Career Detail

Advertising Sales Agent
“The Account Executive”
Sell or solicit advertising mostly for media firms including television and radio broadcasters, news, print and internet publishers, and cable program distributors.
The Job
Selling advertising space is the most important source of income for most media outlets. Outside sales agents call on clients and prospects at their places of business. They may have an appointment, or they may practice cold calling-arriving without an appointment. For these sales agents, obtaining new accounts is an important part of the job, and they may spend much of their time traveling to and visiting prospective advertisers and current clients. Inside sales agents work on their employer's premises and handle sales for customers who walk in or telephone the firm to inquire about advertising. Some may also make telephone sales calls-calling prospects, attempting to sell the media firm's advertising space or time, and arranging follow-up appointments between interested prospects and outside sales agents. After a contract has been established, advertising sales agents serve as the main contact between the advertiser or ad agency and the media firm. Companies generally set monthly sales quotas and place considerable pressure on advertising sales agents to meet those quotas. Although agents work long and often irregular hours, most have the freedom to determine their own schedule.
Work Environment
Inside sales agents normally have their own cubicle in a busy sales atmosphere. Outside agents vary greatly depending on the employer and require some travel.
College Majors
marketing, business, communications
Minimum Qualifications
Some employers prefer applicants with a college degree. Courses in marketing, leadership, communication, business, and advertising are helpful. For those who have a proven record of successfully selling other products, a high school degree may be sufficient.
Personality traits helpful for this career
Successful sales experience and the ability to communicate effectively become more important than educational attainment.
Quick Facts
  • Most get paid on a salary plus commission basis.
  • Many entry level positions for smaller companies can be obtained without a degree, but larger firms prefer a degree.
  • Opportunities are expected to be excellent for those with sales experience.
Compensation and Outlook
Including commissions, median annual wages for all advertising sales agents were $43,480 per year in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $30,750 and $64,320 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,620, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $93,600 a year.
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