Results tagged “advertising sales” from IABlog
Despite my silent goal to never again take a multiple-choice exam post college, I found myself on July 31st at the NetCom testing center on West 33rd, preparing to take the IAB Digital Media Sales Certification exam.
The IAB launched this training program over a year ago to help increase the knowledge of digital sales professionals. As a marketing exec at PulsePoint, a data-driven content technology provider, I considered myself lucky to take the exam alongside our entire salesforce. In an effort to continue to adopt and help drive industry best practices, our SVP of Sales, John Ruvolo, instated the requirement that all sales support teams - sellers, client services, account managers, ad operations, and marketing - successfully complete the training and obtain certification. Now, I must admit - having to carve out time to study on top of the daily grind was a challenge, but as I started digesting the impressive body of study preparation materials created by the IAB, I found myself happy to do so.
I have worked my entire professional life in the digital media space and truly appreciate that the IAB has provided a training program that deepens my understanding of our industries ever-changing processes, rules and regulations, best practices, definitions and of course…all those acronyms. Our space evolves at a dizzying pace to (try to) stay ahead of the mind-blowing technology being created every day. Chrome TV, one-click mobile payments, location sharing apps…it’s enough to make you seriously consider one of those ‘digital detox’ retreats. But without that evolution, without the constant influx of fresh ideas and new ways of connecting consumers to an amazing online experience, it would not be the exciting and fulfilling environment so many of us call home every day.
It has been common practice to learn and grow alongside all of this change through a mix of self-education and information sharing amongst colleagues, partners, and friends. What a relief to have a trusted, accredited program led by our industry body that helps to educate and benchmark our top professionals against rigorous industry standards. We finally have proof that we know what we are talking about…well, most of the time.
This IAB Certification process is something that digital execs across all business channels of our industry should undergo. I am proud that PulsePoint has embraced the program and offered it to employees beyond direct sellers; we are already exploring ways to incorporate this into all new hire training. Activating this program at the sales level of an organization and beyond can also impact future hiring decisions. It enables us to narrow candidate searches to only the best, most qualified applicants and allows us have even more faith that our teams are making the most educated decisions possible.
In order for digital media to continue being one of the most sought-after industries to work within, we must take responsibility to ensure that those dedicating their livelihood to it have the right tools to be as successful as possible. The IAB has taken great strides in creating a framework within which this critical professional development can happen, and I look forward to seeing it continue to grow.
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A Reason To Party
On Tuesday night, July 25, 2013, IAB was proud to host a celebration in recognition of the first class of Certification holders and all those who helped create and support IAB Digital Media Sales Certification.
Here’s what we have accomplished in just one year:
- More than 1,200 have registered
for the program
- Companies like AOL, Collective and
IDG have committed to certifying their entire sales teams
- A number of companies (24/7 Media,
Trial Retail Media and About.com) have made Certification part of their hiring
and training processes
- Certification holders and their
managers have given us tremendous positive feedback about the reception of the
program from the marketplace
- Every day sales professionals from leading companies across the country are signing up to take the exam
During the event, exclusive guests networked at Lavo in New York City. Many Certification holders and sales executives shared their experiences about how colleagues and clients have responded to Certification.
Matthew White, National Digital Director at Time Inc.’s My Recipes was on the committee that helped create the exam and is now a Certification holder. “This is a great training tool for companies. It opens up your perspective to parts of the industry outside of your own experience. This makes for a better understanding of your competition, the products they may be selling and how.”
Why Sales Certification?
Randall Rothenberg, IAB President and CEO, told the crowd, that the Certification program came from his earliest meetings with IAB member companies, seven years ago. “The thing that came up over and over again from companies big and small was, ‘We need training!’ We learned after years of work, that the best way to scale training in a new industry was not to create the course work yourself. It is to codify industry knowledge within your network, turn it into a standardized test, and get others to teach that test around the world.”
Randall went on to say, “The program has exceeded our wildest expectations. With big companies signing on and making it a requirement it’s taking on a life of its own.”
One of the most frequent questions we heard in the beginning
was, “Why do sales people even need
certification?” We created the program because
digital advertising buyers and sellers needed a benchmark to ensure that sales
people had the basic knowledge required to sell new media programs. The ecosystem changes so quickly, clients now
have a deeper level of trust that the people they talk to understand the
industry and comprehend their needs. No
one’s asking “why” any longer.
“With 1,000 people expected to pass the test by the end of 2012, we are in a position to make the industry stronger.” said Scott Schiller, EVP of Advertising Sales at NBC Universal and Chairman of IAB Digital Media Sales Certification Commission. “A few years ago one of the biggest complaints about the industry was the lack of perceived professionalism that digital sellers had compared to traditional media experts. (With Certification) the industry has come a long way, and the IAB is credited to helping with that. I encourage all of you who have not taken the test to encourage your company to participate.”
Marta Martinez, AOL’s Head of Sales Strategy & Operations, addressed the room on the company’s commitment to customer service, innovation and knowledge as well as “raising the bar on the internet,” helping clients fully leverage the medium as a marketing channel. “At AOL there is a lot of effort in bringing balance between the premium advertising and programmatic sides of the house. This is the reason why we requested that all of the front facing-sales people in the U.S. will be certified this year. When we announced the program internally there was huge demand. We are already seeing a lot of value from the program. We are all starting to speak the same language and we are no longer in the business of translation with our clients.”
July 10, 2013 - IAB Certification Day
In two weeks, on July 10, 2013, will officially be declared IAB Certification Day. It’s a day for certificants and friends of the program to demonstrate their support and pride for the credentials, by posting their badge online via social media. We ask everyone to use the hash tag #iabcertday, so that IAB can showcase everyone who participates. For information about how to participate or to follow the conversation on Certification Day go to: iab.net/certday
In just one year digital ad buyers, human resources professionals and sales executives have embraced the credential, integrating it into their business practice. By no means are we done defining and refining the program, but the milestones of 2012-2013 are sure indicators that Digital Media Sales Certification is here to stay.
“The industry needs to continue to embrace quality in sales and product to gain better trust with clients.” said Certification holder and SVP of Sales at pulsepoint, John Ruvolo. “Certification is a great step in the right direction to set a benchmark of trust for the industry.”
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