What Advertising Sales Agents Do
Agents may spend much of their time visiting prospective advertisers and maintaining business with current clients.
Advertising sales agents, also called 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:
- Locate and contact potential clients to offer their firm’s advertising services
- Explain to clients how specific types of advertising will help promote their products or services in the most effective way possible
- Provide clients with estimates of the costs of advertising products or services
- Process all correspondence and paperwork related to accounts
- Prepare and deliver sales presentations to new and existing clients
- Inform clients of available options for advertising art, formats, or features and provide samples of previous work for other clients
- Deliver advertising or illustration proofs to clients for approval
- Prepare promotional plans, sales literature, media kits, and sales contracts
- Recommend appropriate sizes and formats for advertising
Most advertising sales agents work outside the office occasionally, meeting with 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 and presents an advertising proposal 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. For example, agents may sell ads that would be found in print editions as well as online editions for a particular publication such as a newspaper.
In addition to maintaining sales and overseeing their 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 also may continue to help the client, answering questions or addressing problems the client may have with the proposal.
Sales agents may also be responsible for developing sales tools, promotional plans, and media kits, which they use to help make a sale. In other cases, firms may have a marketing team that sales agents work with to develop these sales tools.