Ad Sales Life

Try pairing passion with your sales strategy

Implement three plans and create a culture of helping people for new business growth


One of my favorite things about being a revenue leader is perfecting the overall sales strategy. I love harmonizing the beat of all sales and marketing efforts to help others and grow revenue. Growth in any industry is a skill set rooted in a genuine passion for helping others. Sales is the business of people, and having a passion for helping people is a must if you’re going to grow.

Why is this important? I’m going to lay out three strategies to accelerate your advertising sales growth, but if you don’t have a passion for helping others, they will not matter. This season will be ripe with advertising sales opportunities. If your news organization has developed a valuable advertising product that helps businesses and consumers within your community, then incorporating these three things will help accelerate growth immensely.

First, include reasonable, tangible, projected return on investment in your ad campaign presentations. I suggest building an ROI calculator that factors in the conversion rates and industry averages based on marketing products to make this more convenient. The strategy is to outline a realistic ROI to showcase the bottom-line benefit of using your advertising product. This strategy helps advertisers assess risks and simplify decision-making. It can also create urgency if you illustrate potential opportunity cost by not leveraging your advertising product sooner. This strategy has been taboo in the news media industry because measuring brand and revenue impact are not always uniquely aligned.

That said, I’ve always believed that being a valuable marketing partner meant meeting advertisers where they are and effectively communicating benefits and impact to the bottom line if and whenever applicable.

Second, put the advertiser in the driver’s seat! Your advertiser must see themselves using your product, audience and advertising tools. Immerse them in the experience of doing business with your organization and how valuable your insight is as a marketing partner. Help them visualize what their logos and offers would look like on your products with ad mockups. Showcase your audience volume and data so they can better understand how to leverage your services to make the most significant impact on their community. Create a testimonial video showing an advertiser developing and implementing a campaign with your team and organization. In addition, consider providing one free small ad with a heavily discounted offer to new advertisers to demonstrate your capability and product value.

Third, automate whatever you can. Automation, with some exceptions, along with communication and timing, are the subtle strategies that nurture accelerated growth. Lead generation, presentation development, contract signing, onboarding, re-engagement, performance reporting and retention communication are all tasks that can be automated to keep your teams organized, on track and focused on growth. It may be ideal to dedicate personnel to overseeing these tasks in your growth strategy planning for the added program or administrative support.

Automation should create a healthier environment for sales team members to generate new business, close more deals and increase their confidence.

I’ve only listed three, but there are tons of healthy and effective sales strategies that can accelerate your growth. Remember, they will only matter if you’re dedicated and passionate about helping others. Perfecting your sales strategy is about helping your team members, clients, supporters and organization achieve more. As a revenue leader, you must decide how and when growth occurs, but as an individual, you must determine why growth needs to happen. Focusing on building structures will create a town, but being passionate about helping people will create a community.

Richard E. Brown is a News/Media Alliance Rising Star recipient, the former director of renewals and digital sales strategy at LPi, and the former director of digital operations and sales of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He recently served as the head of digital subscriber churn for Gannett | USA TODAY Network and is now the senior director of retention for The Daily Beast. He is also a member of the board of directors for the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation.


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