Media Seller 3.0

by Doug Weaver on September 12, 2012 at 10:07AM

Digiday recently interviewed several sales leaders and media executives on a pretty interesting topic:  the shape of The Future Publisher’s Sales Force.  Among the many observations are that nobody will be selling banners in 3 years, that digital sales leaders will find the balance between programmatic and direct selling, and that true media sellers will start to look more like McKinsey consultants (OK, that one was mine.)  The whole thing got me thinking about what the 21st century media seller will and won’t do – and how the really good ones are already behaving.

The Digital Anthropologist: The old model of content as an anchor for “your ad here” is quickly falling away.  Even in content rich environments, we’ll be focusing on the actual behavior of the consumer – how they’re interacting, what they’re forwarding, how they’re communicating with others.  MS 3.0 will be good at finding marketing opportunities (not just ad placements) within real customer behavior.

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The Guerilla Fighter: The first 20 years of digital selling was like watching World War II generals fight the Vietnam War.  We organized around  the big fixed battles of RFPs and presentations and planning cycles, embracing the same nostalgic tactics.  We wish that everybody still wore uniforms, the battle lines were set,  and it was all about taking the next hill.  But today – and going forward — we need sellers who can navigate uncertainty and thrive in asymmetrical sales environments. It’s never going to be simple again.

The Clarifying Agent: Media Seller 3.0 will eschew the data-driven approach to sales, ditching the PowerPoint and the complex schematics outlining the technology and capabilities.  Instead, at every turn, she will clarify, simplify and distill information based on communication and economic value to the marketer.  If you think your team members are largely doing this now, take another look.  This skill is still exceedingly rare.

The Challenger: The days of asking great questions and discovering existing client needs are over. Technology and new business models have gotten us to a place where the customer doesn’t even know what’s possible, so Media Seller 3.0 will move the customer out of his comfort zone and into a space where truly new possibilities and ideas can be explored.

As William Gibson famously wrote, “The future is already here. It’s just unevenly distributed.”  The great media sellers of tomorrow are already embracing these “new skills” today.

Want to hear inside thoughts from the top execs at Universal McCann?  Understand what kinds of innovation marketers and agency leaders truly crave? Join 49 of your fellow sales leaders at The Upstream Seller Forum on October 30th.  Reach back today to save your seat.

Reader Comments (5)

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  1. Steve Sarner September 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Doug – perhaps the Media Seller 3.0 will be the Borg (Google) – assimilated into the machines. Maybe we are already there. Not saying that great selling skills and ability are going away – just that they are going away in terms of selling online media. Food for thought.

  2. Mark Crafts September 12, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Great perspective Doug. I’m a little biased toward Salesforce CRM solutions that address some of the challenges you mention. But big picture, the ability to quickly swarm the right types of players – and technology – on your team to the right opportunities is the key for many sellers going forward. Each big seller that gets this raises the stakes against those that don’t. – MC

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