Sales teams are tasked with so much more these days than just straight-forward transactions. In his role helping publishers define strategies and teams that are right for their business model, Paul Andrews has had a front-row seat for many successful rollouts of products and campaigns.
Andrews is the Senior Vice-President of Sales and Marketing at the Blue Agave Group, and in a recent conversation on AudioMag he shared some of his thoughts on building effective sales and marketing teams.
Even though automation is taking over much on the transaction front, sales and marketing teams still have their work cut out for them in ways that are adjusting with the changing marketplace.
“First and foremost the opportunity lies with an integrated approach to a solution,” says Andrews. “For example if you are sitting down with an advertiser and you’re talking about a program that includes live interaction at a trade show or conference, print ads, as well as a digital presence, when you start talking about all these things an automated process cannot do that as effectively as a sales person. The challenge to the sales rep is to have that skill set and to stay on top of integrated marketing.”
When it comes to building a team, or enhancing an individual’s skill set, anticipating the needs of advertisers is key, as is understanding the solutions a publisher’s products can bring to meet their needs.
“At first we were very transactional in our selling. Those days are long gone where we’re just trying to re-up the four colour full page ad. I actually believe we are now beyond consultative selling. Or at least we need to be and should be,” says Andrews. “I think a sales rep absolutely needs to think like a marketer, understand the challenges that the marketer has, but then they need to take it to the next level and I think they need to be the leader as it relates to sharing and guiding the advertiser as to what they should be doing in the market because of market shifts. To be very proactive and know that the status quo is not good enough anymore.”
Amazon’s Emerging Role
Andrews has also been watching closely what retail behemoth Amazon has been doing on the advertising front. Amazon is heavily courting brands to advertise directly on their site, allowing brands to bypass publishers entirely in order to connect with potential customers.
“They have all of the data and demographics that the Facebooks of the world have, but they have all of the actual buying information of consumers and B2B players,” says Andrews. “So I think that definitely is going to set them apart and I think as we watch the media spends increase on the Amazon platform you’ll definitely see a shift away from Facebook. The real question is how much of an impact will that have on our own community within the publishing industry.”
AudioMag is produced by Tina Pittaway, an award-winning independent writer and broadcaster. Tina has been a contributor to CBC Radio and Television for more than 20 years. Her radio documentaries have been recognized with honours from the Canadian Association of Journalists, the Canadian Science Writers’ Association, the New York Festivals, Amnesty International and the Gabriel Awards. Visit Tina online at tinapittaway.com to learn more about her work.
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