In media sales, it’s always been true that many sellers don’t pay enough attention to what buyers want, or what the buyer defines as a successful sales partnership. Too often, sellers remain focused on themselves, even if they have the best of intentions. They refine their own processes, thinking that alone will produce an improved sales interaction.
That’s not necessarily true.
The buyer—the marketer—has its own objectives and its own definition of a good experience, and it isn’t all about ROI.
With all that in mind, Fox Tales went right to the source. We brought our new “Five Questions” format directly to a marketer to seek their perspective on this discussion. We asked Sam Goldenberg, communications and marketing manager at SofterWare, the Fort Washington, Pennsylvania-based company that makes fundraising, ecommerce and auction payments solutions, for his take. Here’s a transcript of our conversation with Sam.
Fox Tales: Using one word, define what you see as a successful sales collaboration. Then take a sentence or two to elaborate.
Sam Goldenberg: Partnership. To be successful, both parties need to benefit from the relationship. If one side does not see value, then the relationship will end badly and neither side will achieve their goals. Having a true partner means we’re each invested in each other’s success, so that the relationship can continue for a long time with both enjoying the benefits.
FT: As a marketer, what are your chief objectives in media/communications campaigns? (This could be anything from selecting the right brands through which to market, to top-of-funnel brand awareness, to lead generation, to purchase intent.)
Goldenberg: Our objectives are to reach our target markets and decision makers to create positive awareness of our brand, be seen as someone who can solve their pain point(s), and become a trusted partner in their success.
FT: How often do you encounter salespeople who don’t listen to what you need, they sell what they have? Does this impede your marketing efforts?
Goldenberg: It happens all time. They’ll try to sell something that doesn’t solve our problem, but is the only thing they have to sell. Or they’re being pushed by their leadership to sell it regardless. We used to work successfully with several associations that produced their own newsletters, then an outside company went to these associations and convinced them to outsource. This was great for the associations at first, but our leads dropped to zero. The firms did nothing to address our feedback. Instead, we got calls from a pack of aggressive sales people who hounded us. After two short-term trials, we ended our program with them and lost formerly good lead sources and relationships.
FT: What does a successful campaign entail—in terms of media channels, measurement of ROI, etc.
Goldenberg: Success for us is measured in leads for our product, downloads of our content, and attendance at our events. As a SaaS company, we also use Cost of Acquiring Clients (CAC) to make sure we’re making profitable business decisions. Finding the right ways to do all of this so we maximize our results at a reasonable cost is crucial, and how we evaluate/compare our success with a partner compared to other ways we can achieve our objectives.
FT: Talk specifically about your interactions with Fox Associates where it pertains to all of the above.
Goldenberg: We’ve partnered with Fox Associates, and Bill Bell specifically, for many years. Bill always makes sure to offer advertising solutions that match our needs. He knows what works for us and what doesn’t. He offers suggestions on cost-effective alternatives, and ways to improve based on other’s successes. He also listens to our suggestions, and we’ve seen new offerings and enhancements as a result. When something new comes along, Bill offers us ways to test it without long-term commitments. A lengthy contract on a new medium would be a short-term win for the publisher, but a long-term loss if this soured our relationship. Bill and Fox & Associates understand that, and it’s why we have a true partnership and have been doing business together successfully for over a decade.