Media Sales Blog

Media Sales Strategies for Associations and Publishers

How Does A Company Expect To Do Business When Finding Basics Like A Direct Company Phone Number/Physical Address Is Next To Impossible?

I’ve been doing my share of hard-knuckle prospecting lately and have noticed that some companies have made it darn next to impossible to identify, much less reach, a decision-maker? In one case (a software manufacturer) the decision-maker was easily identifiable via LinkedIn, but the company phone numbers (not 800#) took some digging-and when I found it got two options, none which let me talk to a real live voice…I hit “0” FIVE TIMES to get a live voice who not only wouldn’t put me through to at least a voice mail, but told me to send an email to “” …  Of course, the company web site is slicker than all get out In another case it took 1/2 hour of search time to find the contact name, then about the same to get an email address/phone number (found it on the 4th page of my search when I checked into the domain owner/phone numbers of their web site, which again had no physical address, no non-800 number, no way to leave a VM for management…the good news in this case is that I actually have had a good email correspondence when I tracked her down (I guess she respects anyone who can get through the wall! 🙂 ) In contrast, the old-school industries usually make it very easy to reach key execs down to email addresses/direct lines and photos….To my way of looking at the world (maybe I’m a dinosaur?) I think that a company that makes it that hard to get a good idea to a key decision-maker is also a company that is doomed to fail... read more

Is The IPad On It’s Way To Obsolescence?

A few years ago I blogged about the Ipad being revolutionary in the field sales environment, as it gave the user instant access (without a boot-up cycle as a notebook computer would have) to presentations and web pages. Easy access to solid-state drive notebook PC’s and most importantly, the 2-in-1 touchscreen design (where the screen moves 360 degrees so the notebook computer can be used as a tablet also) has made me ask if the IPad will be extinct in the next 2 or 3 years? Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 has both touchscreen compatibility and runs Windows 8.1-and the high-end versions have an i7 processor-making them among the fastest notebook computers available-and weight less than 2 pounds with a keyboard.  In effect, a purchase of a Surface Pro 3 or another 2-in 1 touchscreen computer like the Lenovo Yoga 3 enables the buyer to replace two devices: a portable computer plus an Ipad. Rumor is that the next version of the Surface Pro (version 4) will have built-in LTE.  IMHO it is going to kill off the Ipad in the corporate market and put a big hit on third-party manufacturers such as Dell and Lenovo. It will also effectively kill off the IPad in the corporate market Why has Apple not released a 2-in-1 touchscreen version of the Macbook Air?   Here’s why-the day that happens is the end of the... read more

The IPad And It’s Impact On Advertising Sales-An Update

I posted the following (  on a LinkedIn board shortly after witnessing sales calls with an Ipad for the first time in the fall of 2010.  I think my basic premise still holds-the Ipad is a complimentary device that has revolutionized field ad sales (and field sales in general); while not being as critical in a telephone sales environment.  However (and this is key)-it has not completely replaced the notebook computer/Mac/PC yet as it is still difficult to do certain tasks such as proposals on an Ipad. I sure notice I pack much lighter on sales trips since much of the support information I used to carry in hard copy form is now digital and accessible instantly in the field (in the case of one of my publishers, I have instant access to 5 years of back issues in digital form). I’d be interested in seeing feedback on your experiences here.  Thanks for your... read more

Should I Accept that LinkedIn Invitation? (The Favor Test)

This Harvard Business Review article ( ) suggests that you apply the criteria “would I ask him/her for a favor/introduction, and would I feel comfortable receiving the same from that person?”  Couldn’t agree more-it makes your list not just a bunch of names with no real connection to you, but an effective tool in making professional contacts that can have a positive impact on your business/career. Would be interested in reading opinions on... read more

Is Sector Knowledge Necessary For Media Sales?

This question came up recently on a LinkedIn board  – my thoughts are as follows: -If a top performer with years of industry experience becomes available, it is a very easy hire to make-GET HIM/HER! and pay what you have to get the hire done!  This person usually has  deep contacts within an industry and can gain entrance for you/your property at much higher levels than someone with drive/ambition who lacks the contacts in the market. -If that person is not available-take the person with drive/ambition/enthusiasm over someone who is less motivated but has market experience.  In time and in the right situation that person will develop the contacts and the numbers/market share will reflect this. A good barometer of whether or not the person you are looking at is a top performer in an industry is length of service-I began representing a publication (World Wastes/Waste Age) at a previous employer at the age of 24 , left 5 years later and kept the title when I founded Target Media Sales and continued representing it for another 10 years, and when let go was hired by the #1 publication in the field (Waste & Recycling News) 7 months later, and stayed there another 10 years.   This is a good indicator (along with checking out key accounts that person may have handled in your industry) as to whether or not that person is a “star” In contrast, if you see movement between publications/properties in a given market every 1-2 years or so, this is a big red flag!  AVOID!!! (the exception being if there was a market catastrophe in... read more

Never Assume Anything When Making A Sales Call!

On a recent sales trip the sales manager of an equipment dealership I work with called me on my cell phone when I was on the way to the appointment to inform me that he had been called out to a major customer and had to cancel the meeting.  However, he did encourage me to meet with the person who will be taking over advertising/marketing responsibilities, a shop mechanic who they were promoting into handling their advertising/marketing efforts. Needless to say, my first reaction was “what kind of marketing manager will a grease-covered Bubba be?” with more than a few chuckles in the back of my head!  I first started to say “no thanks for the meeting” but out of respect and maybe a little curiosity of how you can make a mechanic into an ad buyer, I made the call. I wasn’t disappointed-the individual I was going to meet had grease-stained overalls on-but he was also in his mid 20’s and when he first saw the offerings I had available on our web site he asked the type of questions I would have expected from a seasoned digital advertising buyer!  The end result is that there’s a very good chance at a sizable digital ad buy as the result of this call. Moral of the story:  NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING WHEN MAKING A SALES CALL!  If I followed my initial instinct the chance I had at this business is... read more

Let Ad Salespeople Sell!

Carl Landau of Niche Media had an excellent posting on his blog and Facebook page entitled “Let Ad Salespeople Sell”  A link to his blog posting can be found at and corresponding LinkedIn discussion at The nice part about being an independent ad sales representative is that selling is all we do!  Our experience as 1) independent reps and 2)  being located a significant distance from most, if not all, of our partners has shown us that we work best when there is minimal bureacracy/diversionary tasks involved and when we are treated as partners in the property’s success, not as junior employees to be micromanaged. If this is the type of relationship you seek-please... read more

Update From The Sales Trenches, End of September

Spent last week at the Caterpillar Dealer Marketing Managers meeting in Seattle, representing Construction Equipment Guide. If you consider construction to be a leading indicator of where the economy is going, signs are positive.  One marketing manager for a Cat dealer in a major west coast market told me that they were anticipating a large bump-up in marketing money as used equipment has become scarce and major housing activity was starting to happen.  A follow-up meeting with another large dealer group also indicated positive market signals for 2013 both in housing and other markets using heavy equipment. This could change at the drop of a hat-but as a marketing manager mentioned to me, there are a lot of projects, both private-sector and government-based, that got put off during the economic downturn that can’t be put off any more….hence the uptick. Does anyone see any signals like this?  Be curious to hear what else is happening “out in the... read more