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media sales management

Media Sales Management: Streamlining the Tools

August 11th, 2016   ||    by Susan Kuchinskas

The digital era is more than twenty years old now, and yet some folks are still communicating with fax machines. While kids might not even know what a fax is, television sales reps are all too familiar with this clunky medium. The process of media sales management works, but it’s laborious, notes Google. Many of the interactions are manual, and while email is a mainstay, buyers and sellers alike still waste time in back-and-forth communications.

On the sell side, broadcasters and stations struggle to find more efficient ways to work with advertisers. They need analytics to help them forecast the market and inform negotiations with buyers. They also need to meet the needs of advertisers and agencies. Ad buyers want easier transactions, a simple confirmation process and efficient tracking of ad performance, says ExchangeWire.

According to AdExchanger, to meet these needs, some media trading platforms are building out better tools for media sales management, while others are acquiring companies that can add these technologies.

The Barriers

Stand-alone media sales management systems are not the answer, unfortunately, as they tend to focus on operational workflow. Then the sales team must handle sales planning using different tools—possibly including spreadsheets. Building proposals involves evaluating different inventory and pricing scenarios to determine what will provide the best revenue for the station while offering the best ROI for advertisers, which is difficult to do manually.

Analytics play an important role here. But bringing in data and/or analytics from a vendor risks creating what Lorne Brown, CEO of Operative, calls a “third advertising stack.” Such an overly complex group of vendors can increase expenses while making it difficult to manage data or provide greater pricing transparency to advertisers.

Getting It Done

The ideal solution would offer these features and benefits:

1. More Automated Sales Processes

Remove as many of the manual processes as the sales team requires. For example, some media management systems can automatically suggest inventory that meets a buyer’s specs.

2. Automation of Full Inventory

Including a station’s entire inventory instead of only remnant spots allows both seller and buyer to make better planning decisions and facilitates a more unified buying approach.

3. Station Control of Pricing

While advertisers demand—and need—more pricing transparency, stations need to be able to set prices that reflect the value of their inventory.

4. Pricing Optimization

Allowing stations to retain control of pricing, an automated media management system that connects to analytics can help stations find the right price and enable reps to negotiate final pricing.

5. Flexibility

Allow local TV stations and station groups to integrate the platforms they choose, including ad-trafficking systems and demand-side buying platforms.

Human Element

The one thing broadcasters are not seeking in a better media management system is the elimination of human interaction. No one expects television sales reps and planners to disappear from the equation. A better system for managing sales would allow staffers to do their jobs better. It’s no longer enough to simply sell spaces for commercials. Instead, media sellers’ sales pitches should include innovations that align with advertises’ goals, such as story-line branded integrations.

As Todd Gordon, executive vice president and head of US investment at Interpublic’s MagnaGlobal, told AdvertisingAge, “This whole thing is about freeing up those resources for more actual human conversation and human creativity.”

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