The media industry is in a phase of constant change. New technologies and business models are changing how advertising is consumed. These changes also pose major challenges for sales teams in the B2B segment.
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Among the problems teams are currently confronted with are:
- Increasing competition: the media sector is a highly competitive market. More and more, companies find themselves having to contend with new competitors at home and abroad.
- Die fragmentierte Zielgruppe: Unternehmen müssen ihre Werbemaßnahmen auf immer mehr verschiedene Kanäle und Zielgruppen ausrichten. Dies macht es für Sales-Teams schwieriger, die richtige Zielgruppe zu erreichen.
- Die steigende Komplexität der Werbeprodukte: Werbeprodukte werden immer umfassender, vielfältiger und schwieriger zu verstehen. Dies erschwert es Sales-Teams, Kunden zu überzeugen.
- The economic situation: Over the past four years Germany (as has the rest of the world) has had to face ever new challenging problems such as the shutdown due to the Covid-19 virus, a state of war in a number of countries, high inflation, stagnating consumption, energy supply problems and climate issues. All things that influence the buying behavior of advertisers greatly and throw up numerous obstacles in the sales process that must be overcome.
- Demanding customers: expectations of availability of information at any time, hybrid contact options, the fit of advertising offers, flexible pricing and of excellent customer service on the rise.
- The skilled labor shortage: more and more young people are enthusiastic about jobs in B2B sales as well as at audio publishers.
Future abilities and skills
To be successful in the future, sales teams in the B2B segment need to build and strengthen the following abilities and skills:
- Digital competence: sales teams need to be in a position to use digital channels and tools effectively.
- Customer orientation: sales teams must adapt to the needs of advertisers and offer then added value.
- Problem-solving competence: sales teams must be able to understand complex problems and solve them rapidly.
- Communications competence: sales teams must learn to communicate effectively, both verbally as well as nonverbally.
- Companies must invest more and continuously in good further education and training for existing teams, improve their employer branding, and educate and promote newly acquired team members.
The opportunities of digitization for sales teams in the B2B segment
Digitization presents numerous opportunities to sales teams in the B2B segment. By using digital technologies, sales teams can work more efficiently and effectively and reach their customers better.
Specific opportunities include:
- Automation: digital technologies can be used to automate duties and responsibilities in sales. This saves the teams time and resources and lets them concentrate on value-adding tasks and activities.
- Personalization: digital technologies help sales teams personalize their offers and messages to better meet the needs of customers.
- Improved efficiency: digital technologies help sales teams structure their sales activities more efficiently, e.g., by using CRM systems or automating lead qualification processes.
- New sales channels: digital technologies open up new sales channels to sales teams, e.g., through the use of social media or e-commerce.
The time-saving possibilities of AI for sales teams
Artificial intelligence (AI) provides sales teams with numerous ways to save time and work more efficiently. AI-based tools can be used, for example, to:
- Qualify leads: based on data and analyses, AI can identify potential customers who would most likely be interested in making a purchase. This can help sales teams use their time and resources more efficiently.
- Optimize campaigns: AI can be used to analyze and optimize the effectiveness of marketing and advertising campaigns. This can help sales teams maximize their investments.
- Manage customer relations: AI can be used to analyze and segment customer data. This can help sales teams prepare more personalized and relevant offers.
- Save time on admin and organizational tasks and use that time to concentrate more on human (actual) customer communication. AI can search for or through information, draft texts, summarize, edit, translate, change the tone or even create images, help put together presentations, and, naturally, correct spelling and grammar. There are also a host of other AI tools that improve efficiency, which e.g., master data maintenance or automatic tracking of offers.
AI-based tools are still in the development phase, and some of what is cropping up can also still not be used in every SME due to a lack of a budget, manpower and the sheer volume of data, but it does have the potential to support sales teams in many areas. By using AI, sales teams can ramp up their efficiency and focus on tasks that increase the value add more.
Data and analyses in B2B sales
Data and analyses are playing an ever more important role in B2B sales. By using data and analyses, sales teams can improve their understanding of customers, optimize their sales activities, and improve their chances of success.
Possible areas in which data and analyses could be used in B2B sales are:
- Customer segmentation: by analyzing customer data, sales teams can classify their customers in different segments. This helps them tailor their sales activities specifically to the needs of the respective segments.
- Lead qualification: by analyzing lead data, sales teams can identify potential customers and specifically those most likely to be interested in making a purchase. This helps them use their time and resources more efficiently.
- Campaign optimization: by analyzing campaign data, sales team can gauge and optimize the effectiveness of their marketing and sales campaigns and activities.
- Automation: data and analyses can be used to automate tasks in sales. This can save the sales teams time and resources and let them concentrate on tasks activities that would add more value.
Social selling in B2B sales
Social selling is an approach that uses social media for sales. Sales teams can extend their reach through social selling, strengthen and improve relationships to potential customers, and generate new leads.
Possible areas of application for social selling in B2B sales include:
- Content marketing: sales teams can improve their visibility and build trust among potential customers by producing and distributing top quality content.
- Lead generation: sales teams can specifically address potential customers through social media and establish contact to them.
- Customer relationship management: sales teams can nurture, strengthen and develop their relationships to existing customers through social media.
Sales teams in the B2B segment face major challenges. By building new abilities and skills, using data and analyses, as well as integrating digital technologies, sales teams can overcome these challenges and continue to be successful.
Media organizations can also adopt one of these strategies among many in order to prepare for the future:
- Invest in training and further education: sales teams must be able to familiarize themselves with and learn about the latest trends and technologies.
- Promote a customer-oriented culture: sales teams must be able to focus on the needs of the customer.
- Invest in data and analyses: data and analyses can help sales teams to better understand the customer and to optimize their sales activities.
- Integrate digital technologies: digital technologies can help sales teams to work more efficiently and more effectively.
The media industry is in a phase of constant change which also poses major challenges for sales teams in the B2B segment. Among the problems currently are increasing competition, the fragmented target group, the growing complexity of advertising products, and more discerning and demanding customers. To be successful, sales teams must develop and strengthen digital competence, customer orientation, problem-solving as well as communications competence. Digitization provides opportunities such as automation, personalization, improved efficiency, and new sales channels for sales teams in the B2B segment. Artificial intelligence offers time savings and more efficient working by qualifying leads and optimizing campaigns. Data and analyses play an important role in B2B sales in customer segmentation, lead qualification, campaign optimization and automation. Social selling makes use of social media to increase range and improve relations to potential customers. By building new abilities as well as the use of data and analyses, sales teams can meet and master these challenges.
Yours, Andrea Anders
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