No industry has undergone more transformation in the last five years than Media. As one media executive put it, “For a long time, print media was prosperous, but now traditional print is dead and in the blink of an eye, new digital revenue is dominated by a whole new cast of companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google.” In many media companies, the job of finding and reaching new sources of digital revenue falls to the revenue leader, often titled “Chief Revenue Officer.” As part of the 2018 Chief Sales Executive Forum, Alexander Group recently convened a panel to explore how this more expansive responsibility has affected the leadership role of three media revenue executives:
The panelists specifically tackled three key questions.
How has the role of the sales leader changed?
As one panelist put it, “The title ‘sales leader’ can give the impression of just being the ’sales person.’” Altering the title to ‘revenue leader’ reframes the focus of the job to include “finding partnerships that enhance product or distribution.” Another panelist added that revenue responsibility is best activated by a commitment to finding new customers and “deep engagement in serving their business needs” (as only the CRO among all C-suite executives gets the chance to do).
Said another panelist, “Market pressures demand a new type of revenue leader who is more expansive in her thinking.” That includes “thinking about all the ways their ecosystem can be reshaped to deliver better results.” As an example, one panelist “created a global partnership team” to sharpen focus on accounts with “new buyers and new needs by adding partners with new capabilities.”
Another summed it up nicely, “Today’s revenue leader knows it is her responsibility to get sellers talking with customers about strategy. It is not just about pushing product.”
How has the transformation affected the sales culture?
Two characteristics stood out:
Closer to the customer. New customers have emerged. Formerly powerful agencies have ceded much authority to company in-house marketing departments. Building strategies to reach and serve these new and powerful customers is now crucial. That means “organizing the business around delivering what the customers need. They don’t care what your product does. You’ve got to bring them answers.” Sales resources must be in close contact with customer needs and be able to “speak their language of results.”
More focused on outcomes. Sellers have to be clear about their point of differentiation. They must know what makes their product and organization stand out. According to the panel, “The sales team looks to the revenue leader for the insights” needed to engage in “business dialog” with their customers. Enabling this means steeper investment in digital selling tools and training.
How can revenue leaders prepare their organization for frequent disruption?
Panelists had two observations: