• 5 minute read
  • Mar 24, 2021 10:04:00 AM

5 strategies for a thriving Ad Sales function

Explore these 5 strategies successful Media organizations are following to see how you can thrive in the digital ad sales landscape.

Waves of digitalization continue to wash over the Media industry.

In 2021, Zenith expects digital Media to grow by a robust 9.6%, totaling $136.3 billion and accounting for 57.6% of all ad dollars.

This digital-driven market poses it’s fair share of challenges for your ad sales and publishing, but it also opens up plenty of opportunities.

So how can you make the most of them?

We’ve outlined some of the strategies successful Media organizations are already following to thrive in this new ad sales landscape. 

Let’s get into it.

1.Consolidate and streamline your technology stack

The proliferation of ad tech means it seems like there’s a different system for everything. 

But – dare we say it – technology doesn’t always fix the problem. Adding solutions on top of solutions means many ad publishers are now reliant on a poorly integrated patchwork of systems. 

These siloed systems lead to slow, inaccurate and inefficient processes. Worse still, they lead to siloed data and limited visibility of your customers and your ad performance.  

This not only breeds inefficiency, it hurts your customer experience too.

Reliance on legacy systems, or even a surplus of new systems, doesn’t cut it in the digital age.  

Instead, to keep up with customer expectations and compete in today’s cross-channel, multi-platform world, you need to streamline and consolidate your ad sales tech.

 

So how do you go about this?

By extending your CRM with a Media-specific Order Management System (OMS) that seamlessly integrates with your ad server you can get a centralized cloud-based ad platform. 

A single advertising hub, with everything from your customer data to Media product lines and real-time metrics can provide a 360-degree view of your customers – plus transparency across your entire ad sales function. 

It’s the basis of an efficient and auditable advertising function. It will give you that all important single source of truth, from which you can integrate the other essential ad tech you need.

By using a single platform to book, publish and track all advertising functions, Newsday has cut the use of manual processes such as excel and email, and sped up its entire sales cycle. 

2. Prioritize real-time business metrics

Real-time business metrics give you insights into your ad performance, customer behaviour, sales performance and new opportunities. 

But to make the most of these insights, you need your data to flow seamlessly across your entire ad sales process. 

It also needs to be centralized for better visibility, accuracy and optimization.

With a real-time reporting hub your customers will benefit from instant inventory availability and continually optimized campaigns.

 

These real-time metrics also provide data-backed advertising buying, reporting and insights. 

So you can sell better, forecast more accurately and improve information in the sales pipeline. 

3. Diversify your offering

As the Media industry continues to change, it’s a smart time to diversify your revenue stream and explore opportunities in new markets.

If you aren’t already, this starts with the ability to reach audiences on the channels they’re consuming Media with cross-media ads. 

But beyond ad sales, it’s time to think about how you could serve your customers in new ways. 

Publishers are diversifying through custom content, webinars, eCommerce, events, content marketing, lead generation and agency services.

 

But to diversify successfully, you need flexible technology that lets you adapt and launch new commercial offers quickly. 

4. Become a trusted advisor

Most of your customers aren’t digital experts. Endless Media platforms, digital channels and networks can feel like a maze. 

You can win them over by helping them find their way. 

To offer more value than the likes of Facebook and Google you have to go beyond booking and publishing ads. You have to become a trusted advisor. 

 

By freeing up your sales team from administrative tasks, you can empower them to engage with your customers, get to know their needs and help them get real results.

Whether that’s by providing incisive insights on ad performance or helping navigate the wider digital landscape.

By helping your customers better understand some of the intricacies of Media and ad sales, you’ll be gaining their trust and investing in your customer experience.

5. Streamline training and cut staff churn

If your employees aren’t sticking around for long, it’s costing you.

Replacing a highly-trained employee can exceed 200% of their annual salary.

But it’s a common problem in sales positions in the Media industry.

Staff churn has an ongoing impact.

It’s not just about a short-term drop in productivity and opportunities. It’s the time, effort and cost of finding new recruits, training them and getting them up to speed. 

 

So how do you keep your employees engaged, happy and productive?

First off, you need to equip them with the right systems. 

For your sales team, that could be sales management tools and quoting systems to save time, automate manual tasks and close deals faster.

On top of these systems, you also need to foster a culture of collaboration and training. 

Training is crucial to develop the digital skills – such as marketing analytics, customer analytics, and web analytics – that are now necessary to thrive in digital advertising.

But training comes with its costs. So the less systems you use, and the easier they are to navigate, the faster your people will get to grips with the technology. 

Thriving Media companies are already adapting

92% of company leaders surveyed by McKinsey thought their business model would not remain viable at the rates of digitization at that time.

So you aren’t alone. 

Today, regardless of how experienced and talented your team, you need the right tech to run a thriving ad sales function. 

But with today’s complex ad tech landscape, less can be more. 

Prioritizing a streamlined ad sales and booking function, run on flexible, future-proof technology will set your people up to add value, while maximizing your profits in the process.

 

Modern Media Executives Playbook 

For more strategies on how you can consolidate and streamline your tech stack to drive operational efficiencies and innovate commercially check out our free Modern Media playbook.