Best Practice No. 2: Have a Local Champion
Several of the co-op experts interviewed for this report cited a strong relationship between having a co-op champion/subject matter expert in the local sales office and greater success with co-op.
“Having a local champion at each location is key,” Sigler said. “This person can remind the sales staff of new promotions that are out there. This person can remind them to make co-op part of every needs analysis and new and existing customers.”
Giving local sales mangers and their superiors a co-op target and holding them accountable for it is a powerful driver of co-op performance. This used to be a common practice but the industry has drifted away from it, amid shifting priorities and thinning ranks.
In recent years, trends have been moving in the opposite direction. Many organizations have let their local co-op managers go, or moved them into new roles, leaving little in any local co-op support for sales reps.
Adding to the difficulty is the new era of virtual sales office, where reps work from home and are managed remotely. The Yellow Pages industry in particular has moved in this direction, which has many benefits, including reduced sales costs and greater autonomy for sales reps. One drawback is it makes promoting co-op more difficult.
“It creates another challenge,” a senior Yellow Pages executive said. “You are not able to hang up posters. You are not able to have the co-op subject matter expert walk up to a rep and say, ‘Hey, I see you were calling on a roofer last week. How much co-op are they using?'”
If a dedicated local co-op manager isn’t realistic given your organization’s resources, consider designating someone at the local level to be the co-op champion, even if it is only a small part of their job description.
This article was written by Charles Laughlin of the Local Search Association in Breaking Through the Co-op Clutter: Best Practices for Improved Co-op Advertising Sales. For more information on how Recas can help expand your brand advertising potential, please visit www.recas.com.