Kicking long-term habits is key to capitalizing on digital media

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Scottsdale, Ariz.—Business publishers have to break long-term sales habits and create more collaboration if they want to capitalize on advertisers’ increasing appetite for digital media, a top sales executive for BusinessWeek said Tuesday at American Business Media’s Spring Meeting.

“We have to make sure we’re doing things differently. Sales in the past have been an individual sport, but now it’s a team sport,” said Bob Maund, VP-West region at BusinessWeek, who spoke at a seminar titled, “Making the Digital Promise a Reality.” “People are still in silos, but we’re slowly evolving the structure.”

Maund said BusinessWeek had made several changes to help facilitate online ad sales. These include altering the company’s sales compensation plans; enhanced training and a new initiative called “Raising Your Digital IQ” that is designed to help sales executives be smarter about digital sales. “We want to get to the point where one salesperson can serve all of the client’s needs,” Maund said.

One trend, he noted, is advertisers’ effort “to get embedded in our brand’s attributes.” For example, Sun Microsystems buys ads that run below the BusinessWeek cover story. The ads direct readers to go to BusinessWeek Online, where they will find additional Sun advertisements.

Maund is currently working on 12 integrated ad programs, up from four in 2005. This year’s programs are worth roughly $20 million, he said.

About 75 of BusinessWeek’s advertisers that previously spent money on print will now only advertise in print around the time of new product launches. “It’s incredible how many ways the tail wags the dog,” he said.

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