Around the world there are hundreds of sales companies hiring and training salespeople to sell search and internet products to small and medium-sized business owners.
Going back just a few years ago, some of these companies made money solely by reselling search solutions, such as Google AdWords (and possibly Yahoo! and MSN paid ad solutions). Today, many of these same companies are offering more and more internet advertising solutions. Some are now offering social networking solutions (such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.), mobile solutions, directory solutions, print solutions, and the list goes on and on depending upon the sales company. In short, many of today’s sales reps are mini-ad agencies and are struggling with trying to both understand how all of these potential internet solutions work, as well as which products to offer to which advertisers in which situations.
The quick solution for many of these companies is to simply offer everything in one “bundle” to every advertiser. A simple one size fits all approach. But, does this always make sense for every advertiser? Using the comparison to an ad agency, it would be like someone working for an ad agency showing up at someone’s place of business (whether it be a building contractor, car dealership, or a dentist) and offering the exact same mix of television, radio, direct mail, newspaper, and billboard advertising to every advertiser. The comparison might sound strange, but it’s really not that much different than what many sales organizations that are selling search and internet solutions are doing today.
The reason that many sales companies take this approach is simply because it’s the easiest way to do it, even if it is not always the right way to do it. It obviously is not the way an ad agency goes about selling their advertising solutions (although some do have bundled offers in specific cases). The way a car dealership runs their online internet campaign is almost always different than the way a building contractor would (or should) execute their campaign, or the various online advertising solutions they choose.
The problem in many cases is that it requires a lot of time to train salespeople in an in-depth way on how each of these internet and search solutions works…and when to suggest which solution to which advertiser; in short, to make them an internet and search solution expert. But, it is exactly what these companies should be doing.
The reason is that every business owner today knows that their potential customers are going online to look for their products or services. However, most don’t know exactly where they are going, when, why or how often. In most cases, the average business owner doesn’t know the right way to promote him or herself online, nor has the time to figure it out. They are looking for a trusted advisor, someone who can guide them with the right mix of internet and search solutions based on sound reasoning and setting realistic expectations in terms of results.
There’s no question that this approach takes more time in terms of properly training the sales reps, and even in terms of the time it may take to close an account. But, in the long term it’s definitely worth it to keep a satisfied advertiser, who will be much less likely to want to find another company to help them…as is the case with many business owners today.