Media Case Study: Product Launch & Advertising Sales

Dex Media/RH Donnelley – A $2B Yellow Page advertising company, the dominant incumbent directories company for the west.

The Client’s Problem
Dex Media needed to diversify its product offerings to both increase revenue and drive further customers to the core Yellow Pages products. A bridge product called “Getaways” was created –  a magazine targeting customer segments with low utilization of core Yellow Pages products, specifically travel and tourism. Internet products were woven into this sales process as an additional value-ad, and although Dex Media had a very large sales force, an outside force was identified as key to a successful program.

The Marketplace
The market consisted mostly of travel and tourism operators in the targeted regions for the publication (a key demographic in terms of high advertising spending but low historical capture rate by the client).

The Sales Partnerships Solution

  • We evaluated the past sales activities of the client and spoke with samplings of current and many potential customers. Sales Partnerships evaluated the sales process used by Dex Media, incorporating new successful sales elements while avoiding the client’s limitations.
  • Sales Partnerships also evaluated the sales process of the client’s competitors to look for vulnerabilities and lessons that could be adapted to help the client.
  • Sales Partnerships identified ideal sales representatives and deployed our proprietary recruiting process to bring them in as employees ahead of schedule.
  • The sales strategy we set fundamentally changed how advertising had been sold in this market. Rather than talk about the “rate card” (the standardized pricing format used for most advertising), we began talking to the responsible decision makers in various departments regarding how they would increase revenue for the year.
  • This sales process identified needs from several areas of potential clients finally submitting those needs with appropriate solutions to the advertising buyer. This changed the dynamics of the sale to have a series of internal coaches pushing for purchase from the departments that usually treated this as a commodity sale.

Sales Partnerships created the most successful travel and tourism magazine launch in the West (measured over the past ten years) while significantly increasing the client’s Internet advertising. The product succeeded in building Dex Media’s brand within this segment of the market generating revenue, but also increasing sales of core yellow pages products.  This launch was the most successful advertising sales launch by a sales outsourcing firm in nearly a decade.

The second area of measurement of the results was in direct comparison to the client’s internal efforts. Two attempts had previously been made to sell the same product internally by Dex Media. The first was parallel to our engagement, the second was after RH Donnelley acquired Dex Media (our sales program was suspended for nine months while Donnelley completed due diligence and contract reviews before being able to re-engage with us).

Using top representatives including highly respected premise field sales representatives, our client’s best performance in total sales per representative was 40% of our team average for the same product, the second team claimed less than 10% of Sales Partnerships’ success. The ROI comparison was more than 5:1 more favorable for working with Sales Partnerships than the best internal Dex program and more than 40:1 versus their team averages.

Sales Partnerships’ engagement with Dex Media served as a valuable objective source for market information helping improve future internal Dex operations.