Front line sales teams must have a multitude of digital products at their fingertips. Gone are the days of offering owned and operated inventory only. Local advertisers want to buy search, social media, extended reach display and video, OTT and variations of these categories. And they want them available on an increasing number of platforms.
Digital Product and the Proposal Process
Common sense says that individual Account Executives don’t completely understand all these products and their associated processes. So, for their own sanity they choose the easiest products to position. Or perhaps the easiest products to order, communicate or deliver.
Account Executives choose particular digital products for a reason. But, are they the right reasons? Does your organization want to focus on these products? Do they deliver the best results for clients, and the highest margins for your company?
Although most of your Account Executives choose out of convenience, the good news is they’re selling digital products. But are they doing what’s best for their clients and the company?
For now let’s say your management team is okay with this. How could you get them to sell more? Could they sell more if the order entry process was easier; if they had to input the client information, impressions and CPM only once?
What if they could provide targeting instructions, creative, or creative instruction in one place? Or even better, their client could provide this information. The request would go straight to Ad Operations, bypassing the need for the Account Executive, Digital Sales Manager or a Coordinator to facilitate this process. If so, could your AE’s sell more?
Delivering on the Multitude of Digital Products
Your scattered workflow is opaque. Inefficient workflow can reduce your visibility to campaigns. This will, in turn, make you look bad to your client, customer or manager.
Are your campaigns live? If no, are they waiting on you or your client, or perhaps for Google creative approval? Do you have the necessary creative assets and design instructions? Are provided ads the correct size and quality for each platform? Are budgets clear per campaign and platform? If yes, did the campaigns start on time?
Let’s take a look at a real conversation that asks many of these questions.
The instruction card below moved back and forth between Ad Ops and Account Management 23 times from December 30 to January 3, touching six different people. There was confusion on number of campaigns, campaign revenue and keywords, missing UTM codes which were requested twice, an inquiry about tracking pixels, and multiple requests for an updated insertion order and SOW. And there was no clear campaign launch date, or if it would be missed.
In reviewing this conversation, it’s clear the workflow doesn’t recognize that the client hasn’t provided enough information to start work. There was missing information on the order, and missing instructions regarding the assets required and campaign execution.
Furthermore, with limited information the Ad Operations team was working blind, trying desperately to catch every issue that arose.
How many of your teams work this way? Why should they? Details get missed, mistakes happen and teams get frustrated. Ultimately you lose clients, revenue and potentially your job.
This campaign eventually launched on January 16. So, the team promptly turned its attention to reporting. As a leader, you want your teams to see quickly that campaigns deliver on pace, on budget and, most importantly, with expected results. Unfortunately, more often than not, they don’t.
Then we must ask ourselves these types of questions:
How are campaigns performing? Are they pacing ahead or behind plan? How many conversions have they delivered? How is the cost-per-view or per acquisition trending – today or this week?
Must you wait until month end for some coordinator to summarize results from several places into a .ppt or .pdf to detail how key clients’ or stakeholders’ campaigns performed? By the time you’re notified, your coordinator has known more than you do about these campaigns for days, if not weeks. How can you claim to lead or advise them like that?
Here are some examples from our campaign described above.
These example campaigns are search only. But often you have search on Google and Bing, Facebook ads, O&O ads, as well as display extension ads. Numerous campaigns associated to one client and one ad buy leads to reporting from multiple platforms. Odds are your campaigns’ holistic results aren’t easily visible to enable evaluation of current status, much less to provide clear direction.
This is not a process. Instead, it’s failure waiting to happen. Don’t let it. Tune into our next blog post to learn how to break down digital workflow, and what you should demand in your process.