It is 8:00 AM on my first day of the work week, Monday. I realize there are folks who work different days, from home or at their workplace, but my week is what I would call “traditional.” My weekends are my own to spend as I please, generally. The exceptions are the list of tasks either I or my wife have assembled to promote the improvement of our home’s cleanliness, vegetable bin, or our pets’ appearance. I carefully press the power button on my laptop to awaken it from its own weekend slumber. Moments later, I begin to imagine just how exciting it will be to start selling digital marketing services on my own.
The new position in “business development” has passed its 4th week, and it is time to begin flying on my own. My mentors, Marty and Mike, have been wonderful. They exemplify patience and are generous professionals. They share with me their own experiences and all the information I need to forge my own path in digital marketing sales. Beyond that, they are both very good-natured men who are fun to be around while making learning new processes less daunting.
Home Based (for now) Digital Marketing Sales
Here at home, the environment around me is comfortable, if not eerily quiet. We are all remote once again, due to an office-wide close encounter of the COVID-19 kind. It is a workspace void of the usual sounds of ringing phones, chiming computers, and the owner’s rattling key-chain attached to his trousers.
My smallest dog, Dezzi, pounces against my thigh repeatedly and finally emits a tiny, pleading bark for attention. Her terrier-based face is alert and somewhat demanding. I pet her and offer praise for her playful request while allowing my attention to drift back toward my startup screen for the log-in. A few more taps of her nose on my ankle are left without response. I have temporarily extinguished her hunger for attention, and she walks away slowly alongside her “big brother,” Jack. I am alone, a little regretful to have shunned my pets, but focused now on the job at hand. Play-time will come later.
My Preparation for Selling Digital Marketing Services
My first clicks launch Outlook, Teams and Chrome. The first window to pop up is my calendar of scheduled meetings and sales presentations to opportunities scheduled by our White Label marketing partners. I examine each carefully and begin to lay out in front of me a stack of windows and browser tabs that support each meeting. Then I’ll open the preliminary marketing research performed in advance by our support staff for each digital marketing sales meeting. I begin to analyze the data for the prospect and their primary competitors.
As I do this, I open the prospect’s website. Alongside that I will open tabs that illustrate the site’s technical condition and how it was built. I apply a tool to view the many elements involved in its construction and assess its performance pursuant to Google’s expectations. I inspect the elements of the home page and other main pages. How sensibly was the site built as it pertains to SEO?
This is a quick diagnostic temperature check. After practicing SEO for two years as a client consultant, working on behalf of numerous agencies that use our White Label services, my observations are swift. I can determine if a site was built by someone who knows SEO, or a “Web Developer” who satisfied the esthetic demands of the client and not much more. I can also usually pick out a site that has been built by the business owner. The degree to which SEO has been neglected varies. To accurately provide advice when selling digital marketing services, I need to remain aware that it may not be the highest priority or my recommendation to the prospect.
Going Deeper: Checking the Competition
I look at the websites of the competition, too. Are they comparable? What are their deficiencies? Is there a distinct “Call to Action” present and visible? Is the readability good? Does it load properly on a mobile device?
I frequently use the “Inspect” feature available in Chrome. It is activated by a right-click on web page that results a pop-up list. “Inspect” is at the bottom of that list. I use the Element Selection tool to identify the most frequent deficiencies in SEO:
- Lack of an H1 heading
- Multiple H1 headings
- Improper heading format hierarchy
Then I will do an itemized search by clicking Ctrl+F to look for:
- SEO Page Title – evaluating that it is unique from others on the site, properly-sized, keyword optimized.
- Meta Description content – Measuring its size (characters or pixels) and keyword focus—if it is being used at all!
- ALT tags on images – Observing if they are used, and if so, are they optimized.
Selling Digital Marketing: Serving Your Prospects First
Selling digital marketing services is best done when it is a consultative process, so knowing what is going on inside a site is going to be key if you wish to be thorough. The process is not a “One size fits all” exercise. Each prospect is unique and can have countless factors that can influence your final recommendation on which digital marketing service you would recommend.
Take, for example, a local business. If the prospect is one that operates on a local scale (not national or strictly e-commerce), how well has their GMB (Google My Business) account been managed? Where do they rank on GMB, compared to the local competition? My first action is to closely examine the prospect’s GMB account. Is it being fed regularly? By that, I mean, does it show signs of life? Is there activity to indicate it is being managed regularly? If I see just Google Reviews and a score, but no posts, photos, services, products or even review responses, the account is terribly undernourished in Google’s eyes.
While this may be so, the same local business may enjoy the bulk of its revenue and profit from a successful e-commerce site, built to maximize online sales for greater profits. Would it be useful in this case to stay focused on improving the GMB account at the expense of another approach like a Google Ads campaign?
Show Me the Data
There is no voice quite as authoritative as the voice of undisputable data. In my presentation to a prospect, I will have a spreadsheet open and ready to share. It will illustrate website traffic data for a 2-year lookback period, both organic and paid. This will be represented for both the future client as well as the select competitors provided for the research.
A few minutes after beginning the traffic data discussion, we will have moved forward into a detailed dialogue about keyword rankings. We will examine Google-ranked keywords appearing in the top 10 pages for each site under evaluation. The sortable columns will include keywords, current rank position, average search volume, estimated cost per click (CPC), and the URL to which the result points.
Testing Levels of Interest
This is a great opportunity to repeat a test of the prospect’s primary interest. While the data on the shared screen may look driven primarily by keywords and ranking, the CPC may catch the most attention. First, if there appears to be a good deal of familiarity expressed over CPC, it may likely indicate the prospect has some reasonable level of experience with Google Ads. Many times, you can extract past histories of digital marketing service experiences from the prospect, but sometimes that is not shared so candidly. Be listening for clues.
Be aware of bold pay per click (PPC) opportunities staring you right in the face, too. After some repeated exposure to a variety of industries, I know (at this point) CPC pricing varies wildly among keywords and industries. Some CPCs may appear “expensive” while others may look “cheap” to a fresh digital marketing services sales rep. What matters is what the business decision maker believes. Given the proper ad execution, can a CPC for a given term with good search volume deliver an acceptable return on investment (ROI) at reasonable click-through and conversion rates? Unless it is obvious, I will ask that question because I simply do not know the margins. I will always ask what the lifetime value of a customer is, too.
Juicing the Data-Fruit
That sheet of data claims the “Best Lead Actor” accolade in most presentations I have witnessed. It is so rich with information to share and discuss. The story, in data form, can be told directly with confidence. It is basically irrefutable. But watch how it can also tell the story we want it to.
Looking to see which are the top-ranked keywords? Sort…done. “Wow! Go figure—I never knew my site would rank for that term.” That is light chit-chat to get things going—and it can actually be entertaining at times.
Scroll down the list to see the “low-hanging fruit” in positions 11-20. You may notice a few that have exceptionally high search volume. You describe the opportunity and begin to sense the prospect is catching what you’re sending. Before long, you will feel motivated to propel those big terms upward like a SpaceX Falcon for your client—but they are not your client, yet.
You are feeling the energy grow and selling digital marketing services is more fun than you imagined. The prospect needs some validation that they are in a good position to overtake some competition. You eagerly comply and click a tab to view their ranked keywords. You might filter out their branded keywords to look at just the core keywords. Maybe you filter again to reveal geo-centric terms. You perform your analysis aloud, absorbing comments and questions that may be helpful guidance to understanding the possible “pain points” a prospect is experiencing. You begin to see the landing strip ahead. It is time to begin the closing process.
Proposals for the Best Digital Marketing Services You Can Sell
If you have held their attention, or even engaged your prospect well throughout the presentation, the final steps of this call feel like “afterglow.” It can be calm, reassuring, and filled with a positive outlook. You have both toured a technical landscape that few examine with such focus. There has been no arm twisting, no premature hard closes. The conversation has made its way, naturally, through a variety of densely aggregated data. Now it has delivered a direction by consensus. What comes next?
We would share a proposal of the recommended service by email the very same day. It will represent the range of cost to have one of our production team (consultants) within the discipline selected (SEO, PPC, SMM) provide digital marketing services. Naturally, it would offer the opportunity to retain these services for different commitment periods, from 3 months to 12 months. It would also illustrate that additional time (hours per month) at additional cost could accelerate results. We expect our eager prospect will review this and most likely have questions, so we ask to schedule a follow-up meeting a few days after this initial meeting. We attempt to do this before ending our call, and book it before saying “Bye, for now.”A word to the wise: Do not take it for granted that your technology will support you endlessly without failing. Click To Tweet
The Dangers of Selling Digital Marketing Services in a Live Webinar
The experience written of here is not necessarily the same on each call. There are some folks who just cannot be pleased, it seems. Others will sound like your best friend for 60 minutes and never answer another single contact attempt. Others, most surprisingly, will present as difficult as a parochial school principal and then stun you with complete trust and a full order of services from your digital marketing inventory.
The human element will always be somewhat unpredictable. However, do we expect that from the technology we use when selling digital marketing services, from home of in the office?
A word to the wise: Do not take it for granted that your technology will support you endlessly without failing. No need to become paranoid of system failures or cell tower collapses, but just the same, do not be overly confident in your technology.
Anticipate Possible Points of Failure
Better yet, be prepared! The points of failure you may encounter on a typical webinar in which you are hoping to sell digital marketing services to a prospect include:
- Unexpected (but somehow, previously scheduled) system software updates.
- Mouse battery failure
- Internet outage (always do a test run using a cellular personal hotspot, if you have the feature)
- Prospect difficulties downloading or using the webinar platform (recommend they test it prior to the meeting)
- Prospect difficulties with device settings (microphone, speakers, camera)
- Unexpected presenter background noises or distractions (not technical, technically)
- Webinar platform limitations (participant capacity, live meeting length limit)
- Screen sharing use complications (worse: screen sharing blunders like sharing a screen that has private content displayed for everyone to see!)
- Frozen screens or audio dropouts
There are ways to minimize the occurrence of many of these gaffes, but not all. Nevertheless, you should be prepared to handle the unexpected. Does this mean you must know everything? Impossible. However, knowing how to react in the face of complications can make the difference between a sale and a loss.
Staying Calm Because You are the Expert
What happens when (not “if”) you are dealt a technical knot that looks headed toward disaster? Are you feeling the heat from an in-house “Website Manager” being overly defensive of poor SEO performance? The key is to keep calm. This call is not the place for personal meltdowns or blaming others for the troubles being experienced. Show your prospect you are in control under all conditions. It conveys the same level of aptitude will be present in their consultant. You and I are not just selling digital marketing services. We are Strategists who know how to interpret the data few have seen. We ultimately translate it into a path for successful marketing.
This does not mean you are perfection incarnate, because mistakes happen. When they do, take them with ease and let the others in your webinar see you as unfazed, capable of making corrections without derailing your momentum. Everyone likes being around someone who is confident and reassuring. Be that person!
Are You Ready to Jump into Selling Digital Marketing Services?
In the process of selling digital marketing services, I am convinced that the best process involves analysis of data first. Allowing the data to “tell the story” is good for the prospect. Likewise, it is good for the production department who ends up doing their work. Working to maximize return on SEO when the client is not prepared for a longer-term effort is not enjoyable. By the same measure, a client awaiting quick PPC results should not wait unfairly for a campaign to begin.
Act swiftly, be accountable, and communicate with your client relentlessly. Be realistic in setting client expectations. You should feel comfortable selling digital marketing services that can result in positive outcomes—but notice the word, “can.” Even in the best situations, promising unrealistic outcomes are a recipe for discontent that spreads up and down the line.
Jay Wiencko, Digital Marketing Strategist