While media organisations have been hiring ad sales talent from a non-media background, I think there is greater merit in hiring sales professionals from the media domain. More so in the current slow market conditions, professionals from media are a better choice. If you want your ad sales revenues to soar, read on...
Five major advantages of hiring sales talent from the media industry:
A clear advantage is the domain knowledge. For example, familiarity with research tools such as TAM, IRS, RAM or basic media knowledge offer a head-start for sales. The professional from a non-media background will take time to understand how to translate the media research related findings into benefits. Whereas a media sales professional has knowledge about the advertising communication needs, its objectives and can adapt them to offer benefits of his/her media vehicle immediately.
Planned approach to a planned buy:
Unlike many other products, media sales needs a planned approach. There are two customers – ad agency and the advertiser – and selling needs to be done at both ends. Often if the ad agency is not convinced, the sales deal might not close even if the advertiser is interested. For example, your media vehicle may offer an incremental reach over the existing media plan developed by the media agency. Or your vehicle delivers ‘unique’ readership/ viewership/ listenership within specific target audiences. For such features, one needs to ensure the agency’s appreciation first. Then the same benefit needs to be sold to the advertiser. Additionally, there are client servicing professionals also in the ad agency who are a good source for advertiser’s information and they are required to be met for better market coverage. A media sales professional, when supported with all such selling propositions is able to deliver results faster than a professional from non-media.
Readymade network and relationships:
A media sales professional comes with established contacts and relationships in the marketplace. It saves precious time as the guy knows who the decision-makers in the ad agency and the advertiser’s organisation are. Though business is not based upon relationships alone; it definitely is a huge plus for gaining market information. And because media is a perishable product, it always follows a repeat purchase cycle which means relationships have to be nurtured and maintained, which develop only over a period of time by adding value to the advertiser/ad agency.
The period when a media agency would start planning for its ad campaign is very critical information. If a sales professional is not present in the marketplace at the right time, he/she loses the chance of the vehicle’s inclusion in the campaign. The sales professional from media is well equipped with such market information.
At a Sales Head or Regional Head level, a professional with a media sales background is in a better position to lead the team effectively because of the domain knowledge and media experience. The comfort level of the sales team with the leadership sets in within a shorter span of time and one can see greater team work.
I think it is worth for organisations to invest in hiring sales talent from media and constantly train and groom talent on the selling skills / processes. As compared to the amount of time taken by a sales professional from a non-media background to settle in and deliver; a shorter time will be required if talent is hired from within media and is groomed. Recruiting sales talent from non-media in select few cases can be beneficial but after weighing the pros and cons, talent from media is a favourable choice to increase your ad sales revenues.
The author is Founder, Aspiration