Should Ad Sales Teams Fear the Growth of Self-Service?

Sales team involvment is crucial in Self-Service Success

Self-Service Advertising platforms are the next big thing in the evolution of ad sales, but is self-service here to replace salespeople? The simple answer is no, if you want to generate maximum revenue in the most efficient way.

If a publisher wishes to create a successful self-service advertising platform they must create a positive relationship between the platform and their sales team. 

But what does a positive relationship between self-service and sales look like? and How can publishers get sales onboard with the project? We’ll answer both of these questions in this edition of the DanAds blog!

Q1: So, what does a positive relationship between self-service and sales look like?

The ultimate goal for the relationship is that it should make both sides more successful: Self-service should be receiving a steady flow of low effort revenue and sales should be able to focus upon driving new revenue or growing existing high value accounts. 

Here are 4 key indicators of success: 

  1. Deals are funnelled through consistently and successfully from sales to self-service. 
  2. Accounts are grown from self-service into high value direct sales relationships: Your self-service platform should be seen as a crèche, not a dumping ground!
  3. The sales team should see self-service positively. Something that makes their life easier, earns them more commission and helps them hit their target
  4. Self-service should unlock salespeople to drive more revenue, by reducing their time spent on smaller deals and admin.

However, this is easier said than done, and we know that publishers often face pushbacks from Sales around the introduction of self-service platforms. We are strong believers that handling these pushbacks proactively will give publishers the best chance to form the type of relationship we have described above.

Q2: How can publishers get sales onboard with the project?

The key to this lies with publishers owning the narrative around the introduction of the self-service platform. You need to quell concerns and explain why the organisation is taking this direction. If you are prepared with answers and can show the benefits that this platform will bring, you will be well on the way to forming the relationship you are looking for. 

Here are some of the most common pushbacks we have heard from sales departments surrounding the launch of their organisation’s self-service platform: 

  • If I pass deals through to self-service, I’ll lose out on commission”
    • Salespeople should be paid the same commission, if not more, for deals they pass through to self-service. It’s a more efficient way for publishers to generate revenue (cost per deal is lower) and the extra time available to salespeople should translate into more new revenue as well!
  • “If I pass deals through to self-service, I won’t hit my target”
    • As someone that’s felt the pressure when I’ve not been on pace with target, I know salespeople will be unwilling to give up their deals, regardless of their size if they need them to hit target. To avoid this, any deals that are passed from sales through to self-service should contribute to the salesperson’s quota! 
  • “I’m unclear about what I should be holding onto and what I should be passing to self-service, so I just hold onto everything”
    • A common issue which is typically the result of not having clear guidelines or a process in place. Publishers should set rules about what should/shouldn’t be passed through to self-service and make sure that Sales is in agreement. Typically, we see publishers setting a threshold, whereby all deals under a certain size are funnelled through to self-service.
  • “If self-service is successful, I will lose my job.”
    • Saving the most important until last. This is the most common concern sales has around the introduction of self-service platforms, but it’s also the biggest misconception! Born out of the global narrative that robots are coming to take over, sales often feel as though that the introduction of the self-serve platform marks the beginning of the end. However, publishers have to help Sales understand that the self-service platform is here to empower them! Let the robots take over the mundane admin tasks, or lower value deals and focus on the thing you were employed to do: close deals and drive revenue.

So to summarise, here’s a breakdown of 5 things publishers can do to set themselves up for success:

  1. Own the narrative.
    When you (the publisher) decide to implement a self-service advertising platform, internally communicate the reasons for needing it and the benefits it will bring.

  2. Set clear rules around what should/shouldn’t be funnelled through to self-service. If you are unsure about what the rules should be, DanAds will always be on hand to provide best practices.

  3. Create a commission setup that incentivises the sales team to funnel deals through. It’s no good having a rule about what’s funnelled through if the salesperson isn’t incentivised to help it convert.
  4. Add self-service revenue to the quota of the salesperson. Your salesforce shouldn’t be penalised for pushing the revenue through a more cost efficient sales process.
Eoin McGregor

Eoin McGregor

Head of Customer Success

About DanAds

We are the industry-leading provider of self-serve technology, supplying publishers with white-labelled and customisable self-serve ad platforms

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