It took six months to design the curriculum, but on Tuesday the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the national trade association for the digital media and marketing industries, launched a two-day Media Sales Leadership Training program to help those who sell digital media retain talent and improve the skills required to run efficient and innovative teams.
“They say that people don’t leave companies -- they leave managers,” said Michael Texidor, VP of Development at the IAB. “If you have better managers, you will hold on to top salespeople longer.”
Good sellers are difficult to find and keep. They are often promoted into leadership roles based on a combination of personal talent and sales results. Without proper training, these individuals struggle to hire, train, and retain the sales force they lead.
The low unemployment rate contributes to the challenge of finding and retaining top salespeople, and has become a competitive advantage for many companies in the advertising industry. The U.S. unemployment rate for March 2019, per The Bureau of Labor Statistics, kept pace with February at 3.8% -- but the number of those unemployed fell by 24,000 to 6.2 million, while employment dropped by 201,000 to 156.7 million.
This first-of-its-kind curriculum delves into many issues in sales team management such as building strong business strategies, teaching and coaching, and setting revenue projections — all in the context of today’s and tomorrow’s rapidly evolving digital media ecosystem.
“There are many talented salespeople,” Texidor said, suggesting that it takes different types of skill sets. “Sellers are increasingly knowledgeable about their competitive landscape, but this kind of knowledge and talent doesn’t necessarily translate into great leadership.”
The two-day session, scheduled for June 25 and 26 in New York City, will include topics such as driving peak performance; transitioning from seller to manager; managing performance and not just results; revenue development, business intelligence and data-driven management best practices; and assessing revenue and setting revenue projections. It also will cover the process of building a strong team through recruitment and onboarding, as well as skill development such as how to develop a strong seller.
Texidor said there is potential to expand the program. The plan is to watch the adoption rate, gather feedback from participants, and expand the program in the way that makes the most sense for everyone. Anyone can participate.
The advisory board for the program, which is accepting new members, was curated through referrals from the IAB Board of Directors and the boards that oversee the IAB Centers of Excellence.
The IAB Education Advisory Board members are from AccuWeather, BuzzFeed, Hearst, News Corp. ESPN, Spotify, CBS, Meredith, and Dow Jones, among others.
“Our industry is complex and ever-changing, so having a strong foundation in subjects like programmatic media sales, data-driven solutions, and effective marketing strategies is incredibly important to digital media sales success,” Texidor said. “In the past two years, we’ve expanded our roster of programs with new courses like Cross-Platform Video, Programmatic 360, Data 360, and our most recent Introduction to Direct Brands course to address these needs. The time has come to introduce a new kind of program that can speak to sales teams across all areas of the industry.”