Next Gen Media Sales: Roadmap for Customer Success

What does a customer success culture look like at best in class media ad sales firms?


With a rapidly changing media marketplace and growth coming from new products and services, organizations are fighting harder than ever to reinforce customer value. The bottom line? Being customer-centric is more important than ever. But what does that mean specifically for media firms? How are media sales organizations setting themselves up to embrace a customer-centric culture? What does success look like?

Customer-centricity is about putting the customer at the center of everything. To do this, media sales organizations must ensure they have the right investments in pre-sales, active sales and post-sales roles to execute a seamless experience. When looking at best in class media sales firms, we see a shift in resource allocation. Lagging performers are currently spending 13% on pre-sales, 66% on active sales and 21% on post-sales resources. In comparison, best in class organizations are spending 28% on pre-sales, 40% on active sales and 32% on post-sales resources. This means top performing organizations are shifting 26% of their active sales expense to pre- and post-sales roles. Furthermore, Alexander Group research has shown a 52% increase over the last two years in post-sales resources. So what is required to build a roadmap for media customer success?

Building a high-performing customer success team requires several key components, including:

  • Identifying and defining key value propositions
  • Setting up the core business process
  • Aligning resources to execute and implement the proper key performance indicators

Each one of these components is critical to success; without the proper design and execution, media sales firms risk wasting millions of dollars in sales investment and limiting revenue growth.

Identifying the Customer’s Critical Business Issue

The initial phase in effective customer success design is to identify the value proposition and the critical business issue it is solving. Currently, this occurs during the sales process as the customer success team focuses on implementation. However, environments, marketplaces and customers evolve. It is the role of customer success to proactively identify changing customer needs and assess the effectiveness of the value proposition and solution.

Key Business Process

Effectively identifying changing customer needs requires a strategic outlay of the critical processes and activities necessary to ensure proper execution. The most common of these activities includes quarterly business reviews and regular evaluation of business performance metrics. Referred to as critical customer interactions, these strategies help identify and refine advertisers’ business needs. Developing a process to execute against and enable customer success resources results in an improvement of the media sales firm’s ability to retain and grow revenue.

Aligning Resources and Launch

Setting up a new customer success team can be daunting and cause major customer disruption. To minimize disruption and optimize return on investment, media sales organizations should first focus on a subset of clients. A subset of accounts allows publishers to incorporate agility, refine processes, identify required technology/tools and gain a true understanding around how many resources will be required to deliver a profitable and prosperous customer success team. The subset of customers selected should cover an appropriate sample of the existing customer base. This will provide enhanced insight into what the team can streamline versus customizing for each customer cohort.

Key Performance Indicators for Customer Success

Performance metrics for customer success are unique. First, customer success metrics span across implementation/adoption, expansion and retention. Implementation/adoption metrics focus predominately on usage and consumption. Expansion metrics commonly follow account performance metrics such as platform growth, solution utilization and account expansion CAGR. Retention metrics focus on logo churn, revenue churn and solution performance. These metrics will vary depending on the type of media sales organization. However, every media sales firm should measure customer performance and value realization.

Best-in-class media sales organizations are increasing their investments in post-sales resources. They are setting up highly focused and effective customer success teams to retain and grow revenue while maintaining or lowering the cost of sales. To successfully implement a customer success team, publishers should identify and define key value propositions, set up core business processes that align resources for execution, and implement the proper key performance indicators.

Interested in learning more about how to set up a customer success organization or evaluating the effectiveness and performance of your customer success/post-sales resources? Contact a media sales practice lead today.
Related resources:

Virtual Media Advisory Council Roundtable
Media Ad Sales Leaders Share 5 Key Growth Mandates for 2020

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