How can a media sales professional shift from TV/radio/print to digital sales? I face this question often from many media professionals who aspire to shift their career from non- digital to digital sales but find it very difficult. Is it such a big challenge? I do not think so, but as it is said no pain, no gain. So, let us see what the requirements of digital sales are in general.
Are they different? Yes, they are. Are the skill-sets required different? Yes. But are they transferable skill-sets? Of course, they are. That is a big relief, isn’t it?
One needs to overcome the following three key challenges if you are interested to shift to digital sales:
This is one of the biggest challenges. Is it a mental block on part of the recruiter? Yes. But there is an equally big mental block in the professional’s own mind. Somehow I have experienced that the moment one talks of digital, there is a discomfort and inertia because mentally there is a strong association to IT and hence, being tech savvy, very ‘technical’.
One needs to change this block. Selling ads in the digital domain is similar to any other medium except that one needs to unlearn and relearn. The recruiter will start changing his perception once you clear this block.
Digital, as compared to print, radio or TV is a ‘measurable’ and ‘interactive’ medium. It is a medium which allows you to do target marketing like none other. Understanding of such unique features is a beginning point. If someone had to ask you to sell the medium you currently represent, you would be able to do it, right? That’s because you have experienced it and hence, can use the selling tools effectively. Similarly, one must spend time studying the generic unique features of digital. A good and easy way to start is to spend a lot of your spare time productively over the internet. Today, getting involved with social media such as Linkedin, Facebook is simple. Make professional use by meaningful interaction and you will, through sheer experience, learn a lot about the power of the medium which would help in developing your domain knowledge. Also, being positively visible on the medium will assist in fighting the challenge of the mind block on part of the recruiter. Just like you have IRS, RAM, TAM, etc. studying the audience measurement tools such as comScore related to the internet will provide for a better understanding of how one translates the findings into selling features. Interacting with digital media planning agencies is also a good idea to gain knowledge initially.
There is no skill-set which is largely different for digital sales as compared to other mediums but the degree to which some are required is greater, and can be worked upon. Let us take a look at some key ones:
Conceptual ability: The scope in terms of flexibility and accountability is so great in digital space that one can work much more closely with brands while offering internet as a medium. So ‘conceptual ability’ can be of better use.
Analytical ability: Because the medium is so dynamic and measurable, one needs to have good analytical skills to translate the benefit to the advertiser.
Communication skills: Since engaging content is the biggest differentiating feature on internet; as a media sales professional one needs have a high order of communication (both verbal and written) and presentation ability. Only then ideas can be sold.
A dynamic mind-set: Things are most dynamic on internet as a medium. To represent it, a sales professional needs to have a ‘dynamic mind set’ and be nimble footed to succeed.
Set a target for yourself, maybe monthly, in terms of improving bit by bit on areas mentioned above and you are well on your way to become a net savvy sales professional, the one most sought after by the digital recruiter.
Keep learning, keep growing...
The author is Founder, Aspiration