Media Sales: Structuring Pre- and Post-Sales Roles

By: Tyler Miller Media Sales, Revenue Growth Strategy, Sales Coverage, Sales Strategy, Sales Talent

Media sales organizations across all segments are in a state of strategic reconfiguration. Faced with multiple products and platforms–and advertisers screaming for constant ROI and measurement–media sales companies are scrambling to optimally restructure pre- and post-sales roles to support the new non-linear sales cycle.

Strategy questions during this process might include,  Are my ad ops people executing the right tasks? Do we have the right number of traffickers? Can we better integrate DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) and our CRM? Are we investing enough in creative? Publishers must determine how best to ensure that the front-end and back-end support systems are in tune with upfront sales.

In part one of this two-part series covering how to successfully optimize sales support, we will consider how media sales strategy leaders can best execute sales reconfiguration. The following three steps outline how media sales organizations can maximize capacity to drive and fulfill customer demand.

1. Align the customer-facing sales organization to current- and future-state strategy

Organizations must align revenue motions, job roles and sales compensation programs to strategy. However, many fail to achieve a successful outcome. For example, an organization may focus on compensation solutions to drive new product focus, while the use of a technical product specialist may yield better results at lower cost. An organization who is just “dabbling” in an offering will need a different approach than an organization that is truly “scaling” an offering. A deeper understanding of market dynamics, expectations and forecasts yields greater organizational readiness. The strategy and organizational readiness dictates the correct approach.

As an example, the chief revenue officer from a leading integrated print company shared that his organization has shifted dramatically to new services (often digital), with the majority of revenue now coming from video, mobile and display [advertising]. Cutting resources alongside shrinking margins have caused shifts in resources. It’s now about putting the incremental pre-sell and post-sale resources on their high-margin business.

2. Drive consistency in pre- and post-sales processes to enable process transparency and workload analyses

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.

Occasionally, task orientation and role accountabilities blur, and informal role definitions and task ownership take over. 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. Identifying inefficient shadow operations and determining pre- and post-sales process bottlenecks will enable prioritization of efficiency generating opportunities.

How much capacity do you really have? How much will new revenue streams cost? Revenue leaders who fail to formalize activities across sales, creative, traffic, ad ops, etc. will limit their ability to diagnose issues to improve processes.

3. Restructure pre- and post-sales roles/processes

Workload demands are spiraling at breakneck speeds, resulting in workload imbalances and capacity constraints. Once an organization understands current capacity, how can it realign resources to manage shifting capacity requirements? Publishers need to innovate: to push new products and solutions. As campaigns grow increasingly complex and straddle multiple platforms, an organization may require project management platforms, or maybe new reporting and optimization platforms are required to deliver on customers’ growing view ability requirements. At the same time, efficiencies gained by increasing focus on programmatic may create capacity, but at lower margins than alternative revenue streams. Organizational investments in headcount and/or product capabilities must be aligned with top- and bottom-line strategies.

Media ad sales organizations are in a state of strategic reconfiguration. As advertisers become more demanding and require data-driven results, the need to align strategy with pre- and post- sales processes and resources is essential to maximize ROI of new revenue streams.

Contact us today to learn how Alexander Group’s Media team can assist you with sales reconfiguration and with the development of a 9-, 12- and 24-month roadmap for designing optimal sales support processes to enable revenue growth.

And don’t forget to join 300+ revenue leaders November 7-9 in Naples, FL for the 2018 Chief Sales Executive Annual Forum.

To learn more, check out the Media Track and speaker roster.

More insights on optimizing sales support.

Co-author: Matt Bartels is a principal in Alexander Group’s Chicago office and a leader in the firm’s Media Ad Sales practice.

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Tyler Miller

Tyler Miller is a consultant in the Chicago office. As a consultant, Tyler works with client leaders in sales, marketing, finance and human resources to solve revenue growth challenges. He designs and conducts fact-finding activities to understand client objectives and issues. He participates in and leads client meetings to present recommendations and consulting deliverables. Tyler manages business analyst and associate consultant resources at the Alexander Group on project engagements.

Prior to joining the Alexander Group, Tyler was a regional sales engineer for an industrial manufacturing company. He established and managed a distribution network and handled direct sales for large customers. Previously, Tyler worked as an executive recruiter, focusing on managing client relationships and creating hiring strategies for sales, marketing and engineering management teams in the industrial automation and medical device industries. He holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a B.A. from Illinois Wesleyan University.

Matt Bartels

Matt Bartels is a principal in the Chicago office. Matt is a leader for the firm’s Media and Implementation & Change Adoption practices. He also has widespread experience in a variety of industries, including technology, manufacturing and health care. Matt has a proven record of working with clients to develop actionable growth-oriented strategies, go-to-customer transformations and productivity enhancements. In addition, Matt is an expert in global and domestic sales compensation design. He is a leader in the revenue growth space, and a frequent speaker and author of thought leadership content.

Prior to joining the Alexander Group, Matt was a management consultant at Deloitte and IBM Business Consulting Services. He earned his B.A. in economics from the University of Chicago and an MBA from Indiana University Kelley School of Business. Matt is also a Certified Sales Compensation Professional (CSCP), WorldatWork.