Time To Bring In The Adult

Gordon Borrell

In a few weeks you’ll start seeing loads of predictions for 2017. I have but one.

Next year, media companies – at least those intent on surviving the future – will refocus their entire organizations around sales. It’ll be seen as a refreshing bring-in-the-adults moment that dismisses the consultants, hand-wringers, and conscientious objectors and refocuses everyone on the engine that keeps the business running: a highly synchronized sales team.

Strategy discussions? Done. Cool new technology to dabble with? No bandwidth for that. That smug sales rep who keeps forwarding everyone emails about digital ad fraud? Fired.

What’s “in” will be results, and everything related to it. Recruiting, training, testing, retention, and certification. Factories that make “No Excuses” lapel buttons will see production skyrocket.

The industry is primed for it, and I have proof. A few weeks ago we announced that the agenda for #LOAC2017 in New York would focus on “the sales rep.”  We were immediately besieged with suggestions and requests to speak. Registrations shot through the roof – more than tenfold what they were this time last year. A chord was struck. The industry is clamoring for this shift.

The timing couldn’t be better. Advertisers are fed up with media companies who dispatch idiots to their doorsteps. You might recall my post a few months ago about how local advertisers view their media sales reps. They’re mad as hell, and they aren’t going to take it much longer.  (This was, by the way, the most-read, most-liked, and most-shared post I’ve ever written. I wonder why . . . .)

Advertisers are fed up with media companies who dispatch idiots to their doorsteps.

To be clear, I don’t think strategy discussions should end. The media landscape continues to evolve at a pace that requires regular strategy tweaks. Important discussions are still required about content and technology.  It’s just become clear that media organizations have begun to feel they’ve spent too much time educating themselves and too little time executing what they’ve learned.

Given the fact that we’re forecasting another double-digit year for local digital advertising (+22.4% in 2017) and a decline for traditional media (-6.8%), I’d say it’s high noon for a lot of sales departments.




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