Get Smart With Solution Selling in a Digital WorldBy: Jenna Greco Media Sales, Sales Transformation
With increased digital options, consumers are watching and reading what they want, when they want, on whatever device they want. Leading media organizations are expanding their portfolios to reach consumers wherever they access content. However, publishers with limited offerings will struggle as advertisers push toward digital and mobile options. Advertisers want results and digital allows them to track and validate their investment. Armed with the right offering, solution selling will help publishers gain more share of wallet from their clients. Media organizations who can offer options and show value will garner the most growth opportunity.
This is an exciting time for revenue leaders. But capitalizing on this growth opportunity means transforming the sales organization in two major ways. First is redefining the sales structure. This includes the job roles, responsibilities and rules of engagement for how an organization goes to advertisers to deliver cross-platform solutions. The second is the management programs, including training and sales compensation to educate and reinforce solution focus.
Successful solution selling requires evolving the traditional ad sales coverage model. In the past, the account executive (AE) was the focal point of the sales process, supported by account managers and AdOps to drive campaign success. As the solution portfolio grows, along with advertiser expectations, the AE role needs more support in order to deliver. To provide this support, publishers are investing in new pre-sales and post-sales roles. This enables the AE to expand their sales capacity and focus across the portfolio. Pre-sales and marketing roles such as insights/research and custom solutions enable top of the funnel activities. On the post-sales side, AdOps and campaign measurement roles get the AE out of fulfillment activities and provide support to ensure campaigns are delivered. Revenue leaders need to clearly define these roles, along with the rules of engagement across the sales process, to maximize the return on investment.Management Programs
While investment in new roles helps create more sales capacity for account executives to engage in solution selling, the right enablement is critical to scale the structure and drive revenue. In AGI’s recent Media Ad Sales Trends survey, 88 percent of leaders state that their team needs improved skills to support solution selling. As publishers require AEs to sell new solutions and demonstrate an ROI, they need new training programs. This includes a mix of knowledge training with a focus on products and trends, as well as sales skills training to enable consultative selling. Revenue leaders also need to evolve the sales compensation plan to support the increased focus on solution selling. This can be done in a number of ways and depends on the publisher’s overall strategy. Typical approaches range from introducing team-based solution measures to hurdles or adjustments or separate solution measures.
Transforming your sales organization to effectively support solution selling requires a coordinated effort across the sales structure and supporting management programs.