Simplify online, integrated sales

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JOHN WHELAN VP-group publisher, Financial/ Professional Services Group, Summit Business Media As VP-group publisher and director of Summit Business Media's Financial and Professional Services Group, John Whelan oversees seven major brands, including Investment Advisor, Treasury & Risk and Wealth Manager. MB: What have you done to help your salespeople sell integrated media packages? Whelan: We make sure each component of the integrated offering is well-described, well-supported and well-priced. There should be no confusion about how the products work together to meet the goals the client has expressed. The integration has to be appropriate for the customer, not a way for the publisher to build nonessential items into the sale to increase the price. MB: What do you do to prevent confusion? Whelan: One of the challenges to selling online in b-to-b media is that it can be an overly complicated process in comparison to selling print. So rather than trying to sell everything the Web could offer, we concentrate our efforts on a small suite of products. We've found that while lead generation and branding remain the two most important things, we're seeing a lot of activity and growth in custom. MB: Isn't custom media more complex by nature? Whelan: Custom media online is a fairly standard suite of products that are customized in key areas, such as design, tone and content. Salespeople need to understand the value of each element of the portfolio to the customer; they can't bundle nonessential items just to increase the price. —M.G.
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