Poster formats have captured the headlines in the outdoor sector
recently, with the death of the 64-sheet coming only weeks before the
rebirth of the 16-sheet. But formats no longer dominate the sales
structures of major contractors.
JC Decaux was first to change its structure following its absorption of
Mills & Allen last autumn. Rather than having one sales team for its 48-
and 96-sheet portfolio and another for its six-sheets, Decaux created
four sales groups defined by their clients. A single sales person
provides one point of contact for each client, its agency and its
More recently, More Group has also shifted to a cross-portfolio
structure, whereby one salesperson can talk to a client about all the
More products, from ambient offerings to 96-, 48- and the Adshel
six-sheets. And last week, Media Business revealed that More’s parent
Clear Channel International is on the hunt for an international sales
director to provide a single point of contact for the company’s huge
European product portfolio.
Maiden too has restructured recently, merging its out-of-car and
But as with the eggs and omelette adage, it is tough to make changes
without receiving criticism.
Malcolm Thomas, board director of outdoor buying outfit Blade, comments:
’There is a worry that some sales people might not know all the trading
issues for each format. Staff retention and training need to be
David Tallis, joint managing director at Poster Publicity, adds: ’It can
cause confusion if one person goes to see the client and another goes to
see the specialist.’
But both Thomas and Tallis acknowledge the change in tactics is largely
positive. ’I was having to speak to seven or eight people at one
contractor not that long ago,’ says Thomas, ’now there’s one point of
contact - and that’s a huge improvement.’
And Tallis says it is good for the industry as a whole: ’These changes
are encouraging clients to see outdoor as a whole media solution - and
that is resulting in increased business for everyone.’
As for sales people being short of knowledge, that is a problem the
contractors are addressing. When Decaux first switched to cross-format
sales, the staff spent a month learning from each other about the
different portfolio components. The company then initiated a series of
training sessions at which staff learned the sales aspects of all the
formats. Maiden has started a similar exercise.
Maiden sales director Alex Ward comments: ’There will always be people
who need to learn the ropes, but we have lots of experienced staff too.
Frankly, we’ve all done this for the agencies, specialists and their
clients. They no longer just want the cake - the 6-, 48- and 96-sheets -
they want the icing too, in the form of a special idea that will capture
the imagination. This way our sales people are equipped to deliver a
plan that incorporates the whole picture.’
Provided the sales people in question get the training they need, it
looks as if this shift in sales tactics will help the sector break the 7
per cent barrier.