While publishing has evolved with the dawn of digital, the skill sets of and expectations from publishing companies’ sales teams have evolved as well. To be effective, the people who drives your sales and revenue do need to be able to understand technology, manipulate numbers, and be able to critically evaluate the processes that are too often seen as unchangeable.
Here’s a quick overview from Pubmatic‘s Evan Adlman of what has changed in the publishing industry and what profile of sales organization every publisher needs today. The elements might make slightly depressing reading for the conventional sales professionals who still think that the only thing they need to get ahead at this age is confidence and a decent grasp of the theory of “Six Degrees of Separation”. But, the piece deserves more than just simply brooding, it calls for a deeper thought enough to provoke one to evolve at the pace of digital publishing.
What other skill sets do you think should a modern sales person need to contribute to a digital publishing business effectively? Share your thoughts in the comments!
The Sales Team
First things first, sales organizations are still all about sales and relationships. The cliché has always been that the proverbial three-martini lunch or steak dinner with agency clients will seal the deal. While the new tech-focused environment has made many think that paradigm is over, there will likely always be a place for building and maintaining relationships with larger advertisers.
That said, technology will continue to play a bigger and bigger role in the ad sales process. By 2018, $53 billion of all global ad spend will be spent programmatically, according to Magna Global. Still traditional direct buying will continue to be a significant part of the market as well. So publishers need a sales force that is comfortable having a holistic discussion (direct and programmatic) with clients. Many publishers have initiated trainings to ensure that their sales force has a mindset that allows them to be comfortable in those discussions.
Beyond the sales force, publishers need to make sure they have the right mix of folks that understand the ins-and-outs of the data and technology involved in running a publishing business in real-time.
One of the key needs are people that at a micro level can optimize how a publisher’s inventory is packaged and sold. These folks are often math and data focused professionals or the so-called “quants” that are able to get into the details of the data and find ways to increase yield and revenue.
The final piece is a team that understands how all of the technology pieces fit together and how to manage them as a functioning tech stack. This team should be able to determine the type of solutions a publisher needs to be effective including essentials like their SSP and DMP and the other necessary pieces to build out a full programmatic stack. This team should be able to evaluate platforms and solutions from a technological perspective and determine the best current mix and also anticipate how the technology may change in near term.