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The pressure is on for media organizations to diversify their revenue streams with subscription offerings in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic’s effect on advertising sales. The industry is also grappling with high demand for first-party data amidst increasing privacy concerns and regulations. 

Both of these trends signal a need for publishers’ ad sales and audience teams to work closely together to ensure the success of combined advertising and subscription revenue models. In this article, we’ll dig into why this unified approach is so important.

Why collaboration between ad sales and audience teams is key

More than a third of publishers surveyed by Digiday in fall 2019 cited building subscription revenue as a “very large” priority for 2020. With the potential to gather more audience data than ever before in today’s world of countless technology touchpoints, this may seem like a straightforward mission for media organizations.

However, as a publisher, your data is only as useful as it is accessible. The reality is, many companies struggle with information silos that inhibit them from marketing as efficiently and effectively as possible. More than half of respondents surveyed by Deloitte reported data silos negatively impacted their ability to make decisions.

In the current media landscape, it’s crucial for ad sales reps and audience teams to collaborate to help break down silos and enable publishers to use their data to its full potential. Audience teams have a deep understanding of consumer data and can offer sales reps valuable insight into audience preferences and retention strategies, which ultimately translate into greater value for advertisers.

Let’s break down the biggest questions ad sales reps should ask their audience colleagues to help strengthen their own efforts.

Top 5 questions for ad sales reps to ask audience teams

What kind of first-party data do we collect and how is it stored? 

First-party data is a hot commodity in today’s media landscape, which can help drive advertising sales among brands looking to reach their customers with a high degree of relevance. First-party data enables publishers to deliver campaigns with laser-focused targeting in a way that maximizes their advertisers’ budgets. 

For this reason, ad sales teams should be as knowledgeable as possible about their media organization’s data. Encourage your sales reps to sit down with your audience team to talk about what data you own and how it’s obtained, so they can confidently answer any questions from advertisers on the topics of first-party data and privacy regulations.

What technology do we use to personalize the audience experience?

It can be a challenge to identify users properly and create personalized experiences for them, due to disparate online identities across devices. Ad sales reps should be able to explain to advertisers how their media organization tackles this problem. 

Reps should know which technologies their company uses, and understand the benefits of the following systems:

  • Identity solutions: these tools identify users by their email or social media login information and improve ad targeting capabilities based on that data.
  • Customer data platforms: CDPs help publishers segment and target audiences by connecting with consumers across various marketing platforms and stitching their information together in a unified system.
  • Data management platforms: DMPs enable publishers to target audiences using display ads. Some organizations use DMPs and CDPs together for a greater impact.
How is our company evolving to serve our audience?

As a publisher, the more knowledge you have about your audience, the better you’ll be able to meet their needs-”whether that includes a flexible payment plan or a deal for subscribers who purchase multiple products.

Advertisers want to know how your business is evolving to stay relevant with your audience-”their customers. Therefore, audience teams must understand how your readers’ needs are changing and communicate this information to sales reps.

Which key performance indicators (KPIs) do we track and why?

Your media organization’s marketing efforts should support your sales efforts. When these two teams are working toward shared goals with an understanding of their common purpose, it’s a win-win for you and your advertisers.

“Your business has a higher chance of increasing your ROI by focusing on KPIs that are significant to both departments,” says this article by PandaDoc. “For example, one of PandaDoc’s marketing KPIs is to decrease the time it takes a sales rep to contact a website lead.”

What influences you most in trusting a sales rep?

A consultative sales approach is essential to building strong relationships with your advertisers. Your audience team should feel confident in your sales reps’ overall knowledge about marketing, and their ability to showcase your company’s value to advertisers. 

Asking for input on how to build trust can help sales reps gain valuable feedback from their audience colleagues on how to tailor their approach when selling to advertisers from an audience-first perspective.

Supercharge your recurring revenue strategy with Amplio

Lineup’s subscription management system, Amplio, is the first complete recurring revenue platform built to accelerate your success as a publisher in the subscription economy. This audience platform amplifies your subscription strategy, ensuring you never miss an opportunity to engage new readers or delight your existing audience. Interested? Read more about it here.

Afton Brazzoni

Afton helps B2B companies serve their audiences with captivating, refreshing, effective clarity through storytelling. She brings 12 years of experience in marketing and communications, with a background in journalism, to her mission to deliver clients excellent content that drives their businesses forward. Afton has extensive experience developing strategies and content for growth-oriented organizations such as technology companies, higher education institutions and the tourism industry, as well as for entrepreneurs.