Divide and Conquer the Digital Sales World

According to RAB digital revenue in radio went up in 2023 by 6.8% to $1.9 billion. This year, we are expecting to see even more growth in the digital ad sales, possibly passing the $2 billion mark.

The advertising world is changing across the media map, and that includes radio. You would think you’re just selling commercials on-air, right? Not anymore. The digital aspect of radio sales has added challenges within companies who’ve had the same sales team for years. Many sales managers are faced with the decision of, “do we hire new reps or train the veteran reps we have?”

According to Radio Adverting Bureau (RAB), digital revenue in radio went up in 2023 by 6.8%, hitting $1.9 billion. This year, we are expecting to see even more growth in the digital ad sales, possibly passing the $2 billion mark. Other findings within this report from the RAB are:

  1. Since the pandemic began in 2020, digital sales have helped grow radio. When combining digital and core radio revenue, the annual growth rate was 6.4%
  2. When polling radio buyers, 70% said they are planning to buy something new this year including digital products that most stations sell.
  3. There is still a potential to find new radio buyers…more than half said they haven’t bought digital yet.

Yet again, managers are faced with this question of, do we hire a new team or retrain the team we have? Many have said it’s been difficult implementing a new sales task within a veteran team, whereas, the “new meat” already have knowledge of digital marketing and are excited to learn more on this new trend.  According to Borell, hiring new sales people should be the priority, vs retraining the already in-place sales team. Having a separate digital sales team is easier to incorporate, versus adding another change for the veterans. Your digital team doesn’t have to be huge. It can be a small group to start with. If your digital sales…scratch that…WHEN your digital sales start to explode, which they will, then you can add in more people.

This doesn’t mean you don’t need to train the vets on digital. They still need to understand this new world. It’s inevitable they’ll come across questions on digital and they’ll need the knowledge and tools to address this interest from potential buyers. The vets can still sell digital, but that doesn’t have to be their concentration. Training will only make everyone better.

The bottom line, the sales department does need new “meat.” Radio is forever changing and it’s important to get a younger department in the mix to help with new ideas catering to these changes. You don’t want to overload the veteran team and have them feeling like they have too many plates with too many things on each. It’s time to divide and conquer.

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