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Pittsburgh (PA) Trib Total Media Generates Over $125,000 in New Online Revenue From Local SMB's using Blinder Group "Share of Voice" Sales Model

The Challenge

Management of Trib Total Media, owners of the Pittsburgh (PA) Tribune, seven other daily and 19 other community newspapers, that encompass the greater Pittsburgh area, wanted to find a method of getting more local, small and medium sized businesses (SMB's) to use their online offerings.

Recent research, such as Borrell Associates 2009 study: Main Street Goes Interactive, clearly shows that the most opportunity for online advertising sales growth will come from these types of advertisers, who each may have limited budgets to spend on advertising. However, represent a huge revenue opportunity for local media companies.

With over 13 million pages being viewed each month,, the aggregate online platform for Trib Total Media offers a challenge of not being able to offer run of site (ROS) online advertising banner campaigns to these smaller ties advertisers, since their limited budgets would only allow them to purchase a small portion of the available inventory, thus having their banners "lost" within the millions of available impressions. So, the logical solution is to develop smaller advertising packages, which offer these local advertisers, their messages with specific Web site content areas. Also, with over sixty sales people, all with varying degrees of digital sales knowledge, working in each of the local markets served by Trib Total Media, it made sense to use this already existing sales force to present these online products to the areas they served.

The Blinder Group, a multimedia sales training and consulting firm, was hired to assist them in their goal of developing localized, online sales programs that can be offered to smaller level advertisers, as well as find a way to train and motivate their existing sales force to take these products to market.

The Solution

Mike Blinder, President of the Blinder Group, first consulted with Trib Total Media on developing the actual localized online sales programs. Mike suggested that they use a sales model known as "share of voice," meaning that instead of having the advertiser purchase online inventory based on a cost per thousand (CPM) basis, they would use the desired CPM as a pricing guide to establish a rate needed for a specific online ad position. Then, figure out the total ad impressions that are available within that position and sub-divide that inventory for a select number of advertisers who will rotate in that position. As Mike explains it many times during world-wide training sessions: "This 'share of voice' sales model is easier for the advertiser to understand what he/she is buying, as well as easier for the sales person to explain. Rather than having the salesperson say to the advertiser: 'I can give you 30,000 monthly advertising impressions at a $10 cost per thousand.' He should say to the advertiser: 'Your ad is guaranteed to be seen no less than 30,000 times a month, within this ad position, shared by you and a select number of other advertisers, for a price of $300 a month." Mike goes on to say that 'with a share of voice pricing model, the sales call process is much easier 'on the street,' making the length of the sale call much shorter and the 'closing ratios' much higher!"

With total agreement achieved, a number of locally targeted, sales programs were developed using the "share of voice" model for Trib Total Media.

3 pages of Blinder Sales Program. Click to enlarge
Sales Support Materials

The Blinder Group also assisted in the production of the associated sales support collaterals necessary for this program's deployment. A simple, easy-to-follow multiple page flyer was developed so the advertisers (and the sales team) could easily grasp the features and benefits of this sales program. Too often, media companies do not graphically explain the online portions of sales programs in an easy-to-follow manner. This creates confusion during the sales process. The Blinder Group has vast experience in creating such sales presentations.

Sales Team Training

Mike Blinder personally conducted an initial training session with the entire sales team of Trib Total Media to instruct on:

  • Prospecting new multimedia business
  • The basics of multimedia marketing and how the medium works
  • Best practices in selling online solutions
  • The benefits of bringing interactive products to market
  • Methods for using the Web to garner more market share
  • How to attack the competition with online offerings
The training also included content informing the sales staff of the Blinder Group's return visit. During these return visits, "4-legged" sales training/closing calls were performed with the reps to assist in the launching of this initiative. During the meeting, the salespeople were urged to set up a large amount of appointments with qualified "decision-makers" of area businesses.

During that training, the sales staff was supplied with proven support documents that reinforced the training, as well as an appointment-setting script to assist them in setting up the calls.

Guaranteed Revenue Generation

One of the key elements in ensuring sales success of new initiatives like these, is getting the advertiser's full attendance at the meeting, as well as their acceptance of validity of the concept in general. Some of these advertisers are new to marketing their business online and feel wary of trying new ideas. One of the most effective means of accomplishing attendance and acceptance is to introduce the advertiser to an industry respected "outside" consultant who has had success with similar programs, with similar businesses, in similar markets all across North America. That is why many media companies contract with the Blinder Group to perform "4-legged" sales training/closing calls with traditional ad reps, assisting in the launch of programs like the one defined in this document.

Also, during these assisted, sales training/closing calls provided by the Blinder Group, the accompanying salesperson learns new, valuable techniques on how to sell innovative programs like this one, in a more effective manner. The Blinder Group has a proven track record of generating high "closing" ratios, resulting in significant revenue for client media companies that have deployed this form of advertising sales initiative.

Sample page from Daily Call Report. Click on image to view larger version.
The Results

During these assisted, "4-legged," sales training/closing calls with the reps in each market, The Blinder Group achieved an average a 61% "closing ratio" during the initial visit when the call was performed in front of a "qualified decision-maker." The total program generated over $125,000 of new online revenue for both markets combined.

"A lot of the success goes to Mike and the entire Blinder Group team," stated Janet Corrinne-Harvey, Director Demographic Sales for Pittsburgh (PA) Trib Total Media. "The reps had a whole new energy level after attending the training and were actually fighting over how many calls each could set up with the Blinder group trainers/closers who came 2-weeks later. The sales calls made them feel much more empowered in their ability to sell our digital products on an ongoing basis.

Contact Information
For Pittsburgh (PA) Trib Total Media
Janet Corrinne-Harvey
Director Demgraphic Sales

For The Blinder Group:
Mike Blinder, President
Blinder Group Inc.
(727) 847-2464

The Blinder Group
Tampa Offices: 6139 Fjord Way
New Port Richey, FL 34652 USA
(727) 847-2464 ~ (727) 847-5959 (fax)

SPEAKING PROGRAMS, seminars and workshops

CONSULTING/TRAINING: Strategic Planning ~ Basic Sales Training
Multimedia Sales Training ~ Assisted 4-Legged Closing Calls

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