Changing ad sales firms? Here’s how to make the transition!
Associations or B2B publishers, have you ever considered changing ad sales agencies? The potential new revenue opportunities and fresh ideas is exciting. The actual agency transition process, however, can be pretty daunting. AdBoom Advertising, our ad sales agency, has had its share of transitioning associations in and out. We have compiled what we’ve learned over the years below. We hope it can help makes your transition a little smoother.
Common Reasons Associations Change Ad Sales Agencies
A Bedford Group Consulting firm study found the average client-agency relationship tenure in 1984 was seven years. In 1997 it was 5 years. Today it’s less than 3 years. It’s becoming increasingly common to stay with an agency for a shorter time, but why? When it comes to associations, these are among the reasons most consider bringing on a new agency:
- Agency performance. This varies from not reaching sales goals to not returning phone calls and everything in between. Whatever makes your association unhappy with working with the current team.
- Budget changes: A decrease (or in some cases increase) causes associations to reconsider where to allocate or slash funds to boost revenue.
- Bringing ad sales in-house. Typically triggered by the above reason: to save money. Or in technical or niche industries it can be effective to use industry/product experts to sell ads.
- Personnel changes: Either within your association or at the current agency. New association personnel may decide to vet and bring on an agency of their choosing and boot the incumbent.
- A desire for fresh eyes: This is particularly if the current agency has had your business for a long time. Associations may go elsewhere to find previously untapped or unconsidered opportunities.
Tips for Making a Successful Ad Sales Agency Transition
In the event that one (or a combination) of the five above scenarios do occur and your association does decide to change here are some tips to ease the transition:
- First, review your current contract. Find out for certain when it ends. Determine whether to finish out or break your current contract. Look for any early termination penalties, requirements, or fees. Consider this information when deciding when to break ties.
- Create an internal transition plan: Start considering what collateral, contacts, etc the old agency has and begin preparing a plan for getting it back. If the old agency has access to any of your association’s equipment, software, databases, subscriptions or other resources, give them a firm written deadline by which that access will be revoked and/or it should be returned.
- Enlist your new agency’s help with the transition process. Once you’ve selected a new agency involve them as much as possible in the transition. Provide the above transition information to the new agency. Also, ask them for what they will need on their end to being working. If possible, we recommend doing a transition call with the two agencies. (This is ideal, but depending on the circumstances unfortunately not always realistic.)
- Provide a status update of current clients: This can be done in the transition call with the agencies, but a document with this information should also be given to the new agency.
- Provide a formal notification to your new clients. Some print publications do this in their masthead or in the advertising sections on their website. We suggest also sending correspondence to your advertisers directly from the association. Inform them of the agency change, provide new contact information, and include an effective date for when the change is official.
Transitions can be tricky, but they don’t have to be. The best advice is to stay ahead of the process. Constant communication between all the parties is also vital to making a transition successful.