In today’s world, advertising and technology go hand-in-hand. From custom sponsorships to catered targeting, unique advertising offerings and vast media channels make a playground for advertisers. Because of this, the back-end technology that fuels ad sales teams is so important in order to keep up with an ever-changing, fast-paced industry.
Whether a company is just starting out in the ad sales space or has been in the industry for decades, it’s never too early or late to review your tech deck and make sure that it’s built for the future, built for insights, and most importantly, built for the end user.
I’ve spent the past 8 years in the ad sales space building technology for sales teams in both linear/traditional and digital/streaming focused companies. I’ve seen how technology can enable these teams to work at their most efficient and accelerate their sales to a new level. I’ve also seen technology hinder sales teams to a point where adoption was impossible.
It’s important to not only build out a tech deck for your ad sales team, but to build it right. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the best in the business, and I’ve consulted with them to bring you the top 3 things that make an ad sales tech deck great:
- Unified Front End
- Actionable Insights
Unified Front End
Ad sales teams are composed of many different components: adops, revops, research, sellers, buyers, the list goes on. Most of these teams have industry standard tech systems very specific to their needs. However, if everyone is on a different system, communication between teams becomes difficult and slows down the sales process.
In a perfect world, every team could use a single system so that any data needed would be at their fingertips. Now, knowing we don’t live in a perfect world and that teams will inevitably be using different systems for different functions, how do we fill the black box between teams? How can we cut down on communication error and provide insights from other systems to users that don’t necessarily use those systems?
Lauren Farber, Head of Business Operations at Roku, had some wonderful insights on what makes a great unified front end.
“A workflow that provides recommendations, avails, pricing and approval steps in a single place, all in an effort to provide a more succinct and revenue-generating client experience. You want to make things easier for the teams internally to get to a point where you can automate as much of their job function as possible to allow them more time to be strategic, leaving their primary focus on revenue growth.”
Simply put, keep your end user in mind. What data points are they reaching out to other teams for? What processes can be automated? What do they need in order to focus more on selling? Surfacing this information and automating workflows in one place will make the world of difference for your end-user.
Sellers each have their own unique way of selling which means we have to prove that a system will enhance their sales process in order for them to adopt it. The last thing any seller wants to do is sit at their computer and enter data, but if the inputs can provide actionable insights, we can ease their workload in the long run.
Kaitlyn McBride, Senior Product Manager at Disney Streaming Services, recommends:
“Focus on the data the Sales team is driven by and make sure you can deliver valuable outputs to drive adoption”
From at risk campaigns, to commission goals, make sure the output of your system is as valuable to them as the information they put in. Something I’ve loved about working with Tableau CRM is the ability to turn raw data into valuable insights that answer questions and provide recommendations for next steps. Salesforce is used at most ad sales companies, but usually as a means to an end. A way to get an order to the Ad Server. I’m starting to see a shift in this and Salesforce is starting to become a true sales tool within the industry with Tableau CRM being a big part of that.
Flexibility is a sign of any good system, but it’s particularly important in ad sales because what you’re selling is changing so frequently. Whether it be the addition of a new media type, the acquisition of a new company or the introduction of a new audience measurement, you can’t rebuild your sales system each time.
Jason Kim, Associate Product Manager at Operative states simply:
“Flexibility allows you to adapt with how quickly adtech changes and aids the ability to scale”
While we can’t predict the future of ad sales, we can weigh a system’s flexibility to adapt to changes. When development starts to involve a lot of coding, I like to take a step back and ask how future-proof it is. Is this code easy to manipulate? Are we doing this for a specific use-case that may not exist in the future?
Salesforce is a great tool for flexibility because it prides itself on clicks, not code. However, other systems outside of Salesforce will likely play a part in your tech deck. When reviewing which OMS or Ad Server to use, make sure it’s a flexible tool that will be useful for many years to come.
In conclusion, regardless of the maturity of your ad sales tech deck, it’s great to keep these three things in mind while continuing to build it out:
- A unified front end
- Actionable insights
Doing so will ensure that you’re getting the most out of your tech investment and that you’ll be prepared for future industry disruptions along the way.
Atrium is here to help with any of these items specific to ad sales organizations that use Salesforce. Read more about what we can do for your ad sales team.