News media organisations have struggled to grow their revenue over the past decade, with the Internet putting a major dent in print advertising revenue and digital video quickly doing the same for traditional television.
This change has led many media organisations to experiment with a wide variety of strategies to grow revenue, sometimes choosing to focus their strategy around short-term gains and media fads over long-term solutions.
And, while this strategy is fine, if you employ a fail-fast mentality, it can be taxing.
While emerging technology and digital platforms are vital parts of the news media’s future, and undeniably deserve a place in any revenue strategy, they should not be the focus of any strategy. In this era of digital-first media, revenue strategy should stem from one thing — sales enablement.
You are not a technology company, so don’t think you can become one. You produce and deliver content. So let’s find the best way to do that and monetise it.
Media organisations will always rely on their sales force to deliver revenue, and that remains true even in the face of uncertain times and shifting consumption habits.
So, rather than focus on technology, media organisations need to focus on sales enablement and how technology enables revenue. This means looking at how technology serves the back end of your sales operation, not just new technologies to sell.
Many of the organisations I speak to still rely on several different front-end tools, billing systems, and order management platforms to interact with their advertising customers. They have no consistent way to group together all of their sales, insertion orders, and even revenue figures.
That level of inefficiency is simply inexcusable today, considering that media organisations need to go after more customers than ever to grow their revenue. Without a consistent internal reporting platform, it’s even difficult to know, in real-time, how close the team is to quarterly revenue goals.
All of this inefficiency adds up to a time suck for the sales organisation. More time spent on process ultimately leaves less time to sell. And if the key is growing revenue in a changing advertising landscape, time is of the essence.
The other main thing is that sales technology needs to maintain pace with the advertising technology you are selling to advertising partners. Every evolution of products and services requires updates to your in-house technology.
There are scores of different tools available – Salesforce, Playboox, Sales Pro, and Eloqua (Oracle’s entry), just to name a few. Really, what you’re looking for is a Web-based front-end to connect with the APIs of the various ad tech tools the organisation uses. This allows a great deal of flexibility when it comes to updating, and freedom to add new products as time goes on.
In reality, “flexibility” is the key word. The modern media sales organisation needs to streamline its efforts to maximise efficiency while maintaining flexibility.
New ad products and services are arriving almost monthly, especially on digital platforms. The best way to capture new revenue is to expand the product offering and make it easy for your sales team to sell the latest and greatest products and tools for advertisers. And sell this as a solution.
Product-to-product sales is a model for failure. Integration and solution-/audience-based selling is something that will provide long-term advertiser relationships and can be greatly supported by the technology platforms you choose.