Advertising sales agents, also called account executives and advertising sales representatives, sell advertising space to businesses and individuals. They contact potential clients, make sales presentations, and maintain client accounts.
Advertising sales agents typically do the following:
Most advertising sales agents work outside the office occasionally, calling on clients and prospective clients at their places of business. Some may make telephone sales calls as well—calling prospects, attempting to sell the media firm's advertising space or time, and arranging follow-up appointments with interested prospects.
A critical part of building relationships with clients is learning about their needs. Before the first meeting with a client, a sales agent gathers background information on the client's products, current clients, prospective clients, and the geographic area of the target market.
The sales agent then meets with the client to explain how specific types of advertising will help promote the client's products or services most effectively. If a client wishes to proceed, the advertising sales agent prepares an advertising proposal to present to the client. The proposal may include an overview of the advertising medium to be used, sample advertisements, and cost estimates for the project.
Because of consolidation among media industries, agents increasingly sell several types of ads in one package.
In addition to maintaining sales and overseeing clients' accounts, advertising sales agents' other duties include analyzing sales statistics and preparing reports about clients’ accounts. They keep up to date on industry trends by reading about new and existing products, and they monitor the sales, prices, and products of their competitors.
In many firms, the advertising sales agent drafts contracts, which specify the cost and the advertising work to be done. Agents may also continue to help the client, answering questions or addressing problems the client may have with the proposal.
Sales agents also are responsible for developing sales tools, promotional plans, and media kits, which they use to help make a sale.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition