An organization that specializes in helping companies grow revenue through data-driven approaches will share insightes on what works for sales organizations at the upcoming Selling Digital Marketing Services conference, July 31-Aug. 1 in Chicago.
At the conference, the Alexander Group’s Matt Bartels will touch on everything from retaining and growing talent to paying for performance and growth while preserving sufficient profitability.
We caught up with Matt to learn more about what he is doing with the Alexander Group and the trends he’s seeing with sales organizations today.
Tell us a little about your background.
I am a principal for the Alexander Group. I am a leader for the firm’s Media and Implementation and Change Adoption practices. I also have wide-spread experience in a variety of industries, including technology, manufacturing and health care. I have a proven record of working with clients to develop actionable growth-oriented strategies, go-to-customer transformations, and productivity enhancements.
Prior to joining the Alexander Group, I was a management consultant at Deloitte and IBM Business Consulting Services. I earned a B.A. in economics from the University of Chicago and an MBA from Indiana University Kelley School of Business. I am also a Certified Sales Compensation Professional (CSCP), WorldatWork.
What does the Alexander Group do?
Alexander Group provides management consulting services to the world’s leading sales organizations. When clients need to grow revenue, they look to Alexander Group for data-driven insights, actionable recommendations, and most importantly, results.
Founded in 1985, we’ve served more than 1000 companies around the world, across all industries. This experience gives us not only a highly sophisticated set of best practices to grow revenue — but we also have a rich repository of industry data that informs all our recommendations.
What are the overall trends you see when it comes to successful staffing and retention with digital marketing services?
The race to hire great sales talent has heated up. Core responsibilities of the main sales role have drastically changed. Selling multiple products across multiple platforms, including digital, working within a team setting with a variety of specialized pre- and post-sales roles, and the mandates to bring actionable insights have all increased the complexity of the sales role.
This revised role requires new technological skills that include a full understanding of, and ability to interpret, client data and to integrate creative. Creating a purpose-filled sales environment focused on coaching, recognition, unique incentives and opportunities for advancement has led to higher recruitment, greater job satisfaction, and lower attrition.
What are approaches that are working when it comes to structuring sales and fulfillment teams?
The best approach that has been successful in structuring sales and fulfillment teams is the proliferation of pre- and post-sales roles. The investment in those roles in terms of headcount is necessary to support advertiser mandates for delivering across products and platforms.
It’s about solution selling vs. selling point products. In a fixed budget environment, the core account executive must become more productive. The media ad sales firms who have been able to integrate the pre- and post-sales specialist roles and create a culture of teamwork have reaped the rewards of revenue growth.
How do companies invest and grow while also achieving sufficient profitability? It’s a big challenge, but what’s working here?
It’s about the product mix – having the right solutions configured for clients and the right incentive structure for your sales team to support profitable growth.
Do you see one-size-fits-all approaches or are small and large markets wildly different when it comes to the approaches?
Media firms in smaller markets have fewer resources, so, therefore, need to wear more than one hat. Firms in larger markets have more leeway to invest in specialized roles. The challenge for both is the degree to which they choose to centralize certain functions vs. having dedicated local resources – the centralized vs. cottage approach – and how to find the right balance.
What are you seeing with incentive structures?
In any type of transformation environment, the incentive structure acts as the signal to the organization that they are serious; it is the overriding factor for change and change adoption. A perfectly designed incentive program, however, is not enough these days to attract and retain top talent. Many of the young professionals are also investigating alternative, purpose-driven programs and initiatives for career progression and an inclusive environment.