Guest Columns
3 mins read

Publishers: A dedicated sales team isn’t optional when scaling

Scaling a business – many companies think about it, but not all are cut out for it. If a publisher wants to scale, there needs to be a solid strategy to grow. What is the end goal of scaling? How should the company look in six months, a year, two years after scaling? What new teams or positions must be added? 

In addition to these questions, there are plenty of things publishers should know before they make the move to scale. And one of the most dire is the vital importance of having a dedicated sales team. As publishers go from a mid-market level to enterprise or larger, they’ll discover the importance of a dedicated sales team. 

It’s a pain to invest even more money when you’re trying to grow, especially in the middle of a pandemic where resources can be tight. But I must warn you that scaling without a sales team can actually be quite risky for a publisher.  If the sales team starts off unorganized, it could actually lead to lost revenue for the publisher. Why? Not having an organized sales team means the finance team will probably take over. Yes, finance taking over means lost revenue for publishers. This might sound crazy to you. Finance is the last stop and the final say on revenue and controls for a company, so they shouldn’t be losing money. 

The truth is they just aren’t focusing on the right things to ensure successful sales. Finance focuses on lagging indicators instead of leading indicators, which is antithetical to sales. Let me explain. Revenue is a lagging indicator because by the time you can count it, it’s already done and there’s no room for improvement. In contrast, sales cycle time and pipeline multiples are examples of leading indicators, because they can tell you early on if you’re going to get the revenue necessary to help your team adjust where needed. 

With finance owning the sales function, this type of data won’t be given back to the actual people on the ground, selling as insights that might yield a higher win rate or new opportunities for the business. Instead, finance’s processes will focus on getting all the data required, rather than the most optimal workflow, for the sellers to be able to provide the data. 

Imagine a company that has two navigate a two-front challenge- transform from one legacy business model to a new one; and do so while navigating quarterly expectations from the market. A publicly-traded company needs to tell the Street their forecast every three months; and if they miss it, it has repercussions to their stock price. In this example, there’s a good reason for finance to step in and design the process because they are the ones responsible for the numbers. And yet, by putting in place a process that was labor-intensive, too detailed and honorous for the sales team, they simultaneously got inaccurate data and took away from the sellers that they needed to focus on changing what was being sold.

By focusing on revenue, finance will miss opportunities for growth and course correction that a sales team would catch, analyze and execute on to drive more revenue for the business.

While it might be tempting to save money by not putting together a dedicated sales team, it can ultimately make the company suffer. Finance will set up systems and processes in service of forecasting a number that they’re required to provide Wall Street or the board, and not in service of improving sales. It’s vital to put a dedicated sales team in place when scaling a publishing business, or else revenue goals might not be properly met. Happy scaling!

Katie Schuele
CCO & Co-Founder, boostr


boostr is the only platform that seamlessly integrates CRM and OMS capabilities to address the unique challenges of media advertising. With boostr, companies gain the unified visibility necessary to effectively manage, maximize and scale omnichannel ad revenue profitability with user-friendly workflows, actionable insights, and accurate forecasting. For more information about boostr, visit www.boostr.com.