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How Emerging Channels are Changing Digital Media Sales

How Emerging Channels are Changing Digital Media Sales Marc Mallett
Digital sales have always been an incestuous industry. You see the same faces at the big events, often with new job titles at new companies. In the past, you’d see other sellers every couple of months at the local events or the big getaway conferences at secluded resorts, where you’re all competing for attention from the same buyers before a night full of drinks at the bar and reminiscing on past conferences.

Even with all of the good times, selling digital media can be a significant challenge. If you don’t represent one of the big four or five online media brands, you’re in a dogfight for every campaign opportunity. It’s a crowded and competitive industry, and digital ad sellers are constantly working to differentiate themselves from the rest of the market.  Even when you build a very competitive media plan, collect strong case studies and testimonials, or prove success with a test campaign, it still might not be enough. There are still a variety of influencing factors particular to the media sales world that are outside your control.

The silver lining is that we’re experiencing a period of significant and rapid change, due in part to the tremendous cache of digital tools at the seller’s disposal. Where in the past, you could only source digital leads with a login and password to a subscription-based database, sellers today have access to a new breed of technologies and platforms that have changed the way we go about our jobs. In some cases, they’re even bringing competitors together to help each other.

More specifically, social networks have changed the industry by putting sellers in contact with each other to exchange information and tips on a daily basis. There’s LinkedIn, of course, which has become the seller’s best tool in finding an agency or brand contact for a cold call or following someone as they transition jobs. Facebook and Twitter helps sellers stay in touch with each other after the conferences, and can be great tools for probing the minds of your closest circle of seller peers. Twitter handles have become as common as phone numbers on business cards these days and the platform provides insight not only on daily activities, but also relevant information on the industry.

The social media revolution has also brought us tools like SellerCrowd, a media sales-focused social network that lets sellers share an unfiltered and anonymous take on what it’s like to work in digital. It’s a unique use of social media to drive professional performance that is actually making a difference in digital ad sales. The anonymity that separates SellerCrowd from other social networks is forging partnerships between competitors and turning them into collaborators.

SellerCrowd first and foremost gives media sales professionals a place to post questions and answers around any topic related to media sales. Rants against unresponsive media teams, custom Nikes, and the quirks of our industry are often entertaining, but the true value lies in the detailed questions and answers, including advice on whether a site with 500,000 monthly uniques should approach big brands, or focus solely on brands that appeal to its niche audience. Members inquire on everything from sales techniques to entertainment ideas to their favorite drinks after a hard week selling media (a very entertaining post). That’s not to say that a sales team can use SellerCrowd as a Rolodex of leads and contacts. The basic message board rules apply here, and there are a few hawks who are quick to remind everyone that SellerCrowd’s mission isn’t to have the community do your job.  However, there have been four particular instances where SellerCrowd helped our company uncover information and insight into upcoming campaigns. In two of the four cases, we ended up making the plan. These are results that speak for themselves.

If you’re not using every single digital media selling tool at your disposal to keep an eye out for innovative and strategic ways to learn more about the digital media ecosystem, not only are you officially missing out, but you’re at an even greater disadvantage to others in this highly competitive industry.


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