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Key Principles of Sales Management on the Internet

  |  November 2, 2010   |  Comments   |  

Online marketers must possess a sales mindset. Here's a six-point checklist.

Marketers must possess a sales management mindset. So where should they begin? Because I've been working in this area for years, I'd like to share this six-point summary for marketers.

1. Establish a Sales Management Model

Set up a sales/leads/registrations management model that can help you to identify the parts of sales conversion funnel and key performance indicators (KPI) of each corresponding part. Based on the KPI, you can preset conversion targets that should help you to achieve the sales goals. There are two approaches. One is the bottom-up approach in which you have fixed sales goals; based on the conversion percentage assumptions, you identify the media investment. The other approach is called top down; you fix the media investment and based on the same set of conversion percentage assumptions, you identify the sales goals. With the sales model setup, you can generate core KPI for the recurring sales monitoring such as cost per click (CPC), cost per lead (CPL), and cost per conversion/acquisition (CPA). Sophisticated Internet companies have more than a thousand KPIs.

2. Embrace Analytics

Everything on Internet is measurable and that's how marketing today evolves. To run a sales model with integrity and sustainability, analytics is the backbone to support the marketing manager to devise strategy and make investment decisions. There are many tools you can use for media tracking, site traffic monitoring, or even build your own in-house source codes to identify media profitability, such as DoubleClick, Google Analytics, and Omniture SiteCatalyst. In the end, it's the media analytics culture that matters rather than which tool you're using. Good analytics discipline should be able to tell you which medium generates profit, volume, or traffic. Ideally you can use real-time analytics to optimise your media investment down to each individual media placement from reallocating media budget.

3. Capitalise on Traffic Management

4. Monitor On-Site Conversions

Congratulations, traffic will be driven to your site or landing page. You must understand the click stream between pages and minimize the dropout rate through ongoing A/B testing. This will help you formulate an optimised page template with strong call-to-actions from using tabs, grids, buttons, overlays, table, bullets, and many HTML tricks to offer comprehensive information in a snapshot without clutter. Ideally, one-click wins! If the sales generation is not straight-though, stress test back-end manual processes to ensure an efficient and speedy turnaround. People on Internet are impatient; a timely response is critical to close the sales.

5. Select the Right Agency

You must pick the right partner. Some agencies, even the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As), still embrace applying traditional advertising and media techniques on digital advertising. Some agencies provide strategy, branding design, and creative development, delivering very sexy campaign proposals and creative. However, there are shortcomings in performance marketing. There is a disconnect between the end result accountability and the creative and media investment actually paid. Of course, there are many factors affecting the campaign or sales results. But you want to see the science (data and measurability) blended into the campaign proposal. For example, if the creative guy knows that the search engine spider won't capture flashy content, will he still opt for Flash? If the call-to-action button can be seen only when you scroll the page, will the designer consider moving it up when he knows the sales conversion may increase by 20 percent? What if you found the click-through rate of a production house's cheesy banner is much higher than an elegant animated banner created from a creative flagship? Unless you're purely doing branding awareness on the Internet, you may need to check whether your partner agencies are on the same page as your business today.

6. Select the Right Employees

Last but not least, even if you have the right product, right model, right strategy, and right tools, you still need the right marketing people with 'sales' mindset to drive the number by whatever means.

Do the above right, and you can achieve decent results.

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Brian Hui

Brian Hui, director of marketing for Amazon China, is a digital enthusiast with more than 13-year multinational experience in advertising, online marketing, channel & sales management, with expertise ranging from lead generation & conversion, SEO/SEM, performance based marketing to integrated communication. Before Amazon, Brian served in various Citibank locales, Standard Chartered Bank, FCB & McCann Erickson where he had a comprehensive understanding of client and agency operations. He is a graduate of University of Hong Kong, School of Economics and Finance. Follow and connect with Brian on Twitter @terrifician , LinkedIn and Sina Weibo BrianHui .

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