By: Todd Nuckols
Back in 2006 when I was considering an ad fueled internet business plan the CPM rates where generally around $10 as mentioned in an interesting post from Fred Wilson. Now the landscape of on-line advertising has grown increasingly complex and less lucrative per impression as pointed out in the Luma Partners slide pictures left and mentioned in the post. Well, the post speaks for itself on what scale needs to mean if you are considering an ad-based model - and spoiler alert - the scale without a niche target audience is huge. So, feel free to hop on over to the post and read it for yourself.
But what struck me about the post was not the world of scaling ads. It was this quote:
The sales leader is a critical hire. There are people who do this for a living, who really understand how to put a team together and generate advertising revenue predictably and reliably, and they are highly compensated and are worth every penny. Do not skimp on this if you are building your own sales force.
When I started the startup game over 10 years ago I could quickly get carried away with the value of my idea, the complexity and elegance of the technology or visions of investment capital paving the way to success. Boy that was fun!
But on the journey I have come to realize the obvious (but is it really). Execution on sales is everything! We can get side tracked by companies who have turned into giants by "building market share first" or thinking about "monetizing later". Chances are your journey will not be so accommodating! So as you build a team and possible consider that sales leadership position head the advice given by Mr. Wilson. "The sales leader is a critical hire."
Who is your sales leader? Are they up to the task? What is your sales plan! Great answers to these questions lead to revenue and investment. Ad-based models or otherwise have a sales plan and a great sales leader -- and if you do not -- well, be cautious about launching into the deep end of the startup pool!