The ecosystem for media sales people is shifting, but core skills remain more important than ever writes Chris Freel, national agency sales director, Fairfax Media…
It’s reassuring in the disrupted world of media that a sales team still needs a human touch to be successful.
That’s not to suggest we should keep doing things the way we always have. In just a few years the role of media sales teams has become vastly different – from ‘order-taking’ to helping clients navigate the converged landscape where paid, owned and earned media strategies are the norm. This means changing the way we develop our people and how we sell.
I believe five key approaches will distinguish the best performing media sales teams of the future.
1. Employ specialists from diverse backgrounds
The back office is now much larger than the front line as data, insights and intelligence drive marketing decisions and sales solutions. Specialists are in demand, whether they are data scientists, analysts or strategists. As the required skill sets change, so has the dynamic of media sales teams. Media organisations now need to look beyond their industry and invest in people with deep specialist knowledge from a diverse variety of backgrounds.
2. Know your clients’ business
Great salespeople know the client’s challenges inside and out. They focus relentlessly on finding solutions to these challenges rather than forcing products down the client’s throat. This sounds obvious but the CMO of one of Australia’s largest advertisers recently told me he ‘could count on one hand’ the number of media salespeople/organisations who had put his company’s business objectives at the heart of their conversation in the past 12 months.
Selling solutions is getting harder as they become more complex, but finding solutions is far easier as technology has opened up so many more options for salespeople to explore. Those who use this insight and plug it back into tackling client challenges will reap rewards.
3. Have an audience rather than a platform focus
Audiences connect with brands. As we’re seeing with the global expansion of media brands, those with a strong cultural currency, which lead conversations and create experiences, are the ones that connect with audiences. The Sydney Morning Herald for example is woven into Australia’s cultural DNA. It has more than 180 years of cultural currency bursting from its veins and it carries that currency across devices and platforms. It is the power of the brand, not the platform, which drives trust, credibility and value. As an industry we need to stop our obsession with platforms and give more thought to the brands that attract and define the quality of audiences.
4. Embrace automation and focus on inspiration
Media is moving to a stock exchange-style, automated and optimised arena where every dollar will be spent as efficiently and effectively as possible. Embracing insights from technology and data to inform trading decisions will free sales teams to focus on creativity, inspiration and delivering great ideas to match clients’ needs.
5. Deliver a great customer experience
Machines are important but people are essential. I have yet to see a spreadsheet connect with my emotions or have an algorithm make me laugh. Media surveys since 2012 consistently show relationships are still a top priority for agencies. We work in a communication economy and the ability to communicate well is the essential ingredient for great sales people. All the tech in the world won’t change the fact that great customer service and delivering brilliant ideas are key to success.
If you’ve been watching the Olympics these past few days, chances are you’ve probably come across the talent that is US gymnast Simone Biles. Biles has encapsulated viewers with her athletic jumps, flips and all-around gymnastic genius. As a result, Biles has also dominated social media feeds, with fans pouring out their admiration for the […]
A study conducted by the University of Queensland has claimed that the social media app TikTok needs to create regulations around vaping. Researchers at the University of Queensland analysed and evaluated the content of over 800, of TikToks most viewed vaping videos. Collectively the TikToks amassed over one billion views. The study found that 63 […]
ESPN and the National Basketball League have extended their broadcast partnership for a further three seasons as part of an expanded television rights package. ESPN and the National Basketball League announce a new expanded agreement that will run for three seasons, until the end of the 2023/24 NBL season. The landmark broadcast deal comes with […]
Sydney-based co-working startup, Workit Spaces, announced today the launch of ‘Beyond The Store’, a six-part web series to uncover the smarts and passion behind successful Australian eCommerce businesses. Workit Spaces has gone where no other coworking hub has gone before, by investing over $100,000 to tell the stories of six Australian eCommerce businesses and how […]
In light of the prolonged lockdown occurring throughout New South Wales, Semi Permanent Sydney has announced new dates for this year’s festival. It will now take place between 17-19 November 2021 at Carriageworks. “Our mission, always, is to craft the best and most valuable experience for both our speakers and audience, and to ensure the […]
Acast, the independent power source of podcasting has teamed up with Comscore to provide brand suitability controls for brands advertising through the Acast Marketplace. This new innovation is part of a global partnership with Comscore, and will be available to all advertisers working with Acast Australia and New Zealand. The brand suitability solutions offered by […]
Social media management solutions company Hootsuite, has announced that Maggie Lower has joined the company as chief marketing officer. Lower will own the brand’s overall global strategy, demand generation, communications, and events. Prior to joining Hootsuite, Lower was the global chief marketing officer at Cision, the first chief marketing officer at TrueBlue, and has held […]