Whilst most publishing companies have embraced digital media few have totally integrated their media sales teams, more and more are now starting to make that transition. Here are some of the learnings I have taken from my work with clients who are undertaking this journey.
What do I mean by an integrated media sales team?
As I see it an integrated media sales team is one that is platform neutral. Each sales person is responsible for selling across all channels whether that is print, digital desktop, mobile, social across both display and creative solutions.
The growth of programmatic trading in the digital display market is effecting traditional digital display teams so sales people have to be able to deal with this changing market and respond effectively to it. In many markets this is forcing sales teams to be more creative and to seek out budget for more creative solutions/native advertising which naturally work well with print.
The modern media sales team
If your sales team is making this transition, what should you do? Firstly you need sales people who are multi-skilled, who are comfortable selling ‘native’ advertising, and complex cross-platform solutions that deliver results for clients. These need to be highly skilled, creative sales people who are brilliant at developing and selling ideas. Ensure you give your team the knowledge they need to be able to understand how each channel performs and how best to sell it. If is often a fear of digital that can put off print sales people from embracing digital, once they have the knowledge they are more comfortable taking on broader remits.
Understanding the customer journey
To sell across platform effectively you need to understand how each channel works in the users purchasing journey as well as the mindset they are in when they are consuming the channel e.g. Mobile is highly interactive and often close to purchase whereas print is more likely to be at the start of the cycle in the awareness building phase. Sales people need to understand how this effects clients and how it can translate into more effective campaigns
In less digitally mature markets media sales teams may have to educate their clients about the merits of digital advertising and how to make the most of emerging platforms. One of the easiest ways for media sales people to do this is through using recent examples of integrated campaigns that have delivered for other clients. Have you got some strong examples of recent work made up into compelling case studies?
In-house developers and designers
The ability to develop ground-breaking creative formats and to deliver best in class cross- platform pitches is made easier by sales teams having access to in-house developers and designers. Clients and media agencies love ideas and are prepared to invest heavily to generate stand-out and media firsts. Media sales is highly competitive so if you can give your sales team an edge in terms of idea generation and execution you are more highly to succeed.
As the saying goes “what gets measured gets done”, your media sales team will need an integrated target and combined commission structure that rewards revenue across platform. If the reward systems remains too focused on print revenues the team will continue to focus most of their efforts on print.
In essence to successfully transition to integrated sales you need a highly skilled, knowledgeable sales team, who can develop creative ideas across platforms. They need to be supported with effective case studies, skilled in-house developers and designers who can make their ideas come to life, both in pitches and final execution.