Some Advice On Getting Big Deals Done And Surviving Q4

Big deals happen far and few between. Otherwise, they would be no big deal.

I am not referring to business development deals, which are generally based on projected results neatly packaged inside an Excel spreadsheet. I am talking about larger-than-average ad deals in which media salespeople position their brand and its multiple platforms to creatively meet the communication agenda of an advertiser, while rallying internal resources to execute what they've sold (which is often harder than the sale itself).

A big ad deal is roughly the size equal to or larger than 25% of a salesperson's quota (for example, a single insertion order for $375,000 against a $1.5 million dollar quota). Many play a supporting role in closing a big ad deal, but a great salesperson must be present to get one done. The elements below are the clay they need to sculpt it.

1. Brand name. ESPN is so well-branded, there have been multiple reported accounts of children named "Espin."



You don't need children named after your property to land a big ad deal, but your brand must resonate prominently within the hallways of the advertisers that care most about your market. If your brand name isn't resonating that way, it's sometimes easier to find a more receptive hallway than trying to make more noise.

2. Integration. Big deals have obvious creative hooks holding them up for everyone to see. GMC sponsors ESPN's Monday Night Football's content analysis, titled "Keys to victory," with a dedicated Web component. Whether you personally groan or not when seeing this play on the word "keys," somewhere inside the General Motor offices, a GMC marketing director enjoys "Monday Night Football" a little more than his competitors in the large truck space.

Integration can be creatively driven (when will Ford sponsor "Monday Night Football"'s "drive of the game"?), or action-oriented ("text your vote using Verizon wireless") or it can be both. What integration can't be is missing, if the deal is going to surpass most other deals you close.

3. Buying Intent. Buyers have to spend money--but don't have to spend it with you. Have you and your property created intent? Do buyers know what your property stands for? Have you showcased the creative integration you've done for other advertisers on your site?

I used to think you needed a great relationship in place to sell a big deal, but now I think relationships grow from the collaboration constructing them. So the right property, with a recognized brand name and the right idea for the right advertiser, can earn a significant deal, even if you don't have a significant relationship in place yet.

That's my advice for getting big deals done. I hope it's helpful as you endure the fourth quarter upon us. Speaking of which, for those media sales reps that have not been through many fourth quarters in their career, keep in mind that "pressure rolls downhill," as a former boss used to say. I say this because your managers may be more anxious right now than they were all year. So keep them informed, keep revenue projections accurate, and most of all, keep leaving the office--clients are far more fun to be around than anyone inside your building, at least until mid-December when things get back to "normal."

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