One of the chief success metrics for our agency’s account management team is organic growth. We define organic growth as the amount of additional revenue generated through our existing client relationships.
Clients come to us because they want more out of their paid search and social program; they want consistent volume, revenue and profit growth. To drive organic growth, account managers must “always be selling.” This article will discuss methods PPC account managers in any situation (agency, consultant, in-house) can use to persuade their stakeholders to invest more budget into their PPC accounts.
Method #1: Have a solid strategy
Having a solid strategy is the cornerstone of any PPC program. Without a coherent plan in place, it would be extremely difficult or nearly impossible to convince stakeholders that investing more budget in paid search is a wise idea. Stakeholders want to know why more budget should be invested, how the extra budget is going to be spent and what the expected results are going to be.
Working under the guidance of a coherent, larger plan creates both trust and credibility, which is the first step to complete in any sales process. If clients don’t have trust in the plan — or worse, don’t trust that there is a plan — it will not be possible to create the necessary justifications to win any extra budget.
What does a PPC strategy look like? The pillars of solid PPC strategy should contain the following elements:
- A deep understanding of the overall business situation (performance metrics, competitive landscape, deep understanding of the client/stakeholder’s most important goals).
- A guiding principle that governs overall direction. Translating the guiding principle into a simple-to-understand core objective will keep the PPC program tied to an overarching plan.
- A coordinated action plan with initiatives that are tied directly to the guiding principle.
Carve out time to create a solid strategic plan. Good strategy is the conduit for positive performance — which, in turn, makes it easier to state your case for more budget.
Method #2: Pitching new ideas
Presenting new ideas to clients is critical to winning more budget from them. Why is it important to always be presenting new ideas?
- PPC is dynamic, and the landscape is changing all the time. A strategy or tactic that’s implemented today could be outdated in a few months, or it could simply stop working. New ideas prevent stagnation and keep your PPC program fresh.
- There are more pay-per-click platforms than ever available for marketers to utilize. Breaking into social advertising platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter opens new possibilities for growth and expansion.
- Expansion leads to new budget over time. For an account to grow, it often needs more budget to properly test new ideas and initiatives.
How do we pitch new ideas to clients in a convincing way? Here are some tactics to use that can lead to a successful pitch for new budget:
- Define the scope of the idea your pitching. Are you proposing a small modification to your PPC program or a radical change?
- Tailor the pitch to who the decision-maker is. In most client/stakeholder relationships, there’s the daily contact who has operational control. Based on the size of the idea, the client might need to bring in their superiors to sign off on the decision and approve additional testing budget. Ensuring your pitch answers the questions of the most important decision-makers increases the chances of winning additional budget to fund your proposed initiatives.
- Boil ideas down to their most important points. The easier it is for stakeholders to understand your idea, the budget required to successfully implement it and the urgency for moving forward, the better the chances of getting sign-off.
Always strive to bring new ideas to the table. Innovation is the key to account growth, and ultimately, to growing PPC spend. Successfully convincing clients to invest in new initiatives vs. routing budgets from existing ones provides more flexibility to test and iterate, which are key backbones of PPC success.
Method #3: Overcoming objections
In any selling situation, you must be prepared to overcome objections. Despite having a strong strategy in place and regularly presenting innovative new ideas to clients, there will come a time when clients say no.
“No” should not treated as the final word but rather the beginning of a rolling dialogue that ultimately leads to winning more budget. Use those nos as an opportunity to strengthen your pitch and develop a stronger case for obtaining more budget. Following are a couple of ways of overcoming objections:
- Educate your audience. In my experience, when I see a pitch fail, it’s mostly due to a lack of context. When preparing your pitch, make sure you understand the big problem your stakeholder faces, and educate them as to how your initiative will solve it.
- Having a strong point of view. Many pitches also fail when the presenter does not have a convincing point of view regarding the subject matter. The best way to develop a strong point of view is to do extensive background research, make solid projections on potential outcomes and consult with others to gain feedback about your plans and pitch. Based on that information, you can develop a point of view that can be communicated in way that garners trust and confidence in your way forward.
Overcoming objections is all about building credibility. Being fully prepared and confident in the information being presented can help reduce objections and lead you to secure more budget for your PPC initiatives.
Growing PPC accounts is all about selling clients on the notion that your approach is the best way forward and that more budget is required to execute the plan. You need to have a coherent strategy, a steady stream of new ideas and a compelling argument for why they should be implemented to expand your client’s PPC program.
Always selling — whether it’s a new optimization, tactic, strategy or platform — demonstrates a commitment to growth, which ultimately leads to increased budgets, stronger revenues and profits.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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Author: Jeff Baum