Technology is key when it comes to programmatic advertising platforms, but the people behind the platforms are even more important. This is the first in our series on the people behind programmatic. Enjoy!
Director of Programmatic Sales Jonathan Shtofman discusses the role of sales in a programmatic landscape.
From in-store to online and mobile sales, the sales process has become more automated over time. This raises the question, in today’s world, do we really need sales managers? Of course, I am biased, but that’s only because I am so deep inside the realm of automated, programmatic technology that I understand a basic fundamental truth: while this world has evolved, it is still enabled by people. And a good sale manager isn’t just selling a technology or service, they are a consultant for clients, creating partnerships, understanding their needs and empowering them to achieve their goals.
“A good sales manager isn’t just selling a technology or service, they are a consultant for clients, creating partnerships, understanding their needs and empowering them to achieve their goals.”
The bridge between the company and the industry
The sales manager serves as a connection between the product and the outside world. The sales team tracks market trends; they meet face-to-face with prospective clients; they attend industry events; they take the time to get to know their clients. During their day-to-day activity, they observe, ask hard questions, see what’s working and not working, and better understand where the industry is heading.
Furthermore, sales managers can use the insights that they learn from the external world and apply it internally – impacting the company’s direction, its service, support, features, technology, and more, even driving the business to embrace new channels and sectors. For example, when we saw that many of our clients were using specific quality verification tools or ad formats, we made sure that our technology was compatible with those tools and optimized when necessary, as it’s our job to see that our products and technology meet the expectations of our clients.
Building relationships with clients
A company can have the greatest product in the world, but if their customers don’t trust the brand, or have no emotional connection with the company, very few will buy or use it. A large component of sales is building a rapport and developing trust with clients. They need someone who will speak the same lingo and understand their pain points and KPIs.
When a company has a wide variety of solutions, there’s a lot to offer. But we don’t want to just convince people to choose our product over others, we want to make sure it’s the right product for them so when they do use it, they are satisfied with it.
This is why from the beginning a sales manager needs to see which services can best serve the clients’ needs and then customize their solutions accordingly. It requires developing a plan for success, and knowing which features, metrics, and reports are necessary for the client to achieve their goals. Specifically, in a programmatic landscape, it is important to ask the questions: how do you sell your media? How do you measure it? How can we present the data so that you know whether your activity is working?
Once that information is revealed, it provides a basis for the account manager to move forward with onboarding and ensuring future success with the platform and service. At this point, the sales takes a step back, but that doesn’t mean the technology takes over.
“A large component of sales is building a rapport and developing trust with clients. They need someone who will speak the same lingo and understand their pain points and KPIs.”
The human touch
Sometimes it’s easy to forget about the people behind the platform. But programmatic is still enabled by its human resources. From sales to account management to development, algorithm design, QA, and support, there are so many people impacting the product, optimizing it, and working directly with the clients using it. What makes the tech great is the human component, the brilliant minds behind it.