Alexandre Pais

Mais futurismo: The Future Publisher’s Sales Force


The Future Publisher’s Sales Force


Automation has arrived in the media world. Depending on who you talk
to, this is going to make publishers rethink the wine-and-dine, press-the-flesh
approach to ad sales. It’s not that the machines are replacing the people,
although there’s undoubtedly some of that, but sales teams will inevitably grow
more specialized and sophisticated. Liberal arts will meet computer science, or
at least Statistics 201. To that end, Digiday asked several publishers the
following question: “What will the modern, premium publisher’s sales force look
like five years from now, and how will it be different from

Here’s what they had to say:

Julie Hansen, president, Business

Doug Weaver of Upstream Group once said that the digital media
sales force of the future would be more like McKinsey consultants than
traditional media sellers, and that stuck with me. I think Doug is right that
our sales teams will need to become truly consultative to succeed. They will
embrace technology not for its own sake (shiny new objects) but for the real ROI
benefit it offers clients when we use it right. They will embrace programmatic
buying, understanding its place in the ecosystem. They will become more
sophisticated in addressing clients’ goals, KPIs and pain

does this description differ from today’s sales force? Some sellers already fit
this description. We look for this profile as we build out the Business Insider
team. But plenty of media sales reps still sell mostly on jeans parties and
happy hours, and they will see their effectiveness diminish over

Larry Burstein, publisher, New York

In five years, the modern premium publisher’s sales force will
look pretty much like New
York’s does today. It is a sales force which follows and
understands the rapid changes in content consumption and provides solutions for
advertisers that encompass them. It’s a fully integrated team focused on a
brand, not a platform. It’s where platforms are not competing profit centers
and, instead, are different products from the same family with unique attributes
and audiences.

modern sales force focuses on the advertiser, using all company assets,
regardless of platform or product, to achieve an advertiser’s goals. The team is
supported by sales planners, not administrative assistants, and a sales support
department which is a think tank for advertiser solutions. (This used to be
called the merchandising department.) This modern sales force has witnessed the
shifts of long-held content traditions as well as the fast growth of new
rituals. It does not default to the company legacy but, instead, redefines the
legacy to address the nearly limitless possibilities of the new marketplace on
behalf of its partners.

Jon Steinberg, president, BuzzFeed:
At BuzzFeed, we sell only branded content in the form of social
ads. There are no banners on, and thus, our sales force needs to be
adept and on their feet in terms of knowing brands and ideating on the spot in a
first meeting. Our sellers give brands a vision of how their ideas, positions,
aspirations and content could live and spread across the social Web.
Consultative selling implies regurgitation, so I would say that our sales force
is well researched and has a point of view.

don’t think any direct sales forces will be selling banners in three years, if
not sooner. I think social content-driven advertising will eat banners, and I
think the publisher sales forces of the future will be creative educators with
deep understandings of how content can be created and shared on their platforms
and how their platforms can be used to have an emotional

Deanna Brown, CEO, Federated Media:
The way that our industry is changing, the ideal future sales
leader will have to be equally well rounded and educated on premium and
programmatic selling because advertisers are continually looking to work with
fewer trusted partners. These sales stars will need to be experienced
brand-content experts and innovative conversational marketing practitioners with
a deep knowledge of proven engagement tactics for both the native and social
environments. And the final aspect will revolve around their toolkit as agile
marketers themselves, namely their access to a variety of demonstrative case
studies, proprietary tech platforms and smart partnerships that will help them
stand out in a distributed marketplace.

Rick Webb, revenue consultant,

They will either have their own partner agency or a team of
in-house creatives. These people will help advertisers concept campaigns unique
to their platform and to deliver a consistent experience to all types of
advertisers, regardless of which agency (social, digital, media, traditional) is
contacting the pub. They may also have an API available, allowing brands to
develop unique campaigns, and a developer evangelist to help the agencies
exploit it. There will still be cold-calling, hard-charging sales people, but
there will also be a good corps of planner or strategist types that pursue the
soft sell by helping the brands solve tough strategic problems. They will
probably have their own writers available to deliver premium content to the
sponsors. Many sports tickets will still be

Por Alexandre Pais
Alexandre Pais