Sales is great. Chasing paper, not so.

Publishers are beginning to rethink their sales structures and processes to reduce costs while continuing to maintain high service levels with customers.

It’s a well known fact that a huge chunk of a newspaper sales reps’ time is spent on administrative responsibilities totally unrelated to his or her core skill set. Valuable ‘selling time’ wasted on things like following up on post-sale enquiries, keeping in touch with customers on the status of their orders, getting material status updates or even liaising with internal departments and couriers. All very, very unnecessary.

Many tasks peripheral to a firm’s core business can be done betterand cost effectively by specialists

Over the last decade revenues have continued to decline in printed news while digital has flat-lined, so media companies are now looking at other ways to transform business. After achieving significant efficiencies in creative execution and ad ad-operations, focus is now shifting to the sales process.

Companies cannot afford to view sales transformation as a mere business tactic; but the very reason for remaining competitive on the world stage. One way of going about it, is by utilizing the services of 3rd party partners to formulate sales strategy and execute pre-defined tasks. It’s a new way of looking at reducing cost without sacrificing service levels customers are used to receiving.

Over the last decade revenues have continued to decline in printed news while digital has flat-lined, so media companies are now looking at other ways to transform business. After achieving significant efficiencies in creative execution and ad ad-operations, focus is now shifting to the sales process.

The benefits are hard to ignore. A recent 2adpro initiative delivered as much as 60%cost saving, with faster time to market, greater economies of scale, higher returns, big drop in payroll costs and workers’ roles – everything was changed for the better.

Despite the big savings that ensue, quality really does not suffer. That’s a myth. Actually, a quest for greater quality is a primary reason companies implement specialist functions on multiple shores.

Sales-support services – a case in point.

A Publishing partner from New Zealand reached out to 2adpro for similar sales transformation solutions to help them become more cost efficient. It initially started with a two-way consultative approach, where teams from both companies collaboratively explored various functional touch points and associated costs required for getting an advertisement onto a page. The solutions 2adpro came up with took a holistic approach to avoid duplication, streamlining processes, identifying opportunities for automation, and bringing cost efficiencies into play.

The thinking.

2adpro’s ‘Lean Process’ and ‘Six Sigma’ powered modelling structure coupled with a ‘partnership’ approach, helped identify opportunities in cost saving with special focus on sales administration. This meant re-looking at a whole lot of issues, from workflow mapping, onshore and offshore collaboration, training, reassigning people, assigning costs, as well as introducing the tools & infrastructure required to get the job done.

The result.

All ‘Sales Admin’ functions for both Print and Digital was outsourced to 2adpro. The entire process was transitioned in a span of 4 weeks and achieved BAU status in another four weeks. After just 6 months into the engagement with 2adpro, the offshore Sales Admin delivered the following benefits :

  • A highly refined process was structured – where everything remained ‘as-is’ but for subtle refinements to escalation procedures and the use of technology for assisted self-service features
  • Extended work hour coverage – the difference in time zones offered a lot of leeway, especially when it came to late material delivery
  • Personal touch – by freeing personnel and getting specialists to service the needs of advertisers, clients were made to feel special
  • Data drove improvement – quick access to data helped identify customer pain points and addressed them instantly
  • High volume – 96% of the transactions initiated and 56% of the volumes were processed in the specified timeframe
  • Quality of service – 99% service levels were achieved
  • Savings – a 60% saving on labor costs in the 1st transition because all post sale administrative tasks were streamlined
  • Customer confidence rose – thanks to high administrative process efficiencies achieved by moving ad bookings, releases and approval tasks offshor

Bringing in specialists is not a new phenomenon

Companies have depended on outside advertising agencies, for almost as long as advertising has been in existence (J. Walter Thompson stands testimony to this, being in operation since the 1880s).

Sometimes, using specialists is a new phenomenon

Way back in 1928, Ford Motors completed building its massive River Rouge Plant. In those days it boasted everything it needed to turn raw materials into finished cars: 16m square feet of factory floor, 100,000 workers, 100 miles of railway track and its own docks and furnaces. Today, it is still Ford’s largest plant, but with a difference. Most of the parts are made by sub-contractors and fitted together by the plant’s 6,000 workers. The local steel mill is run by Severstal – a Russian company. (Source : The Economist)

The future looks healthy.

Publishers can now even think of giving customers the ability to create ads or modify existing advertisements by themselves via a white-labelled portal using simple tools provided by the specialist vendor. Other responsibilities like managing bookings and salesforce management (both pre and post-sale) or managing forward inventory for print and digital, are some areas of sales support that could be left to offshore providers.

Broad advantages of specializing the sales-admin support.

  • Creating a virtual sales-admin team, can strengthen an organisation with flexible options, without the overhead costs, office space/rent and supplies.
  • It allows organisations to focus on its core business with the confidence that all ack-office processes are being well managed.
  • It’s a low-risk opportunity for expansion and cost savings.
  • As it’s all outsourced, one can be sure all tasks assigned will be treated as priority.
  • Extended work hour coverage extends administration support by many hours.
  • Bottom line. It saves a lot of money.
An initiative such as this has assisted our NZ partners in establishing a clear strategy to engage customers on an “assisted self-service” model where the customer has the ability to supply content and creative input through technology without the hassles of ongoing phone calls, emails and over-servicing face to face meetings, achieving cost benefits for customers with lower spends.