Media Case Study: Unlocking Hidden Sales CapacityBy: Tyler Miller Digital Transformation, Media Sales, Sales Process, Sales Productivity, Sales Strategy
Media sales organizations and publishers across the spectrum are experiencing evolving workload demands. The required pre- and post-sales work, effort and expertise is constantly shifting. Multiple factors drive these changes:
- Decreased demand for print advertising/publications
- Increased pricing pressure and commodification of traditional digital media
- Constantly evolving technological advancements
- Growing supply of customized campaign solutions, often commanding relatively higher profit margins for publishers
Alexander Group (AGI) recently partnered with an integrated media company that felt the impact across each of the above dimensions. The company’s sales organization aligned to the new strategy of maintaining traditional print and digital business while driving focus towards high profit, custom solutions. Although custom offerings accounted for only 20 percent of revenue, AGI found that the proportion of time allocated toward custom offerings across the sales support organization exceeded 50 percent. With revenue from custom offerings expected to nearly double by 2021, the organization needed to establish clarity around current processes to understand true capacity and avoid potentially overinvesting in the wrong types of resources to handle growing demand.
Capacity issues drove an increase in “Shadow Operations”: task owners pushing accountabilities toward others when assistance was needed and capacity was low. Over time, true role accountabilities became unclear as task orientation and role accountabilities blurred. Processes documented years ago no longer conformed to reality and how things were executed today.
These shadow operations limit accurate process mapping and identification of process bottlenecks. For example, deficits in trafficking capacity may motivate digital ad operations individuals to traffic ads. This can reduce ad operations’ capacity for campaign optimization and reporting, resulting in a misdiagnosed need for additional ad ops resources. Identifying inefficient shadow operations and determining pre- and post-sales process bottlenecks will enable prioritization of efficiency generating opportunities. By standardizing role definitions and eliminating “shadow operations,” AGI found the company could increase capacity by approximately 10 percent without adjusting headcount.
Demand for new products means potentially volatile pre- and post-sales workload requirements. To fully realize a strategy and maximize ROI requires support and operational capacity. The transition from legacy revenue streams to new and more profitable alternatives may require new sales management and sales compensation program elements. Just as important (if not more) is eliminating shadow operations, driving consistency of process execution and role deployment, and quantifying available capacity. Without a consistent approach and strong understanding of current capacity, it is impossible to understand the capacity requirements to manage and execute against an organization’s future strategy.
Is it time to reevaluate your media sales organization’s sales processes, efficiency and capacity? Contact a Media Sales practice expert to learn more.
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Co-author: Matt Bartels is a principal and leader of Alexander Group’s Media and Implementation & Change Adoption practices in the Chicago office. He is also a prolific blog writer on media industry topics.
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