Sales too slow to adapt

The news media industry and its audiences have dramatically changed over the past decade, but Blanche Sainsbury, of Trinity Mirror, believes sales teams have been too slow to transform.

Blanche Sainsbury, commercial director at Trinity Mirror – the largest British news publisher.

Blanche Sainsbury, commercial director at Trinity Mirror – the largest British news publisher.

When Blanche Sainsbury, of Trinity Mirror, looks at the advertising departments of news media groups, she sees that in some respects they are still shaped around the same structures put in place years ago.

Among her UK-based observations:

  • Sales forces are split into categories, such as real estate and retail
  • Colleagues sell on a one-on-one basis
  • Data and analytics don’t play a big enough role, and
  • Teams are not shaped to capitalise on the new ways in which audiences consume content.

“I don’t think we are being quick enough to reshape the advertising teams to sell differently, or to sell the audience in a compelling way,” says Ms Sainsbury, commercial director at Trinity Mirror – the largest British news publisher.

She will speak at the 2016 Future Forum, an industry conference hosted by NewsMediaWorks in Sydney on September 2. She will outline how Trinity Mirror has structured its commercial operations, its approach to a cost-effective sales structure and the ideal attributes of future commercial teams.

Ms Sainsbury says part of the issue is that the cost of serving advertisers has increased as ad rates fall and news media companies face increased competition from digital players like Google and Facebook.

“When we’re dealing with smaller advertisers in particularly, we’re pricing ourselves out of the market and potentially not giving customers the right products,” Ms Sainsbury says.

“Structures have to look very different in the future.”

Ms Sainsbury has held a number of high profile roles in UK media in throughout her 25-year career, including regional managing director of Devon and Cornwall Media, South Wales Media, and Bristol News and Media.

“The role of the sales person has to change to be more of a marketeer as opposed to just promising heaven and delivering hell. We have to be able to give good marketing advice,” Ms Sainsbury says.

Also speaking at the Future Forum is William Lewis, chief executive of Dow Jones; Michael Cooke, editor of Toronto Star, Alisa Bowen, chief technology officer at News Corp Australia; and lots more.

Watch speakers from the 2015 Future Forum
(article continued below)

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