The data-driven road to maximizing ad revenue and market share
Local TV sales leaders face daunting challenges as they strive to maximize advertising revenue. Forced to cope with an ever-changing economic climate, remote work and new buyer behavior patterns, sales managers need to be extra sharp when forecasting and pricing.
To optimize revenue, they must master the art — and science — of selling to the right customers at the right time. The sales team, with the connections they’ve made, are the artists. The science comes from analyzing historical data and current trends to support an effective pricing strategy. Together, the two add up to a holistic sales approach that expands market share.
An Accurate Forecast: The Critical First Step
Sales teams that apply a regular, disciplined approach to measuring the data and adjusting their forecasts as that data suggests, are able to respond faster to the rapidly changing needs of the marketplace. No one can predict which global events or advertiser whims will lead to cancellations or sudden big ad buys, but a consistent forecasting cadence means leaders don’t have to be fortune tellers. They just have to be agile.
What steps can a manager take to make a weekly forecast feel like an informed decision and less like a gut call? He or she can start by gathering the relevant data:
- The team’s pending
- Write forward from the last several years
- Historical finish for the month
- Current sellout of special events (i.e. Super Bowl)
- Political demand
- Marketplace conditions
- Recent audience trends
These are just a few examples of data that should be analyzed on a weekly basis to determine an accurate forecast. At this point, it’s not about hitting a budget. The market doesn’t care about a team’s budget. But a competitive pricing strategy depends on a realistic forecast.
Price Inventory Based on Demand, Not Getting to Budget
Sales teams want to hit or exceed budget, and they know that budgets aren’t always based in reality and don’t account for changes in marketplace conditions.
The microchip shortage in the auto industry is a great example. When auto started pulling advertising dollars off the air last year, inventory demand changed, especially for those stations that relied heavily on that spending category. The sales teams that made the most of a frustrating situation are the ones who adapted quickly. By adjusting forecasts and then their rate cards to reflect a new reality, sales leaders were able to maximize their inventory by pricing to changed market demand.
Much like forecasting, pricing inventory requires a constant review of key metrics to make sure teams are not underselling or overselling inventory. Some of those metrics include:
- Historical average rates and sellouts
- Current average rates and sellouts
- Ratings and impressions changes
- Current buying trends
It may sound overwhelming to review all this data on a weekly basis and then create a rate card, but the reality is that the most successful sales managers DO make the time. Having the pulse on a team’s progress and the state of a station’s inventory helps a manager make smarter decisions that maximize revenue.
Luckily, there are tools and services to make that significantly easier.
You Don’t Have to Figure This Out on Your Own
For over 20 years, ShareBuilders has helped stations make their sales data make sense. Reviewing key data points every week is an arduous task if you do it on your own, but with ShareBuilders’ software and consulting services you can get it done in one 30-minute meeting.
ShareBuilder helps you get the most out of your inventory and navigate the complexities of a competitive market. We provide you with the insight to effectively price to the demand that exists instead of the demand you wish you had. Our forecasting tools and one-on-one consulting will keep you laser-focused on reaching your goals. Our aggregate views of national pacing offer insight by geographical region, network affiliation, and market size.
ShareBuilder has a plethora of tools to help guide your forecasting decisions, but we never forget that YOU know your market best. Our highly trained consultants listen to your input and offer you their recommendations, but the final decisions remain in the hands of the managers. You are the experts when it comes to navigating the idiosyncrasies of your market- let us provide you with a solid scientific foundation.
“Your salespeople, your managers, your GM: they’re all self-interested in some way; motivated to earn a high commission, hit their budgets, get the biggest share. We certainly want that for you too, but our consultants and software are here to give you the unbiased, unvarnished truth. Everyone needs a gut check, and that’s what ShareBuilder provides to sales teams of all sizes and experience levels,” says ShareBuilders CEO Erin Koller.
Our customizable rate card creation saves you hours of analysis. After your weekly call, our software analyzes your forecasts to calculate rates for every show that will get you to your goal. Our team of analysts reviews those rates and manages the data involved, adding another layer of assessment as we sculpt those rates to meet the specific demands of your market.
While we are confident in the scientific foundation of our rates, we understand that a purely science-driven rate might not provide the perfect solution in every situation. This is what sets us apart from fully automated solutions. We give you the tools so you can finesse the end result in a way that best suits your needs because we know that you know your market and advertisers best.
A Solution That Pays for Itself
When asked about the most valuable aspect of our software and services, our clients had answers as unique as their individual markets. Some find the forecasting most helpful; others appreciate the time savings on rate cards. Some value the graphic representation of inventory. All would agree that having a data-backed solution for forecasting and inventory management enriches their sales process.
“ShareBuilders has been a critical and time saving tool for our sales department. It’s extremely helpful with forecasting, has assisted us with analyzing inventory, and creating rate cards in a fraction of the time it would take to do so without the tool. ShareBuilders helps us maximize our inventory and to make informed pricing decisions, ultimately driving share for the station,” says one of ShareBuilders’ clients, a Director of Sales in a top 50 market.
In the end, ShareBuilders lives up to its name: we help you build share. In the first three years of working with ShareBuilders, our clients see an average share growth of half a point. For a large market, that is easily millions of dollars gained, and even in smaller markets at least six figures. Given the cost of the product, it pays for itself several times over within that time frame. To learn more about our ROI for clients, visit our site here.