As media firms continue their migration to solution selling, a logical next step is to cultivate effective sales teams. Alexander Group’s (AGI) previous article discussed key findings from its recent Media Ad Sales Survey that included setting ambitious goals, struggling with misaligned go-to-customer models and investing in new solution sales capacity and enablement. Successful media firms not only embrace these tactics but also focus on cultivating effective sales teams using two crucial strategies: human capital optimization and aligning sales compensation with a solution selling model.

Invest in Human Capital Optimization

From the survey data, AGI revealed that winning media companies drive high quality sales time by focusing account executives on meeting advertiser needs with a clear return on investment (ROI), not simply providing ideas, options and support through systematic enablement programs. Media executives are realizing that media sales roles must evolve (figure 1) to focus on solution selling.

Developing a sales team with appropriate knowledge and skills is challenging in the current high turnover and low-coaching media sales environment. Getting this right is crucial to a digital media leader’s ability to scale their organization and revenue. Top media firms are taking a comprehensive approach to building the digital solution skills needed for success.

Struggling to Align Sales Compensation with the Transition to Solution Selling

In this study, 88 percent of participants noted they were struggling with sales compensation to drive solution selling. Only 28 percent are planning to adjust sales compensation plans in the new year because of lack of clarity around the required sales comp solutions (i.e., solutions are new to this industry).

Media companies are making a variety of sales compensation plan changes in order to transition to solution selling:

  • Less aggressive pay mix for account executives as they focus on longer term, more strategic solution selling
  • Increased use of focused product measures and mechanics (e.g., value adjustments and hurdles)
  • Plan alignment with new roles (e.g., global, agency holding co, MM inside, programmatic)
  • Increased use of varied accelerator rates based on quota bands to equalize upside opportunity
  • Reduction in split credits as roles focus more on vertical advertisers
  • More aggressive pay mix for account managers as they migrate to a selling role

Participants are considering a spectrum of increasingly strong sales compensation approaches to drive solution selling. Solution selling sales compensation should increase bundled solution sales and capitalize on new revenue opportunities, encourage more sales collaboration, and better address competitive gaps and meet advertiser’s increasing ROI demand.

Learn more about the Alexander Group’s Media practice, or contact us for a detailed briefing of these survey findings.

Read more of the Media Ad Sales Study.

Read part one of this series.

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