State of Media Sales: Media Sales Trending Upward But Employment Shortages Present Dangers

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Nearly half of media sales representatives in a fresh new survey expect their forecasted local-​direct sales revenue will finish 2021 “significantly higher” than in 2020. Recruiting/​employment (63%) and entertainment (45%) are seen as leading growth sectors. 

Much like their advertisers, recruiting presents a major challenge for media companies, especially when it pertains to the sales department. 78% of all respondents say that hiring high-​quality salespeople is proving significantly harder than in previous years – a view that jumped to nearly 88% for digital* respondents.

These are some of the highlights of the annual State of Media Sales™ survey conducted by leading sales intelligence firm SalesFuel. You can download our free infographic with more results here: https://​salesfuel​.com/​s​oms

Media companies, like many other industries, are finding their current process for hiring salespeople is outdated, which puts them at a disadvantage in today’s labor shortage,” says SalesFuel CEO C. Lee Smith. “It’s also time to consider expanding your candidate pool beyond those currently in sales to others having the qualities of a great salesperson including problem solving, coachability, listening and empathy.”

Other highlights from the survey include:

  • 69% of television and over-​the-​air (OTA) media sales managers expect recruiting/​employment sector sales revenues to increase significantly
  • 63% of digital sellers expect retail sector sales revenues to increase significantly
  • 51% of all sales managers believe navigating employee stress, anxiety and mental health issues will be more challenging
  • 50% of digital respondents expect sales increases from hospitals while 63% believe medical clinics sales will increase significantly
  • 25% of media sales reps make at least half of their sales calls via video chat (like Zoom, FaceTime or Google Hangouts)

In digital media, 50% of respondents say the lack of sales talent or competency is a major area of frustration,” says Smith. “That demonstrates that hiring right now is THE most dangerous activity for employers as the economy reopens,” says Smith. “Panic hiring and not properly vetting candidates will lead to lost time, money and opportunity. “

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Survey Methodology:

SalesFuel conducted the 11th annual State of Media Sales™ survey in August 2021. The 394 respondents to this survey were media sales reps and media sales managers including broadcast TV, cable TV, radio, newspapers/​magazines, direct response and those who have more than 50% of their revenue from digital sources. All respondents were actively employed by media sales companies in the United States. Note that some respondents sell multiple media formats.

The questions in this survey were designed to help understand the level of optimism in the media sales industry. The data collected revealed the extent of the shift to digital formats in media sales and where media sales professionals see their greatest opportunities and challenges. Sales reps also revealed how they divide their time across specific selling activities on a daily basis.

*including OTT, other digital and digital agencies