The Kelsey Group: a well-trained sales force critical to YP transition to multiplatform medium
Based on a review of quarterly financials reported by five leading public Yellow Pages publishers, the average share of revenues from online advertising was 15.2 percent for the first half of 2008, up from 12.8 percent in the first half of 2007—a one-year increase of nearly 19 percent. These figures illustrate how quickly the shift from print to online is taking place, according to The Kelsey Group. This analysis aligns with the firm's directional media forecast released earlier this year, which indicated that growth in directional advertising—local search, print Yellow Pages and Internet Yellow Pages—would be driven in large part by growth of the interactive segments. The firm's analysts emphasize that while local search and IYPs continue to gain market share, print will remain the most important source of leads for small businesses, reinforcing the multiplatform business model. A well-trained sales force is critical to the success of a multiplatform business strategy, according to The Kelsey Group, which is why it is a primary focus of the firm's upcoming Directional Media Strategies 2008 conference (DMS '08: The Multiplatform Opportunity), Sept. 15-17 in Atlanta.
"As the revenue mix becomes diverse, the importance of adjusting the business model, and the way the sales channel is organized, becomes much more acute," said Charles Laughlin, senior vice president and program director, The Kelsey Report®, and managing editor, The Kelsey Group. "At DMS '08, we will take a close look at the complex multiproduct offerings sales reps are now selling and what publishers are doing to position their sales forces to succeed."
DMS '08 is The Kelsey Group's 29th Yellow Pages and directory conference (formerly Directory Driven Commerce—DDC: The Future of Yellow Pages), attracting the widest and most diverse audience of senior executives from across the global directional media industry. The conference agenda reflects the challenges and opportunities presented by the changing local media landscape.
Sessions will cover the priorities of today's traditional and online publishers, which must balance the need to focus on the basics—selling and publishing the best directory products they can in the current economy—while finding ways to achieve sustainable, long-term growth and strategic advantage in a multiplatform marketplace. DMS '08 features a number of sessions that highlight the role of the sales force, including:
• From Perception to Performance: The Sales Channel Revolution
• Selling in a Down Economy
• The Online Video Opportunity
• Mobile Local Search: What's the Role for Yellow Pages Publishers?
• The Change Imperative
In addition, The Kelsey Group is conducting a three-hour pre-conference session on Sept. 15 titled, "Advanced Online Selling Skills." The session is designed for those responsible for developing a local media organization's sales strategy, managing the sales force, or evaluating or recommending training programs that support sales objectives.
DMS '08 conference sponsors include Acxiom, Adfare, AgendiZe, Amdocs, AT&T Real Yellow Pages, Cal Genie, eStara, Exalead, Imagine Local, infoUSA, Local Matters, Local.com, Localeze, Marchex, MDS, MediaTraks, Mixpo, Spotzer, Superpages.com and Telmetrics. Association partners include Association of Directory Marketing (ADM), Association of Directory Publishers (ADP), International Classified Media Association (ICMA) and Yellow Pages Association (YPA). For more information about DMS '08: The Multiplatform Opportunity, visit www.kelseygroup.com/directional-media-strategies-2008.