Advertising Sales Agent / Account Executive

Advertising sales agents, also known as account executives or advertising sales representatives, sell advertising space for newspapers, magazines, websites, and radio and television stations. Since so much money is generated from advertising, advertising sales agents are very important for businesses that sell advertising.

50 percent or more of advertising sales agents work for television, radio, internet, and cable companies. Adverting and sales agents employed by regional firms coordinate customer service for local customers and contact large national companies for advertising requests. Radio and television companies as well as publishers, hire regional sales agents to generate sells in the local areas where the companies are located, and sales agents working for media representative firms sell advertising to national media companies. Media sales representatives work under the supervision of advertising executives working for agencies known as media buyers, buying advertising for their clients at national radio and television companies and publishers. National sales managers working for media representative firms coordinate advertising with local media companies.

Agents working for local companies are also known as inside or outside sales agents. Outside sales agents meet with potential clients at their offices. Sometimes they schedule appointments or show up to offices unannounced. Inside and outside sales agents spend a majority of their time finding new clients to advertise. Inside sales agents coordinate sales for advertising agencies, and certain agents spend their time cold calling and scheduling appointments with potential clients.

To develop trust with a client, an agent must learn more about them. Sales agents need to conduct research about the potential client before meeting with them. Agents then describe to potential clients how advertising will improve their businesses, and if a deal is reached, the sales agent presents the client with an initial advertising plan including, an estimate of the cost and how the advertisement will be presented. Sales representatives usually sell advertising in packages, so if advertising time is purchased, the client can advertise in multiple mediums, such as television and website advertising.

When a contract is signed between two parties, sales agents act as intermediaries between the advertising firm and media companies. These agents help the companies communicate and develop visual images. Sales agents with clients using television or radio advertising coordinate the filming of the commercials.

Advertising sales representatives also interpret sales data and write reports. They stay up to date about new products and pay special attention to what their competitors are doing. Sales agents at many advertising firms also prepare contracts and have customer service responsibilities. Advertising sales representatives are also responsible for generating promotional ideas to improve their sales.

Work Environment
Advertising sales agents have stressful jobs since their income is dependent on keeping and finding clients and rejection is common. Advertising firms usually set quotas each month, so agents are responsible for meeting these sales goals.

Advertising sales agents usually work irregular, lengthy hours, but many enjoy flexibility schedules. Many agents telecommunicate using new technology to communicate and send documents to clients. Many sales representatives coordinate with their clients using e-mail.

Sales agents often work more than 40 hour weeks, including holidays, weekends, and nights, but they usually enjoy flexible hours. In 2006, a little over 11 percent of agents worked part time.

Education and Training
While the expectation of a high school diploma would be a minimum requirement for most jobs, some starting positions in advertising prefer an applicant with a finished college degree. For example, a television or radio station might expect an applicant to have a college degree. Companies that publish magazines or newspapers may also want more education for its workers. Some courses that may help in catching the eye of a potential employer include business, marketing, advertising and communications.

Employers may favor applicants with successful sales experience and relax the education requirements.

Some companies provide informal, on-the-job training, while other may require formal training before actual working hours are assigned. In some cases, an experienced worker will take on the responsibility of training a new employee to assess their competency and willingness to learn. These situations are used to offer suggestions to the new employees in ways to improve their relationships with clients. Another training option is an outside consultant, who is brought in to instruct the new employees in specific areas of market training, such as real estate or auto sales.

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As of May 2012, the median annual salary for a typical advertising agent was $46,290. On the low end, around 10 percent made $22,930. At the other end of the spectrum, the elite 10 percent of the sales agents pulled in as much as $103,170.

Most advertising sales agents work on a performance-based scale, which includes options such as commissions and bonuses. Most companies will pay their workforce a combination of salary, commission and bonuses. The commissions are determined by the agent’s sales numbers. Bonuses may be based on the individual results of an agent, a group or the entire company.

Job Outlook
The revenue from advertising drives a large portion of profitability at many media companies, which stimulates growth. For example, while newspaper advertising in print has been on the decline, the sale of ad space on the internet can offset some of this loss. As far as employment outlook can be determined, the sale of website advertising can slow the decline of advertising sales agent jobs in the newspaper industry.

Digital media, which includes advertising for smart phones, tablets and online radio stations, is expected to grow as companies adjust to the electronic boom. These kinds of ads allow companies to target specific potential customers who have interest in the products they are selling. Companies can use new technology, such as search engines and software applications, to develop new customer bases. So an increase in digital advertising doesn’t always mean a larger demand for ad sales agents.

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