Fifteen years ago, I was the publisher of a magazine. I was in the media business for sure, but the changes that had taken place in the business of publishing B2B magazines had not really changed in 50 years. With a few years under my belt it wasn’t necessary to make any further investment in my knowledge of the product I was responsible for growing, nor my understanding of how my customers used it.
Flash forward to today and I find it much more challenging to explain to friends and family what I do. I am certainly still in the media business and I still publish a magazine. However, I also sell online advertising, newsletters, email marketing, content marketing, webinars, research, trade shows, video, hosted buyer events, and educational conferences to name just a few. The thing that has changed the most is that these products are perpetually changing.
As we deal with these changes and ramp up our knowledge on how these products work and how our customers use them I think many veterans of the industry yearn for the stability that we had with print. While we are absolutely still in the media business, we are also in the technology business. This fact creates the need to accept change is perpetual. I don’t believe we are ever going back to a time where we won’t need to continue learning new products around the quickly changing technologies available to us.
For many veteran sellers the loss of comfort and security that being in a simpler static market we once had is daunting. Many media companies are not built to train their sales teams on an ongoing basis. We want our team selling, not learning. The more I look at the business I am responsible for growing, the more I think this is one of my biggest challenges. With customers doing more with less, how likely is it they will spend time with you if you don’t know what programmatic is or what it means if a client is investing thousands of dollars in a HubSpot program?
Step number one…. Accept that change is perpetual. We will never again achieve the level of comfort or status quo we once had.