As an industry-focused Salesforce partner, we could only dream of the tsunami of industry-focused solutions built on Salesforce that would be rolling out soon after the acquisition of Vlocity in 2020. After years of building custom solutions to meet challenges specific to the ad sales industry, we were thrilled to learn about the launch of Advertising Sales Management from Media Cloud.
This solution covers everything publishers need to navigate their ad sales processes and offers a single platform that can meet a diversity of challenges spanning print and digital publishing, out-of-home advertising, radio, television, OTT, retail media, and more. With Media Cloud for Ad Sales, Salesforce standardizes the types of custom solutions V2 has been building for clients to address industry-specific pain points. Whether ad sales publishers are looking to address lack of visibility into advertiser and agency relationships, the inaccuracies of manual forecasting, broken pipeline management and media planning processes, or disjointed contract lifecycle management, there is a solution for every pain point in the prospect-to-order flow.
As publishers learn about this new Salesforce offering, we recognize many may wonder how they can best prepare for digital transformation and take advantage of this solution. To that end, we have outlined four ways ad sales organizations can get ready for Advertising Sales Management from Media Cloud.
#1 Lay the Groundwork for Agile, Iterative Implementations
We anticipate that when ad sales organizations first see Advertising Sales Management from Media Cloud, they may be spellbound by the power of the platform and anxiously sprinting ahead to figure out where and how to start. Organizations should be ready to consider two different paths to getting onto the platform: either implementing in a big bang fashion or rolling out iteratively. While a big bang approach can undoubtedly have its advantages and may have worked well in the past for prior transformation efforts, organizations should consider the alternative of rolling out Advertising Sales Management from Media Cloud in an iterative manner and should assess their readiness to implement in an agile fashion.
Advertising Sales Management from Media Cloud was smartly designed as a modular-based application, which can support an iterative approach to implementation. From a purchasing perspective, Salesforce allows customers the ability to start with Media Cloud Base and cherry-pick from a suite of modular solutions to deploy on top of that base, spanning digital commerce, order management, CLM, CPQ, and more.
Customers can determine which modules make sense to deploy first and can take an iterative approach further by identifying a pilot group to beta test and fine-tune such modules before rolling out organization-wide. The Ad Sales industry is fast-moving and an iterative approach ensures that each deployment can align with desired business and technology outcomes which may continue to evolve throughout the overall transformation program. An iterative approach will allow organizations to navigate their change management efforts with confidence, building momentum with each successful deployment and instil faith in team members across all departments involved.
Organizations should ensure that they have the right people and technology processes in place to implement agilely and be open to new ways of working to accomplish quicker time-to-value.
#2 Gain Clarity Around Your Ad Sales Process Flows
While any technology transformation project will ultimately encompass process optimization, organizations can get ahead of those conversations by examining their end-to-end sales processes to identify weak spots and areas ripe for change. It is most important to acknowledge broken and inefficient processes but not necessarily address prior to transformation–after all, new technology will play an integral role in helping automate and streamline such processes.
Ad Sales organizations can run workshops internally to fully expose system and process pain points in more detail, as well as build alignment and consensus between teams around priorities. These types of process discussions can also drive a deeper understanding of some of the impacts and risks to consider in the future around team structures, roles, handoff processes, and general system considerations. Organizations should assign a team to help drive such workshops and document conversations and workflows throughout, as documentation of the current state and the desired future state can also be helpful to enable a quicker start to technology transformation efforts. Here are some questions to get started:
- What processes are inherently broken or inefficient?
- What technology is outdated and no longer aligns with the current or desired sales process?
- How closely do sales stages mirror the actual or desired sales process?
- What inefficiencies exist in moving from Opportunity to Order to Delivery?
- What discrepancies exist in tracking forecast, booked, in-flight, and actual revenue between different media types like print, digital, linear, programmatic, subscriptions, and events?
- What are your agency partners and advertising customers asking of you? Where do you have difficulty in meeting partner and customer requests?
- Where can communication and collaboration between pre-sales and post-sales teams be optimized?
At a minimum, driving these types of discussions internally will start to build alignment around priorities and increase buy-in throughout the organization when the time comes.
#3 Ensure Company-Wide Buy-In with Executives, Managers, Super Users & Your Transformation Team
Transformation projects require a heavy investment of time and money but investing the right way from day one will pay dividends. Many organizations make the mistake of trying to unite stakeholders immediately prior to kicking off a technology program. As change management is often the “long pole in the tent” for any transformation project, it is critical that a concerted effort is performed upfront to bring together stakeholders spanning executives, managers, and even super users. Transformation leaders should aim to generate discussion and debate across a range of perspectives early, and more importantly, start getting buy-in around the ultimate vision, which will be the foundation for project success later on.
In addition, it is our experience that organizations try to cobble together their transformation project teams too late in game, and oftentimes ask individuals to manage such projects in addition to their full-time roles. This is short-sighted and can be a contributing factor to project failures such as project inertia, additional project costs to perform rework, and even team member attrition and knowledge loss. Organizations should think seriously about the makeup of an ultimate transformation team which can be made of a mix of full-time and part-time players, but at a minimum, finding a way to dedicate a full-time leader for the initiative.
It is clear from our experience that a good portion of work for these types of projects can take place upfront before a project formally kicks off. Identifying someone internally who can start to lead the charge around how the Advertising Sales Management from Media Cloud solution will integrate with current technologies is one key element of preparation that will ensure success.
#4 Hire an External Consultancy to Perform a Readiness Assessment
Your teams aligned to sales, operations, and IT are likely focused on the day-to-day as well as near-term project work and may not have sufficient time to run a proper evaluation of Advertising Sales Management from Media Cloud to determine your readiness or define your roadmap to launch. Hiring an external consultancy can accelerate the process. A consultant can help you navigate the decisions around which modules to implement first as well as help design a roadmap for implementation and cutover from your existing systems and processes. Whether you decide to self-implement at a later date or not, a consulting partner may be the best way to effectively determine how this solution can help you achieve your technology vision and assess your readiness to begin the transformation.
As with any Salesforce product, it is critical that ad sales organizations educate themselves on this cutting-edge technology early so they can determine the best path forward to supercharge their prospect-to-order processes.
Get in Touch to discuss how V2 can help your media & entertainment organization with Salesforce’s Advertising Sales Management from Media Cloud.