Local Media Sales Managers Predict Surprising Revenue Growth for 2015, But Goals Undercut by Churn

New State of Media Sales™ survey by Sales Development Services shows sales staff and advertiser churn threatens gains

State of Media Sales White PaperWESTERVILLE, Ohio (February 23, 2015) —Media sales/​executive managers are optimistic for 2015, in spite of the fact that 46% did not meet their 2014 sales goal. More than 50% of those surveyed forecast revenue growth of 6% or more in 2015, a robust result when compared to prior years.

One hot growth area is digital, with average percentage of ad revenues expected to jump by more than 50% in 2015, according to the recently released 2015 State of Media Sales™ survey conducted by the online publication Media Sales Today. Other revenue gains are most likely to come from small businesses, healthcare, recruiting/​employment businesses and real estate.

These initial findings are being presented at the Key Executives Mega-​Conference today in Atlanta by C. Lee Smith, President/​CEO, Sales Development Services, Inc. and Publisher of Media Sales Today.

Other highlights of the 6th annual State of Media Sales™ survey include:

  • Television sales/​executive managers surveyed show the economy bouncing back with 72% predicting increases in revenue from local-​direct accounts. However, respondents say sector improvements are narrow, with expected increases in ad revenue only in the automotive and healthcare sectors. These gains will need to offset the loss of political spending from the 2014 elections.
  • Most U.S. newspaper sales/​executive managers surveyed had a revenue decrease in 2014 over 2013. Most respondents report declines of only 1 to 5% however. 1 in 3 newspaper sales/​executive managers say it is harder to manage advertiser churn (lost accounts and decreased spending from remaining accounts) over the past year.
  • Radio staff turnover appears to be less of a challenge with just over 3% of management citing this as a biggest area of frustration, significantly lower than at other media types

Staff turnover of 25–33% (depending on media type) is increasingly challenging nationwide across all media types. A whopping 77% of respondents said it has gotten even harder to hire high quality salespeople than it was just one year ago.

The media industry today does not have a sales problem, it has a retention problem," says Smith. “Finding ways to slow or reverse churn — of both advertisers and sales staff — is critical to revenue and profitability in 2015 and beyond.”

In regards to the increasing struggle to retain staff, the report reveals additional workplace challenges for sales/​executive managers including:

  • Lack of sales talent
  • Lack of budget
  • It’s increasingly harder to make money in current position within current structure
  • Management being free to accompany salespeople on in-​person calls, mentor staff and increase staff retention
  • Continued year over year time creep undercutting training/​mentoring time. Nearly 50% of the management work week is now spent in meetings and working on results reports. The typical media sales manager spends 3–4 hours a week interviewing job replacement candidates.

Media, please note if you would like enhanced data from the survey, customized to your readers and explained by C. Lee Smith, we are happy to work with your team on further editorial.

The State of Media Sales™ survey was conducted from December 2014 into January 2015. The sample size for this online survey was 305 respondents who are decision-​maker management/​executive level sales professionals nationwide.

The State of Media Sales™ survey was conducted from December 2014 into January of 2015. The sample size for this online survey was 305 respondents who are decision-​maker management/​executive level sales professionals nationwide.

Sales Development Services, Inc. provides the tools, training and intelligence for developing sales by media, advertising agencies and in-​house marketers. The firm’s core philosophy is to empower its clients to deliver greater value to their clients. Products and services include the AdMall® product line to enhance the ability of account executives to speak intelligently about every advertiser's line of business and sales-​building opportunities. SalesTouch® is the Smarter CRM for Media Sales with predictive analytics for every account. SDS also offers online audience optimization via AudienceSCAN™, SDS also offers an annual, proprietary State of Media Sales™ survey. It is the most comprehensive independent study to identify the current landscape and emerging media sales trends and is widely anticipated within the space. For more information, current thought leadership and firm philosophy, visit our website at www​.sdsinc​.com, our Media Sales Today™ e‑newsletter and learn our 10 Guiding Principles.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.