What’s the state of media sales? Two new reports seek to answer this question. The sales ecosystem is dynamic and ever-changing, with many things impacting it. Understanding the climate of the industry can be beneficial to sales managers and leaders.

In this post, we’ll break down the findings from two surveys: The Media Sales Report from The Center for Sales Strategy and The State of Media Sales from SalesFuel and BIA Advisory Services.

The Media Sales Report Results

Here are some key insights from this survey.

Sales Managers Struggle to Find New Talent

Recruitment is the hardest part of a manager’s job, according to 65% of respondents. Additionally, 73% said they don’t have the right number of people, and 72% noted they think their staff should grow. Many industries are facing hiring challenges.

For younger generations to move into the industry, you should consider how you’re recruiting and what makes your organization attractive. It may make sense to try unique recruitment advertising in niche social media channels and targeted display rather than depending solely on job boards. Appealing to this group has a lot to do with modern technology and processes, so it may be time to upgrade and modernize.

Organizations Are Doing a Good Job with Learning and Development

A high-performing sales team has access to training and upskilling opportunities. The survey revealed that 85% of sellers said this was important to them. Also, 80% of salespeople participated in training on a weekly or monthly basis. When building this program, think about many different types of learning options, including:

  • Sales meetings with role-play on objections
  • On-demand classes and resources on tactics and technology tools
  • Third-party webinars that offer insights on channels, sales trends and other key information
  • Strategic planning sessions around prospecting, pitching and proposing

Sales Process Notes

Having a streamlined workflow is critical to sales success. Within the sales cycle, respondents reported it’s harder to get meetings and close deals now. Email and phone remain the leading options for outreach.

Another element of this section relates to proposals, with 75% of managers saying they are presenting too few. Does this sound familiar? What are the biggest challenges with proposals? It could be determining rates, recommending the right mix of ad types or that the process itself is frustrating. Technology can ease these issues.

Speaking of technology, 48% of salespeople said they don’t use their CRM system or find it valuable. However, 69% of managers find it useful for tracking clients and prospects. Why the disconnect? Does the CRM tool not provide a good user experience? Or maybe it doesn’t align with your workflows? CRM systems can be great tools if they have the right features and functionality.

How Sellers Spend Their Time

We’ve written about this topic a lot, as most studies tell us they spend too much time on non-revenue-generating activities. Salespeople noted that this is the allocation every week:

  • 28.6% on servicing clients
  • 14.3% on discovery meetings
  • 14.3% on closing business
  • 14.3% on paperwork
  • 14.3% on prospecting
  • 7.1% on internal meetings
  • 7.1% on sales training

What sticks out here is the large percentage of time on paperwork. Reducing this through automation and practical technology could free up more time for selling.

Do Sellers Have What They Need to Be Successful?

For salespeople to perform well, they need many different things — training, processes, culture, technology and data. Overall, 82% of sellers said they have the resources they need to exceed sales goals. Salespeople and managers did have some complaints about not having sales enablement content to attract clients. One of the biggest gaps was a lack of case studies.

Finally, 87% of sales managers are optimistic about the industry’s future, but 41% of salespeople are not. Again, that’s a big difference in perspective and something leaders should work to understand and address.

The State of Media Sales Conclusions

Let’s look at the findings from this survey.

Sales Is Optimistic About Growth

Nearly 25% of managers expect an increase in revenue of more than 10% in 2023. We all know 2023 has started with mixed economic signals. Media sellers still have many opportunities to hit and exceed budgets, with some verticals increasing their ad spend.

What Will Fuel Growth?

Radio sales managers believe the increases will come from nondealer auto services and local small businesses. All media sellers are also confident in the health care market, which BIA forecasted to grow 7% this year. Recruitment advertising will also boost numbers, with 71% of digital sales managers counting on it to grow. Another 40% of salespeople are bullish on home improvement as a source of revenue. Beyond verticals, the rise in revenue will come from digital advertising.

Managers and Sellers Are More Confident

Another positive point is the decline in managers and sellers feeling it’s too hard to sell against Google and Facebook. When competing against these tech giants, media sellers should always lead with what makes them better, which is often their knowledge of the local market and relationship building.

These sales professionals also stated that generating new business in 2022 was easier than in 2021. The first survey relayed that there was more friction in the process.

Managers Worried About Culture and Recruitment

This survey also addresses recruitment and culture challenges. Specifically, 47% of managers noted it’s hard to create and maintain an attractive culture. Hiring and retaining your sales team is a demanding part of your job. As mentioned earlier, the key will be processes, training and technology. You want to be a sales organization that provides sellers with what they need and continues to invest in them. Another component of culture is ensuring transparency, autonomy and flexibility. All workers crave these things and may leave if they aren’t present.

The State of Media Sales: Progress and Challenges

From this wealth of data, we can deduce that there are both signs of progress and continuing challenges. Take these learnings and see how they apply to your sales team, making adjustments along the way. For more great insights and advice from sales leaders, read our e-book, Building a High-Success Sales Culture: What Media Sales Leaders Need to Empower and Support Teams.

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