While the term “media sales executive” sounds like quite a specific job title, it encompasses many variations across numerous sectors and roles. Each has their own idiosyncrasies, thus making it impossible to describe this term in a simple paragraph. Whilst a majority of skills and attributes are applicable across all the jobs listed here, there are some very specific characteristics outline below, along with a brief description of the main roles and sectors in media.
As with most sales positions, media sales is usually more about communication skills and personality type than specific qualifications. It is possible to teach the art of selling. Indeed, many successful people in the advertising sales industry have been taught how to open business, how to build relationships, and how to negotiate and close those big deals; however, the majority of exceptional sales executives have a built-in zeal that can’t be explained in a textbook. These particular professionals can draw others to them and engage in conversation easily with all types of people at all different levels, making even the dullest presentation about click-throughs or demographics take on a whole new level of interest (well, to a certain extent—after all, they are still human and can only do so much).
In general, across all media formats and job titles, there will be similar expectations. They obviously involve contacting potential clients and ongoing businesses to sell them a variety of advertising and media solutions. A high-intensity working atmosphere with a target-driven approach to the task is to be expected.
At the entry level, the majority of your sales are mainly conducted over the phone. As you progress, you are invited to more and face-to-face meetings; and in the end, possibly just business entertainment lunches and dinners to keep those valuable clients with your firm. It will not be anything like Mad Men at the beginning, though; so don’t expect too many Lucky Strikes and Old Fashioned cocktails just yet.
Successful media sales professionals have a good understanding of the marketplace they are working within, as well as the suitable advertising and media solutions that provide the best route to market. They have the ability to research the industry, pick up and retain all relevant information, and explain all information in a clear and concise manner. Presenting the information is key, but the end goal of closing the sale must always be your target. The best salespeople do this with the client’s best interest in mind—or, at least, with the appearance of it.
The ability to work with other departments—such as editorial, design and creative—is an absolute must in order to make sure your client’s needs are met. The best way to ensure your clients are happy with your offerings (and thus gain repeat business) is to make sure they receive outstanding service at all times. Do not berate your colleagues with an overbearing “sales ego,” but do work closely with your team and client to get the best result for everyone.
As with all sales roles, communication skills are of great importance. It is not good enough, however, simply to have a gift for talking to people in a passionate way. It is just as important to be able to listen and ask relevant questions to work out the key benefits for your clients. The old Epictetus adage “two ears and one mouth” is always advisable in every sales position. Learn this at entry level and it will stay with you for life, helping to make you a success.
d. Graduate or trainee sales executive job description