan for each Customer Segment
Decide how often you want to meet with each customer segment. An example might be, I want to meet with:
- Agencies and A-Customers: once per month
- B-Customers: once every two months
- C-Customers: once every three months
- D-Customers: once every six months
#3 Map your CRM Strategy and Communication Plan to your Existing Sales Team
Create a simple grid showing each sales rep and how many A-Customers, B-Customers, etc. that are assigned to them. Then, calculate the number of meetings assigned to each sales rep. You will probably find that some of your sales reps need to have hundreds of meetings per month to properly service your customer base, and other sales reps are not fully tasked. This is typical of sales teams that have long-standing employees that have "collected" customers over time. Rebalance accounts to ensure they are being serviced according to plan.
#4 Know Your Customers' Potential
Now, look at each customer (especially all the A, B and C-Customers) and see what the true potential is for each account. Then create plans for each of these customers to reach their growth objectives. For example, if a customer was spending at an A-level in 2016 and is dropping to a B-level in 2017, NOW is the time to take action. This kind of action is low-hanging fruit for your sales reps IF THEY KNOW that there is a problem. Another option is to look at how each customer is spending against your competitors and group them into priority (by potential), giving the highest priority to those customers that have the largest sales gap between your company and your competitors.
#5 Match Talent to Opportunity
Finally, take a look at the year-over-year performance of the customers within each segment. Some will have shifted from A to B, from B to A, from C to B, etc. Many times you may find a pattern between this movement and the individual sales reps assigned to the customers. For example, some sales reps are good at growing C-Customers to B-Customers, but not able to grow them to A-Customers. So, you will see those customers bounce between C and B rather than growing. Once you analyze the patterns, you can consider coaching and/or changing your compensation plans to match the right customers with the right reps for each level.
While there is no silver bullet to growing ad revenue today, there are many real-world and tactical actions that you should implement in a CRM strategy. The good news is that media executives who innovate are generating revenue. If you've taken the step to implement a good CRM system and you are not achieving your goals, it may be due to the absence of a strategic CRM plan. A subtle shift in the way you harness your CRM system, however, could make a big difference.
Michael Mendoza is the founder and CEO of Lineup Systems, a global media sales solution provider that helps 1,600 media brands in 33 countries grow revenue and improve business performance. Before launching Lineup Systems in 2009, he was the global IT director for Metro International. With decades of experience in both media and technology, Mendoza understands that innovation and agility are critical to the success of any media company's operations. For more information on Lineup Systems and its Adpoint media sales solution, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.