Why creative sales teams are the heart of an agency


Now more than ever, clients lacking in confidence are expecting strategic guidance from their agency partners. Stacey Gattsche (main photo), general manager of sales at LUMO Digital Outdoor explores how sales teams can think differently to achieve success post-pandemic.

The sales team is the heart of an agency. Although the brain decides where we go, and the muscle gets us there, it’s the salespeople who ensure the blood is always pumping.

Keeping the anatomy of the agency healthy is more important than ever in the wake of the pandemic.  Right now, there’s a fatigue in the market, and virtually everything we do is influenced by the lingering effects of COVID-19.

But amid the hardship there are opportunities – and we need to be ready to seize them. Sales teams are now presented with new ways to connect with clients and innovative ways to offer creative solutions. Here’s how we can take them.

1. Getting on the front foot

We can assume, if not for the pandemic, the industry would have progressed a fair bit quicker in a creative sense. It’s certainly true for us. It interrupted work we had been building and forced us to re-evaluate.

Yet we found, almost overnight, clients came to us looking for guidance and assurance. In order to flourish in the new normal, sales had to adapt to become proactive, rather than just reactive.

By taking this approach, we discovered many clients who lacked confidence in the channel just needed something to inspire them.

In the Out of Home (OOH) channel specifically, there has been concern around audience accountability and metrics due to a loss of foot traffic. We quickly realised we needed to keep our clients up to date with transparent audience numbers.

So, we looked outside the box. The result was our partnership with LENS Analytics, an industry first Digital Out of Home (DOOH) audience measurement software.

The partnership meant our sales team could offer clients a state-of-the-art solution, helping them to regain trust in the channel and its ability to reach audiences.

2. Who says sales teams can’t be creative?

It’s the sales team’s role in this new normal to encourage clients to increase their spending in the OOH space. But we’re not just confined to selling. It was this thought process that saw us switch our focus to providing some bona fide creative solutions for our clients.

We have started to see a trend. One where clients are lacking creative thinking for campaigns, and therefore aren’t sure they’re getting the most out of their DOOH strategy. That’s bad news for both us and the sector.

So, we doubled down on a plan to offer a new creative direction for our clients and LUMO Labs, a first of its kind creative agency specifically catering to DOOH was launched. It’s relatively early days, but it has already given our sales team another string to their bow.

With a focus on strategic and creative leadership, sales teams can connect more deeply with clients and really cement relationships.

So, if you start to see a problem in the market, make a proactive move to help provide the solution. Don’t be afraid to develop your own creative ideas, even if you think it’s not your business arm’s role. 

3. Be prepared and be positive

There is still a lot to learn in this space, and It’s important in sales that you know what you’re selling down to the last detail.

Look, for example, at the exponential growth of the technology available to the market, across all channels. In DOOH. particularly programmatic trading technology, has seen a rapid increase in demand in New Zealand over the last eight months.

Although relatively new to the space, programmatic trading in DOOH is essential to our clients following market turbulence. Although it may feel like gazing into a crystal ball, sales teams need to anticipate these demands and prepare for increased interest.

If we had ignored our programmatic hunch, we would have missed out on a large slice of market share. It’s expected now that over 90 percent of New Zealand’s DOOH formats will be available programmatically by the end of Q1, 2022.

Despite this, programmatic DOOH is still a baffling proposition to a lot of people. Upskilling our team so that we could clearly talk through its nuances and encourage clients was key.

Everyone in the industry knows how important it is to be constantly upskilling and improving. If you don’t know your subject matter, you shouldn’t be talking.

Within sales, and especially as clients look to us for advice, it’s important to support your team’s development and increase resources to bolster your capabilities.

Dedication to your team’s growth will show them you support them and foster an environment of positivity

We understand the importance of remaining positive and optimistic, especially in light of the challenges the last few years have sent our way.

By being proactive, giving your sales team creative licence, and helping them upskill, you will likely see better results across your entire business.