Regardless of the industry you are in, there is no doubt that you run the risk of seeing your job function become extinct. Think about the travel industry. 20 years ago, who would have ever thought it was possible to book a business trip that included two different cities, multiple flights, car rentals, hotels, and more, all without the help of the travel agent?!
That’s not say that all travel agents went away, but the business certainly changed. Today we are going to look at the media industry—specifically, digital media sales managers. Make no mistake—this is not a media-specific issue. The same could happen in many industries.
Whether the title is Digital Specialist, Interactive Sales Manager, Digital Sales Manager or Internet Manager—if the role and responsibilities include helping traditional media sellers adopt selling more digital products in addition to their traditional media assets—then yes, I believe the Digital Sales Manager's tenure is limited, like that of the dinosaur.
If they do their job well, traditional media sellers will be able to sell more digital on their own. So essentially, by doing a great job, a digital sales manager is cultivating their own extinction. Before the digital sales managers who read this decide to toss tomatoes on stage, I DO believe the role is necessary in today's current competitive digital landscape. But, I also recommend, as time progresses and teams develop, the role evolves as well. Unlike the dinosaur, I do believe there is a place for the digital sales manager in the future. It's in sales management.
It won't be long before the next generation of great sales managers becomes digitally proficient. They'll be product experts, focused on selling integrated solutions—and they will also be great managers.
We are already seeing the effects of digital commodity where some struggle to gain premium pricing for their premium products and services because there is just so much out there. Everyone sells digital now.
Integrated, custom solutions are key.
Managers who can effectively lead their teams to total overall revenue growth by finding the right talent, by applying the right coaching and development, and by successfully selling and creating integrated solutions will be invaluable to any sales organization.
If you are a digital sales manager looking to avoid extinction, think about how you can better yourself as sales manager. If you are a current sales manager, consider taking ownership of your digital efforts, and understand the foundation of integrated success. Lead by example.
In summary, a sales manager's role, no matter the type of sales organization, needs to be all inclusive. Don't become extinct by not thinking ahead and considering what the future has in store.
Editor's note: This post was originally published on September 13, 2012 and has been updated.