If you’re a people person with strong communication skills and a love for persuasion, then you might consider a career in advertising sales.
Advertising sales agents (or reps) are in charge of selling ad space to businesses and individuals. They explain how specific types of advertising—through magazines, signs, TV, radio, internet, or public spaces—will help a client promote their products.
Since everyone needs to advertise, these sales agents are in high demand! From 2012 to 2016, they’ve added over 7,000 new jobs (nearly 5% growth). The pay is solid, too, with a median salary of $50K per year. A bachelor’s degree in advertising is common for these sales reps.
Let’s take a closer look at a particular career within advertising sales: the digital advertising sales agent. These agents must be especially tech savvy since they’re dealing with the ever-changing ecosystem of everything from Facebook ads to pop-up ads as you browse a website on your phone.
We sat down with Brad, manager of digital sales within a global technology company, to discover more about his job and how he got there.
Brad, how did you reach your role? What education and/or experience did you need?
I majored in communications and business and was fortunate to obtain four internships while in college, which gave me real-world experience in a variety of roles. After graduating, I began my career in radio advertising sales. I took on a number of different roles (including account executive, sales manager, and marketing director) but knew I wanted to transition into the digital advertising space.
I joined a global technology company and applied my sales and marketing experience across many of their digital assets. After three years, I had the unique opportunity to join an exciting digital start-up. Our company has enjoyed rocket-ship growth over the past five years. I’m now managing a seven-person team responsible for the company’s relationship with many of the world’s largest global marketers.
What skills are required for the job?
Required skills include:
- General business acumen
- Good communication skills
- Sales-driven work ethic
- Ability to work well under pressure
- Analytical capabilities
- Ability to adapt to a fast-paced environment
- Self-starter drive and focus
- Appreciation for meeting and interacting with many personalities
What personal qualities are needed to be successful in this role?
You need a passion for advertising/marketing, for people, for sales, and for servicing clients. Being a good manager requires you to be a motivator, good listener, and strategic thinker, as well as personable and empathetic. You also need to be able to articulate a long-term vision, understand the product set and client concerns, and value relationships with colleagues.
What is a typical work day for you?
No two days are the same. Some weeks require a lot of travel to visit clients while others are spent in the office. Generally, I’m connecting with team members in one-on-one meetings, having conference calls with internal partners, meeting with clients, and offering feedback on future product roadmaps.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the company I work for—it’s an innovative global brand that billions of people use every day. The culture is unique, our leadership is incredible, the benefits are world-class, and I’m surrounded by some of the most intelligent people in the world.
I equally enjoy having the opportunity to help our clients achieve real business results. By learning about their marketing challenges, we’re able to play the role of trusted adviser while showing them the path to a positive return on investment.
What advice would you give someone interested in this career?
You have to be determined to make it. You will hear the word no a lot, so the key is to be persistent across all fronts, especially networking. Willingness to take on an internship or entry-level job is critical to getting your foot in the door. You’ll get to meet more people and prove you have what it takes to exceed expectations. Go above and beyond. Be proactive vs. reactive. Most importantly, always be a part of the solution, not the problem.