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2022 AdTech Mandates and Insights

With Q1 of 2022 nearly in the rearview, virtually every industry has been victim to elevated employee turnover levels, and media sales firms are no exception.

While leading AdTech organizations are racing to align their talent management practices to a new, evolving customer landscape and market environment, there’s one crucial question that has been top of mind: how are organizations attracting and retaining the top talent they need to deliver the results that today’s customers are demanding?

In part two of this video series, Quang Do, principal at Alexander Group, and Yang Liu, director at Alexander Group, discuss some of the challenges AdTech is facing regarding talent and how to compensate sellers.

Job Satisfaction

Alexander Group’s recent Media Industry Trends Research identified four key attrition drivers concerning talent that many AdTech firms are facing: fatigue, job appeal, career-pathing and title.

While all four of these drivers have been consistent factors in retaining talent, it’s evident that the pandemic has played a major role in making them more prevalent in the workplace. As we enter the third year of the pandemic, there’s inevitable strain and fatigue on all employees, especially given the vast change in culture.

Offering a clear and attainable career path has also become critical in the race for talent. How good is your employee’s sense of career mobility and transparency? Ensuring that your team understands how they can propel their position into a future of leadership is crucial for success. This is also useful when used in junction with a strong sales compensation program, which leads us to our next set of attrition drivers.

Building a Successful Sales Compensation Plan

When it comes to determining how successful your sales compensation plan is, many immediately go to a component guideline issue: Are the right roles on the right plans? Do I have the right payments? Are we paying our top performers too little and our bottom performers too much?

While there’s often a lot of worry around leverage and upside, Alexander Group’s sales compensation point-of-view tends to be more holistic and program management based. Before considering potential issues, look at your plan from different valences:

  • What’s the goal of the program?
  • What are the guiding principles?

Assess how successful your compensation plan is based on how well it’s delivering against the principles you’ve set for yourself, as well as how they fare against market practices.

Pay for Performance & Efficiencies

While the job description of an AdTech seller may not have transformed much in recent years, Alexander Group’s research has shown that seller productivity and pay for performance have been continuously improving. Revenue per rep and efficiencies have both been steadily increasing over the last 4-5 years, meaning expense per seller is decreasing while revenue is increasing. However, Alexander Group has also seen sales compensation expenses drastically increase up to 14% higher since 2016.

As seller productivity and overall efficiency increase, the focus on pay for performance is especially evident. Creating differentiation for low and high performance and rewarding high performance at the top of the market is critical.

Determining your pay for performance philosophy will reinforce your desired sales culture and is extremely important when it comes to attrition and retention of top talent. During the pandemic, a lot of pay curves in the market became flat, taking out the risk (and reward) of compensation plans, and isn’t necessarily successful in retaining employees long term.

However, through interviews with leading AdTech executives, Alexander Group’s recent research uncovered that companies are once again starting to create more differentiation in plans and purposely design plans that drive top performance. AdTech specifically has been an industry where the recent rapid growth has pushed some of the big players in a spot where that pay level to seller performance ratio gets steeper and more competitive.

For more information on Alexander Group’s Media Sales practice and our AdTech solutions, please contact a practice lead.

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