Advertising revenue is set to boom this year. The Rio Olympics, Euro 2016 football championships in France, hotly-contested US Presidential elections and the growth of digital advertising, especially on mobile, will drive global ad expenditure up by 4.6% to over £400bn, according to forecasts by Publicis Groupe’s ZenithOptimedia.

For media owners, this huge growth in both ad expenditure and digital inventory makes it more important than ever to make sure that their systems for booking ads, keeping track of clients and processing orders are market leading.

With the expansion in the channels and platforms consumers use to access content, the ad management challenge grows each year. It will be fascinating to see how this year’s sporting and political events are consumed by the public. We’ll all choose our own mix of social media, websites, TV, mobile and traditional newspapers and magazines to consume the news and content we want. Meanwhile, brands will advertise through all of these channels as they seek to strike a chord with audiences and gain traction for their messages.

This is a world of choice for consumers and offers brands great possibilities for creating truly engaging ad campaigns. But make no mistake about it, the proliferation of channels puts pressure on media owners to manage their ad sales in a coherent and effective fashion.

Newspaper publishers are running hugely successful websites and social media feeds alongside their print editions, yet their ad management systems often hark back to the days of print-only. Many publishers have been busy acquiring websites, digital content and print titles over the past few years. This has left some with a mixture of different systems for managing their advertising workflow, which can be confusing, inefficient and costly.

Publishers need ad management systems that allow them to book and process ads whether they are in print editions or online. Their systems need to be adaptable to the new channels that arise with the march of technology.

This is why publishers are looking to replace their old systems for managing advertising with one of the new breed of cloud-based solutions.

So what issues do they need to consider as they update their systems? Here are five key questions for publishers about their ad management systems. We offer some answers to guide them as they decide how to move ahead.

1. Does your current ad sales management platform manage digital?
Unless designed for digital, your ad sales solution is likely to be managing digital as print orders, which can mean a laborious booking process and workarounds for your team. For example, you may be creating separate orders just for one multi-channel order to include all the various ad formats, which takes more time and effort. Or calculating discounts is over complicated and off putting to a sales executive. You’ll want a platform that is built for both digital and print, and overcomes these issues, so it is worth updating your legacy system as soon as possible.

2. Do you have an ad sales solution that can easily be adapted for new products and platforms?
The future of digital is still unknown and new ad formats are being released on a regular basis. Look for a solution that can support new products & platforms and one that can evolve in line with your business with minimal effort.

3. Do you have a single view of your customer engagement?
Solutions that are not integrated with your CRM inhibit the single customer view. With all your information in one system, teams have a 360 degree view on their customers and prospects, which can be leveraged for tailored sales and marketing activity.

4. How do you manage your inventory for programmatic trading?
With the proliferation of programmatic trading desks serving various brands and audiences, you’ll no doubt want to be working with multiple desks. By managing inventory centrally, third party systems can be automatically updated to reflect the latest available inventory. What’s more, your sales teams always know what’s available to sell at any one time without having to check with ad ops.

5. Are you paying for multiple licences for CRM and ad sales?
Look for a solution that integrates CRM and ad sales management with one provider and reduces costs, such as Salesforce.

As advertising recovers from the doldrums of the past few years and spending booms, now is a good time for publishers to review their ad sales systems. Finding a solution that integrates print and digital while managing CRM can boost efficiency, pave the way for better sales to existing customers and save time and money.

Learn more about BrightMedia, BrightGen's accelerator for cross-media ad sales here.

Register for our webinar, held in partnership with InPublishing on how publishers can improve ad sales simply through better use of their technology on Tuesday 28 June, at 2:30pm BST. Using learnings from some of the UK’s leading publishers, Steve Warner will share 5 key insights on how you can use boost efficiency, drive better sales and save your business time and money. Register here for '5 top tips for growing ad sales through better use of your technology'.